On any other normal day, just about anybody could deride the philosophy of Hindutva and arm-twist Hindus into abandoning their religious chants and nobody would bat an eye. However, the past two days have been extraordinary, especially for the eloquent and word-loaded Shashi Tharoor.
Tharoor tried an experiment yesterday. To position himself and his party as the true believers of India’s constitutional values, Tharoor on Twitter called out Muslim fundamentalists for using their supremacist religious slogan La Ilaha Ilallah in a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
While this was a pleasant surprise for many, soon, an army of outraged individuals descended upon him bashing him for daring to speak against the slogan and their means of protest. While Tharoor and many others almost daily spin baseless accusations of Hindu extremism on the rise, all it took was one tweet against an Islamic slogan for Tharoor to be lambasted left, right and centre.
Our fight against Hindutva extremism should give no comfort to Islamist extremism either. We who’re raising our voice in the #CAA_NRCProtests are fighting to defend an #InclusiveIndia. We will not allow pluralism&diversity to be supplanted by any kind of religious fundamentalism. https://t.co/C9GVtB9gIa
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) December 29, 2019
This invited the wrath of many twitter users of a particular community, who minced no words while dealing with Tharoor.
U can be hindu but y can't we be d Muslim.Y can't we raise our Islamic kalima as a slogan agnst d fascist system.If u r agnst it, it means u r against Islam in a difrent way wid a same destiny.If u r not agnst Islam then u sud hv tried 2 understand d meaning of #La_ilaha_illallah pic.twitter.com/a2ma1Nfafd
— Naiyer Khan (@KhanNaiyer) December 30, 2019
So Muslim practising their religion is now considered as Islamic Extremism? Last, when I checked, Articles 25 to 28 in the Constitution of India provide the right to freedom of religion.
— i_Asghar محمد أصغر حسين (@hussain082) December 29, 2019
Who says that la illaha ilallah is extremism? At least try to find out what ordinary Muslims say. It just means God is great nothing to do with extremism or extremist values
— Ayesha Siddiqa (@iamthedrifter) December 29, 2019
ओ मेरे संविधान के रक्षक बाबू, जिस संविधान की रक्षा की बात कर रहे हो, उस संविधान ने भी तुम्हें
"ला इलाहा इल्लल लाह" पढ़ने से नहीं रोका है, तो फिर क्यूं खुद ज़हनी गुलामी और एहसास कमतरी में दब कर इस कल्मे को पब्लिक में पढ़ने से शरमा रहे हो?
— Mohammad Aakif محمد عاکف (@mdaakif999) December 29, 2019
As someone who has written books about being unapologetic about your faith, it’s extremely disappointing to see you give in to this line of thought. Chanting “there’s no God but the one true God” in the face of adversity isn’t extremism, it’s meant to reinvigorate courage.
— The Momindalorian (@AbbasMomin) December 29, 2019
A gentle reminder “Jai Bajarangbali” & “Jai Sri Ram” (victory to xyz) do NOT EXCLUDE – they EXALT.
“La Ilah” (there is NO god BUT) fundamentally EXCLUDES
The former the Affirmation – the latter Supremacist… especially in a polytheist country.
— Abhijit Iyer-Mitra (@Iyervval) December 30, 2019
While I find the other tweets unworthy of any rebuttals, the last one is especially difficult for me to ignore. The man speaks of chanting “There is no God but God (Allah)” in a ‘democratic protest’ against CAA as a form of expression against adversity. Why should a supremacist slogan be used in a protest where there might also be non-Muslims taking part?
Unless this was an orchestrated homogeneous protest of a single community, it is extremely insensitive of these protesters to use such slogans. Is this secularism? Is this how the Constitution will be protected? Moreover, a false equivalence of the said slogan has been drawn with “Jai Shree Ram” and “Jai Bajrangbali”, while completely ignoring the fact that the latter two in no way undermine the faith of any other community, but rather, glorify individual deities. They do not reek of supremacy and are not rubbed against the noses of individuals who follow a separate faith. Further, the protesters are also seen shouting “Tera Mera Rishta Kya, La Ila Ililah”, which is a clear indication of how these protesters are trying to superimpose their religious belief upon the other citizens of the country.
Shashi Tharoor, as a result of the unprecedented attack on his freedom of expression, put out subsequent tweets in which he attempted to calm tempers and tone down his initial rhetoric.
No@offence intended. Just making it clear that for most of us this struggle is about India, not about Islam. Or Hinduism. It’s about our constitutional values & founding principles. It’s about defending pluralism. It’s about saving the soul of India. Not one faith vs another. https://t.co/GJ69mSrqXj
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) December 29, 2019
[Thread] 1. Ok, have read the views of various people who disagree w/ my pair of tweets yesterday urging that protestors should not give a communal coloration to the #CAA_NRCProtests. Many argue that the fight IS about Islam, that Muslims are fighting for their identity in India
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) December 30, 2019
However, the outraged users refused to give in to the sermons of Tharoor, and instead claimed that it was their right to draw ‘courage’ and ‘inspiration’ from the slogan. While Hindus and their way of life, and their ideologies are insulted every day by politicians and liberals, a single tweet calling out the Islamic chauvinism of a few was sufficient to bring the sky down upon Shashi Tharoor, who will very well remember this incident his entire life.