Shashi Tharoor Amends His Statement: “Respects” Rajput Sentiment

Shashi Tharoor backtracks on statement ridiculing ‘Padmavati’ protesters.

Updated
India
3 min read
Shashi Tharoor.
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Amid a row over the film Padmavati, former Union minister Shashi Tharoor had claimed that the "so-called valorous maharajas" had scurried to accommodate themselves when the British "trampled" over their honour and were now after a filmmaker claiming their prestige was at stake.

However, the Congress MP has now seemed to backtrack on his statement, by saying that Rajput sentiments should indeed be respected, in terms of the interest of “India's diversity and harmony”.

The reason behind Tharoor’s sudden backtrack seems to be due to the serious backlash he received from BJP party leaders, members of the right-wing groups and the public at large.

Defending himself against the attacks, he said that his remarks were limited to the ‘Maharajas’ of the Rajput community who had formed alliances with the British during the colonial era.

I am dismayed that some BJP supporters are claiming I attacked Rajput honour... I spoke about the Maharajahs who made their accommodations with the British. I have never made a communal comment in my life.
Shashi Tharoor, as reported by Times of India

He said that his intention had never been to condemn the Rajput community in any way and that the ruling BJP party should ‘address the concerns’ of the Rajputs and respect their sentiments. He added that the Rajput valour was a indisputable part of Indian history and is not in question.

At an event Tharoor had been asked why his book, An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India, had a "whiff of victimhood" when he holds that Indians had connived with the English. This was followed by a question on his stance regarding the controversy surrounding Padmavati.

To this he had said:

"In fact, every single one of these so-called valorous maharajas, who today are after a Mumbai filmmaker because their honour is at stake, they were less concerned about their honour when the British were trampling all over it. They scurried to accommodate themselves. So let's face it, there is no question that we were complicit," he said.

The Congress leader's comments come at a time when Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie Padmavati has been in the eye of a storm as the Shri Rajput Karni Sena and some other outfits have accused the filmmaker of distorting history and hurting Hindu sentiments.

Tharoor, meanwhile, said that his book was "not a plea that 'Oh! We are poor victims, forgive us". It very much points out that the British empire is not what many made people believe it to be, the former minister said.

Tharoor also said:

Mahatma Gandhi triumphed by shaming the British through their own brutalisation. He showed them a mirror and said, ‘look at you, you are shaming yourselves, are these the value you stand for’? Fortunately, the British were capable of being ashamed.
Shashi Tharoor

He was in conversation with professor Peter Frankopan during a session at the opening ceremony of the eighth edition of the Tata Literature Live.

This article was originally published on 16 November 2017. It has been updated on 17 November 2017.

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