Tharoor had called Advani a “fine human being” and a “gentleman in politics,” to which many had said that the BJP leader played a pivotal role in triggering the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992.

Shashi Tharoor wearing a black vest and glassesPTI
news Controversy Thursday, November 11, 2021 - 17:20

‘Is there no civility left?’ asked Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, after he was criticised for his recent tweet wishing veteran BJP leader LK Advani on his birthday. Tharoor had called Advani a “fine human being” and a “gentleman in politics,” to which many had said that the BJP leader played a pivotal role in triggering the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992.

On Monday, November 8, the Thiruvananthapuram MP tweeted a birthday wish for BJP co-founder and long-time RSS member LK Advani’s 94th birthday. He tweeted, “Warm wishes for a fine human being, a gentleman in politics, a leader of wide reading and great courtesy.” The comment drew ire from a section of people on social media, who condemned Tharoor’s compliments for the controversial figure, with several people suggesting that Tharoor should join the BJP instead. 

“I really don’t understand how you can call him a fine human being ? He sowed the seed of hatred from Kashmir to Kanyakumari- his Rathayatra divided India. Sorry , It doesn’t befit you  to speak like this (sic),” one user commented under the post. “Seriously? A fine human being and a gentleman? You know better. He helped to engineer this catastrophe, the betrayal of the values of pluralism, freedom of thought and equality that you yourself hold dear (sic),” another said. 

After receiving flak from all corners, Shashi Tharoor on Thursday said that he was “appalled” by the “vicious backlash” that he received. He said, “I am frankly appalled by the vicious backlash against my birthday greetings to LK Advaniji. Has civility disappeared entirely from our political discourse?Gandhiji taught us to respect&honour the humanity in our political opponents. It seems that now makes me a Sanghi sympathiser! (sic)”.

He went on to say, “In fact Gandhiji taught us to fight the sin but love(&embrace)the sinner. Ahimsa is “a positive state of love, of doing good even to the evildoer”. While good & evil are Gandhian terms I can’t easily use (most  human beings are shades of both),I deplore intolerance on either side (sic).”

“So yes, I intend to continue to wish LK Advani & @narendramodi well on their birthdays, while opposing what they stand for politically. My 40 years of writing makes clear what I believe in. Only those who haven’t read me would call me a Sanghi. My values won’t be discarded 4them (sic),” he concluded.

Earlier, he had also faced flak on social media for calling BJP MP Tejasvi Surya, who has made many communal remarks, “smart, passionate and talented”.

LK Advani was an instrumental figure in the political movement that led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992. In 1990, Advani had launched a rath yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya, in order to garner demand and support for a Ram temple in place of the Babri Masjid in what many people believe to be Lord Ram’s birthplace. Communal riots broke out through the route of the yatra, during which hundreds of people lost their lives. Advani was also arrested by the Bihar police as the yatra passed through the state, leaving scores dead due to communal riots in its wake.  

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