Open Letter to Dr. Shashi Tharoor


Dear Doctor Tharoor,

Let me begin by congratulating you for maintaining a relatively balanced political posture vis-à-vis the other politicians of your party who seem to have gone into some kind of “political delirium”, along with the liberal intellectuals and the majority of the mainstream media, for whom I would prefer to use the word “intellectual delirium”.

I read your opinion piece in NDTV on JNU issue. I found it highly misleading and short of rational arguments. Although you are a great fiction writer and years of UN experience has trained you in the art of taking politically correct positions. However, some issues demand to venture beyond superficialities and exploring a more reasoned argument to take a responsible stand.

I am writing to you because I feel that you are the only sensible voice left in the opposition.

Open Letter to Dr. Shashi Tharoor: JNU and Treason Click To Tweet

First and foremost, let me make it clear that this is not the case of dissent. Dissent is what you and your colleagues do in parliament. For a moment, even questioning the judgment of SC on Afzal Guru and Memon can be regarded as dissent. But, “Bharat tere tukde honge”, “Jung rahegi jari, Kashmir ki azaadi tak”, “Bandook kin nok par lenge azaadi” are certainly not the cases of dissent. They are clearly the expressions of extreme hatred for the mere existence of the Republic of India, and a verbal intent to wage a war against the state of India, and they are highly inflammatory and capable of inciting the violence. Those elements that are directly responsible for such events must be dealt with through legal means and it could either be under sedition law or NSA. What you are doing is changing the goal post, under the cover of four allegations which are at best rhetorical and at worst fabricated. They need not be brought in here or if they are brought in then it clearly looks like something is done for a political mileage: 1) Freedom of expression 2) BJP’s Nationalism versus India’s Nationalism 3) Saffronization of Education 4) Increasing Intolerance

BJP leadership has not proposed any new definition of nationalism which smacks of any saffron motives. Secondly, they have not even questioned the significance of the article 19 and 19(2) (freedom of speech) of the constitution. In fact, they have acted strictly in accordance with the article 19(2). Now, if you propose an amendment to sedition law then it can be discussed separately. But, please do not use the amendment proposal to provide a cover-up for what happened in JNU. Even if your amendment is taken into consideration then also the slogans raised cannot be defended as they were capable of inciting the extreme form of violence.

Secondly, so far there is no systematic and organized effort witnessed to saffronize education. Your allegation is based on hearsay and lacks empirical proofs.  On the other hand, I would like to mention that your government patronized those historians who tried to glorify bigots like Aurangzeb. Your party patronized Marxist historians like Irfan Habib who misled the nation on Babri issue. The intellectual dishonesty of Marxist historians is evident in the fact that they demeaned historical figures like Shivaji and Guru Teg Bahadur ( who were mentioned as plunderers), gloated over the facts of mass slaughters of Hindus ( Durant, Will and Elst, Koenraad), demolition of temples and forced conversions during the sultanate period of  medieval  history.

Thirdly, JNU is not so much a place of honest intellectual inquiry. It has a history of following a certain ideological school and viewing facts through the narrow lens of that ideology. JNU is the institution where the killing of 76 CRPF men in Dantewada is celebrated. JNU is the place where biased intellectuals like Arundhati Roy are allowed to rant baselessly without proofs against India and Hinduism. It is the place where Durga is addressed as a sex worker and the demon Mahishasur is celebrated as a hero, to humiliate Hindus. But JNU never talks about the plight of Kashmiri pundits, wretched condition of Baluchis and increasing Islamic extremism in Bengal. JNU which claims freedom of speech to shout slogans seeking death for India keeps quiet when Hindus are forcefully converted  and temples are destroyed in Pakistan, and when some Kamlesh Tiwari is arrested for questioning the sexual orientations of the prophet.

Then, you wrote that universities are meant to strengthen democracy by debating controversial issues. But debating is different from spreading bigotry and hatred for India. I am sure any civilized debate can happen without shouting, “India, go back”. And, even then you encourage it as a signature of democracy then I am afraid that we don’t want free speech at the cost of the disintegration of India.

Well, I do believe that some tapes might have been doctored. I am even open to the idea that the government response was hasty and immature. But the fact remains that such slogans were shouted on the campus and there is enough evidence for that.   In that case, you and your party could have poured a measured criticism of the way the entire issue has been handled. But, your party and you have been found wanting in strongly condemning the presence of such anti-national elements and activities in JNU. Rather, your party has used some minor goof-ups and incidents of mob violence outside Patiyala court to deflect the whole issue and divert it into some irrelevant, vague and abstract domains like the concepts of nationalism, saffronization of education and fabricated allegations of intolerance. If this is being done thinking that common people can be fooled with intellectual sophistry then most certainly the politicians are highly mistaken. All those politicians, intellectuals and media people defending the JNU students and not condemning the anti-India slogans in strong enough terms are coming out as clowns and nothing more. As regards Congress, it seems that the team of jokers is out to destroy the legacy of 125 years. I am telling this because history is being written and I must say that in a democratic state of 21st-century history will be honest and objective. People will remember the doubtful role of your government in the handling of Ishrat Jahan case and how your party created the false notions of “saffron Terror” for vicious political motives. People will also remember that Dig Vijay Singh and Kripa Shankar Singh attended the inauguration of the book which argued that 26/11 was the conspiracy of RSS. And, let me assure you that if congress is hell-bent to go on this destructive path no one can save it from ruination.

Now let me tell you the real bigger concern which is genuinely a serious issue.  If right in the capital we have a university where ill-informed, uneducated and misguided students/professors exist who nurture strong sympathies for Naxalites and terrorists then there is a strong likelihood of these places emerging as safe havens for such anti-national elements. It is indeed a grave concern for national security. In fact, I would go on to the extent of arguing that intelligence agencies must keep an eye on such institutions in the larger interests of India.

I hope you understand my concerns and listen to your inner conscience. You have always been an inspiration and I wish you emerge as a light-house for congress by taking a rational and sensible stand on such issues.

Yours sincerely,

Abhinav Pandya

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