Hindu Pak? BJP too late

The acolytes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have erupted in fury after Congress MP Shashi Tharoor warned that a BJP victory in the next election would turn India into a "Hindu Pakistan".

By Meghdeep Bhattacharyya in Calcutta
  • Published 13.07.18
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Sitaram Yechury

Calcutta: The acolytes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have erupted in fury after Congress MP Shashi Tharoor warned that a BJP victory in the next election would turn India into a "Hindu Pakistan".

What the indignant foot soldiers did not acknowledge or are not aware of is that the "offending" phrase had found a mention in no less a place than Parliament last year itself.

On August 9, 2017, both Houses of Parliament had celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement.

One of the speeches was delivered by Sitaram Yechury, the CPM leader who was then a Rajya Sabha member.

The records in Parliament quote Yechury as saying: "I am concluding. You referred to the INA trials, you referred to all these instances and the Royal Naval Mutiny. During that period, there was a song which all of us have grown up with. I think we should re-sing that song today and make that our resolve.

"And that song was ' mandir masjid girjaghar ne baant liya bhagwan ko/ dharti baanti, sagar baanta, mat baanto insaan ko (God has been divided among temple, mosque and churchhe land and sea have been divided/ let us not divide human beings).

"And that is why, Sir, the movement forward should be for strengthening the secular democratic republic of India and not for creating a Hindu Pakistan in India, and that is how we have to move together...."

The House records mention "interruptions" at this point but Yechury had soldiered on.

"(Interruptions).... So, let us observe Quit India by saying, quit neoliberal reforms, quit communalism. Thank you," the records quote Yechury as saying a year ago in the Rajya Sabha.

The fact that the records still mention the phrase can mean only one thing: the hallowed House did not find "Hindu Pakistan" offensive enough to warrant a deletion.

For his part, Yechury was not only not repentant but appeared aggrieved that credit was not being given where it is due.

"He (Tharoor) uses modern technology and it spread through social media, that's why word got out faster. But it's on record, in Parliament, that in my speech as a Rajya Sabha member, I was the first to use the phrase 'Hindu Pakistan' in the context of what is happening to this country," Yechury said in Calcutta on Thursday.