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“Scratch Wounds”: Shashi Tharoor On Using History For “Political Abuse”

Shashi Tharoor said yesterday’s mistakes cannot be rectified by making new mistakes for tomorrow (File)

New Delhi:

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday said he is all for reclaiming “forgotten voices” in India’s historiography, but using it for today’s “political abuse” is nonsense.

Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2021, Mr Tharoor said today, we are “scratching the wounds and reopening with fresh drops of blood that should have been allowed to heal”.

“Let us accept that we should let other voices come forward, but what are these voices saying? If the voices are saying that 500 years ago Muslims were bad and therefore, today’s Muslims will have to suffer for it, and We will do this and we will do this and we will change this and we will change this, then I have a problem,” the former Union minister said in a session titled “Bulls in Our Memory Shop: Debating Heritage, History, Hubris”. .

“I would say what are you doing for today’s India? Why can’t we focus on building a better India for all instead of fighting these old battles? For today’s political abuse, history is what makes me problem.” is,” he said. added.

To corroborate his point, Mr Tharoor cited the example of the current government declaring August 14 as “Partition Horrific Remembrance Day”, which he called “a very obvious demon of a community”.

“It seemed to me specifically to target and scratch the healed wounds,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared August 14 this year as Partition Horrific Memorial Day in memory of the struggle and sacrifice of millions of people who were displaced by the mindless hatred and violence caused by the partition of the country and lost their lives.

Again, though in favor of remembering what happened during Partition, Mr. Tharoor claimed that there are people who want to revive memories of what they have forgotten, and instead of forgiving, “those alleged want to punish the descendants who committed those mistakes.”.

“I have spoken of remembering the atrocities of colonialism, not because today, I want us to go and revolt against the British. That is over. That is history … but we must understand, as I am here talking about my book. We should certainly be sorry, said the best-selling author of several books, including “An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India” and “Pax Indica”, But we must not forget.

“Now the problem is, here we have people who are not only unwilling to forget, who want to revive the memories that people have forgotten and then, instead of forgiving, the supposed descendants of those people. Want to punish those who committed the crime. They are wrong. You cannot rectify yesterday’s mistakes by making new mistakes for tomorrow.”

According to the 65-year-old Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, this is happening in the country today because a “different ethos” is in power, stating that India is basically a “Hindu country” and everyone else is a “guest or one”. . Interloper”.

“And that the institutions of the State, the laws of the State and the practices of the State should reflect allegiance to a certain cultural, civilizational understanding of India, which has nothing to do with the idea of ​​India enshrined in the Constitution, and I think That’s a fundamental mistake,” he said.

Mr Tharoor was interrupted in the discussion by his fellow panelist, historian Vikram Sampath, who said that the wounds had not yet healed, adding that “there is a false belief today that talking about truth disturbs contemporary social issues.” Will be done”.

“History around the world provides space to heal, to relive the past, to overcome it, to make peace with it, and to move on. I guess we haven’t. That’s why these battles happen.” What we saw in Ayodhya, said Mr. Sampath, who wrote two volumes on the life and works of Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar, which we see all the time.

He also accused the Congress of inadvertently giving historiography space to “Marxist historians” after independence.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NB staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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