Thiruvananthapuram: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has said the BJP will tear up the Constitution, create a new one that will enshrine the principles of Hindu Rashtra, and convert the country into Hindu Pakistan if it wins the next Lok Sabha elections.
“The only thing that had stood in its way is a two-third majority in the Rajya Sabha,” Shashi Tharoor said while delivering a lecture on the 'Threats Faced by Indian Democracy and Secularism' here on Wednesday.
“They already have more than 20 states under their belt, so a Rajya Sabha majority looks near,” he said and added: “Now if they could muster what they managed during the last Lok Sabha polls, India is done for.”
Tharoor said that the stalwarts of the Sangh Parivar – V D Savarkar, the man who coined the term 'Hindutva'; M S Golwalkar, the longest-serving RSS chief; and Deendayal Upadhyay whom prime minister Narendra Modi looks up to – wanted the Indian Constitution discarded. Their first argument was that it was full of Western ideas written by anglophone lawyers in the wrong language. “This was in a way true, but we also know that both the English and Hindi drafts of the Constitution are considered authentic,” Tharoor said.
Their second objection, now in hindsight, will have far-reaching consequences. “They said that the Constitution should be discarded because it is based on the wrong idea of nation. The Constitution assumed the nation of India as a territory. Wrong, they said. The nation is a people, they argued. And the people are Hindus. The rest are essentially guests or interlopers. Christians and Muslims they considered bandits and dacoits,” Tharoor said.
Golwalkar wrote what Tharoor termed "the scandalous text" in which he said what Hitler did to Jews in Germany should be done to Muslims in India. “Even Deendayal objected to this, and said that instead they should be made to assimilate,” Tharoor said.
He said the biggest irony was that Narendra Modi, who had placed Savarkar's picture opposite Gandhiji's in Parliament, had called the Constitution his “holy book”. “But then, is the prime minister willing to question what his idols said about the Constitution,” he asked. “I would have understood if Modi said he respected Upadhaya but disagreed with him on the Constitution,” he said.
To paint a picture of what India really meant, he recalled the time he was travelling to the Gulf in 2004 as a UN official. “The 2004 Lok Sabha results were out, and the leaders and officials I had met were astonished at what India had managed to achieve. A party headed by an Italian lady (Sonia Gandhi), a Roman Catholic, had won. She gave way to a Sikh (Manmohan Singh) to be sworn in as prime minister by a Muslim president (A P J Abdul Kalam),” he said. “We were not trying to impress anyone. This was just what India was,” Tharoor added.
He said the Indian idea of secularism was not distance from religions, but a "profusion of religions". “In France you cannot study in a government school or enter a government office wearing any visible sign of religion. That is western secularism for you,” he said. But in a government school in India, Tharoor said we could witness symbols of almost all religions.
“It is by undermining this ethos, this essence of India, that Narendra Modi is trying to construct his New India,” he said.