Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shashi Tharoor: The new ‘happy-tongue’ hypocrite - Secularism means “don’t offend muslims”

Shashi Tharoor, the former UN diplomat and current minister with the Indian government has now become famous for his ‘happy-tongue’ utterances. Pulled up for his “Nehru’s running commentary….” remark and then again for his “Saudi Arabia interlocutor” shot the poor man must be on guard. This is unfortunate as whatever he said was neither harmful nor worth all the noise the media and the opposition parties made. In fact he is a very erudite, scholarly and articulate person. Qualities that we would like to see in all our politicians.

However, this latest smooth-talking Congress minister, is the latest in the long line of Congressmen who believe Secularism means not offending muslims, but all other communities can be offended under freedom of speech rights. He reveals this philosophy in a debate with Christopher Hitchens (Author: God Is Not Great) some years back. The debates can be viewed here, here, here and here.

1. In the first instance Tharoor narrates a story carried in a Bangalore newspaper about a boy called Mohammad, an “idiot-boy” (No reference or connection to the Prophet as Tharoor confirms) This seemed to have angered muslims who attacked the office and the editor of the newspaper. The editor had to later apologise. Tharoor mentions that even if the article was never intended to refer to Prophet Mohammad, the editor should have been careful enough to avoid misinterpretation and should have been aware that this would cause trouble. Sure, the victim of the violent attacks was wrong and should be the one to apologise. That is freedom of speech according to Tharoor.

2. In the second instance with reference to the Danish cartoons issue, Tharoor continues the same argument. That the Danish paper/cartoonist would have known well the publication of the cartoon would cause a world wide backlash and should have resisted going ahead with it and exercised restraint. Tharoor strongly maintains that free speech/expression should not be used to hurt anyone. I suppose nobody told this scholar that “consensus” does not require a freedom of speech law.

3. It’s the third issue that is striking. The discussion moves to the M.F. Hussain paintings. Here’s where our happy-tongue minister reveals his true self. He argues strongly that it was Hussain’s freedom of expression for which he should not have faced a backlash. Well, obviously Hussain was so blissfully ignorant that his controversial paintings would cause friction or offend a whole community. It needed Mr.Happy-tongue to defend him. But that newspaper editor and the Danish cartoonist shouldn’t have exercised their free expression rights as they would have been aware of the consequences. And that’s not all. Tharoor goes on to state that Hussain paints these Hindu Gods in various forms. That Hussain had once painted Indira Gandhi as Durga Ma ! Tharoor equates painting Indira Gandhi as Durga Ma to nude paintings of Hindu Gods. Even a moron can see that the Indira Gandhi painting would be seen as a compliment rather than an offence. This is how he misleads international audiences with his happy-tongue glib talk.

In the long line of hypocrites who crawl under that stone called Congress, this happy-tongue is the latest acquisition. And to think this man actually wanted to be the Secretary-General of the UN. I have a suggestion, he could always seek that office in the OIC.

Update (Dec 6. 2011): The Youtube links provided above seem to have been removed. You can follow the debate at the new link HERE. That is the first part of 9, follow the page for the remaining parts.


  1. @Ravinar, You may please include the responses if any in those debates to the story. Typically, what is happening is that these folks are allowed a free run by the program anchors. Sometimes the channels, anchors are hand in glove and do not let anyone of opposing view the space and time, They shout them down or switch from them too quickly. We all know the specialists of this game here.

  2. Again, A brilliant one by you.
    Great One, Short and crispy.

  3. That's the best definition of secularism as its practiced today.

    Seeing people like shashi, narayanmurthy and karan thapar whose firmware is corrupted by Macaulay and Risley and who spend their whole life learning to talk, walk and think like their idol (white people) and trying hard to be liked by them, reminds me of black kid growing up in Europe, sent back to Africa by his master to bring in more slaves.

    Good read. Its a pity we don't see you on TV slugging it out with screambot arnab.

  4. "That Hussain had once painted Indira Gandhi as Durga Ma ! Tharoor equates painting Indira Gandhi as Durga Ma to nude paintings of Hindu Gods."

    Suddenly, I am reminded of Kapil Sibal's famous morphed pictures of politician goddesses and how badly he wants all this "blasphemy" to be eradicated from cyberspace. What if Hussain were to exhibit on the internet ?

    It is clear that Tharoor is in reality no champion of freedom of speech, as he is a silent accomplice to the likes of Sibal and Singhvi. In times like this, their silence reveals more than anything it conceals. Sibal, Singhvi are at the forefront of an attempt to rob civil society of its power to use social media, through repressive legislation. Oh what a shame !

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. In fact he is a very erudite, scholarly and articulate person.
    I would say "In fact he is a very erudite, scholarly and articulate moron".

    Great Writeup Sirji. Wish I could fund a Free-To-Air News Channel which exposes these Dumb Asses to the People of this Nation.

  7. just like every secular say when it comes to muslim it is free of speech but when it comes to hindu it becomes abusive offending defamatory remarks.god bless india and hinduism

  8. I love reading your posts. I have seen that debate. I can say that shashi got hitchslap there. However, there is someone who has gazed this man. http://www.kashmirobserver.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13446:kashmir-belongs-to-kashmiris-&catid=8:opinion&Itemid=9 Hope this article would help to better judge him as hypocrite.

  9. Dear Mr Ravinar
    Last time I read this post ,there was wonderful dissection of Mr Tharoor's Twitter reply to Kanchan Gupta about the "holy Cows" which now seems to have disappeared..!! Has this anything to do with your tweet to Mr Tharoor, "you remove your holy cow tweet, and I will remove similar one from my post?" If it is then I am disappointed!! We like what you write due too its factual correctness with hard hitting truth..Please do not compromise..looking forward to buying your book"social media as a watchdog"

  10. The problem is much worse than painting Hindu Goddesses nude. Hussain paints Goddesses doing 'funny stuffs'.
    Painting nude was much more tolerable than what he did, moreover, in Hinduism, it's the Apsaras which are frequently painted nude, not the main Goddesses.

  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw3dDbc1BHE Tharoor vs Hitchens debate available on this link, if the above links in the article dont work

  12. The raw material is same and doesn't change with time. Offending Hindus is freedom and offending muslims is bad for customised Secularism. Tharoor is very articulate and learned man but not a wise man. He is used by his party to tarnish Hindus. I am sure he is another convert.

  13. The debate is sad, really. Shashi is a brilliant orator but Hitchens is a different beast.


Comments are welcome and are now being moderated due to excessive spam on older posts. Genuine comments by readers will not be blocked. However, comments that are off topic, abusive, defamatory or slanderous may be deleted. Comments disclosing personal information of individuals/entities will be deleted.Comments appearing here do not imply endorsement by author of this blog.