New Delhi | Days after he drew flak for comparing JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar with Bhagat Singh, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today said the student leader has never said he is not proud to be an Indian.
When this young man, who you object to so strongly, stands up and says I want freedom from. He mentions casteism, he mentions capitalism. I don’t agree necessarily to things that he talks about. He has never said that he doesn’t take pride in being an Indian. What he says is contrary that he is proud enough of India that he wants to change it into a better place.
He is also proud of jawans fighting on border. He has seen his mother washing clothes, his father is bedridden. Don’t tell me his family is not proud of the country, Tharoor said in response to a question during a session on India Shastra: Reflections of our time at the annual ‘Take Pride’ summit organised by CII.
He was asked How can India’s soft power increase if the mainstream media promotes someone who doesn’t take pride in being an Indian? In a veiled jibe at HRD Minister Smriti Irani, Tharoor said, in Afghanistan, in the last decade, nobody could call an Afghan at 8.30 in the evening and get him to pick up the phone because that was the time when ‘Kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi’ would be telecast, it was such a popular show why we would rather prefer Tulsi on television serials than try and run the HRD ministry.
Sharing an anecdote about K R Narayanan, the first Dalit President of the country, Tharoor said, Despite being a brilliant student, he was not given his degree at the same ceremony as his upper caste classmates. This man could have easily turned bitter against India but he wanted to change the system within.
What we can take pride in is not the injustice he suffered, but in the fact that through our democracy, we were able to ensure that boy who suffered this kind of humiliation rose to the highest constitutional post of the country the notion is what we must take pride in, he said.
Tharoor had last week kicked up a controversy comparing Kanhaiya with freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, drawing strong criticism today from BJP while Congress distanced itself from his remarks.