In an interview, Shashi Tharoor said it was “ridiculous” for Kangana Ranaut to even talk about the freedom movement involving begging from the British.
New Delhi: Kangana Ranaut needs to read up on history and “has no clue”, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said today on the actor’s controversial remarks on India’s 1947 Independence as “bheekh” or a handout.
In an interview to NDTV, the Kerala MP and former Union Minister also explained why he believes India’s stature in the global arena is lower today than ever before, despite the government projecting otherwise.
“You can’t go around with the kind of really offensive rhetoric that we hear from the ruling party against a substantial minority in our country, treating them in ways that honestly are reprehensible. You can’t go around a silencing, dissent and slapping sedition charges on student leaders, politicians, journalists, and so on. You can’t go around locking up people… having a Jesuit priest die in jail, you can’t have all of these things happening with our people abroad sitting up and taking notice, you know, the world media is now all knit together. When things happen in India, they are reported abroad as well. And as a result, the coverage of India in the world press of late has become uniformly negative,” said Mr Tharoor, whose latest book “Pride, Prejudice an Punditry” is just out.
On the commotion over comic Vir Das’s viral “Two Indias” monologue, the Congress leader said the anti-national talk has gone “too far”.
“Let’s be aware of what the foreign countries are saying about us, which in the past used to be a much more positive story and of late is not so. And let’s try and deal with the problems at home, if we solve the problems and the story will be better. To be honest, this business of massaging stories for propaganda, which is what the government and its acolytes seem to specialize in, will not resolve the actual substance of the issue,” he said.
There is “nothing anti-national” about wanting better for your nation, the Congress MP added. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s the most patriotic thing you can do to criticize your government when it’s going wrong.”
Mr Tharoor slammed as “ridiculous” Kangana Ranaut’s comments disparaging the freedom movement.
“I think she needs to read a history a little bit. I don’t think she has a clue, unfortunately, if she really thinks that Mahatma Gandhi was going out with a begging goal when he was a man of tremendous pride and distinction who told the British your law is unjust I am breaking your law. Punish me as you wish…I’ll take your punishment. Is that the act of a beggar,” Mr Tharoor said.
“I mean, it is ridiculous for her to even talk like that about the freedom movement involving begging from the British when in fact it was an act of tremendous courage, moral rectitude, and great fortitude in handling and the strength that these people needed to show. Imagine going defenseless and having those lathis rain down on you. Lala Lajpat Rai died from a lathi charge…hitting his head in a non-violent demonstration. That takes far more courage than going with a gun to shoot somebody and then being shot back.”
Kangana Ranaut, who recently received the Padma Shri, has faced wide condemnation over her comments but she remains defiant.
After saying at a media event that India’s Independence was “bheekh” and that it won true freedom in 2014 – when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power – the 34-year-actor has dropped more bombshells.
On Tuesday, she targeted Mahatma Gandhi, mocking his mantra of ahimsa (non-violence) saying that offering another cheek gets you “bheekh”, not freedom. In a series of posts on Instagram, she said “choose your heroes wisely”.
Mr Tharoor said: “It seems to me that she needs to really read up on our history. You’re calling somebody who begged for mercy in a prison as a Veer. These are also the real veers (heroes) of our freedom struggle, greater views. And they spent even longer in prison.” The Congress leader was referring to Veer Savarkar, a BJP icon whose role in the freedom movement has been hotly debated.