On Friday, the official handle of the Indian Consulate General in Toronto took to promoting the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), being held in the Canadian city of Toronto from November 27 to 29. Sharing details of the various sessions involving what it called “some of the greatest authors, poets, historians, journalists of our time”, the Indian Consulate almost immediately came under fire of a sea of social media users. Promoting a literature festival is not what irked netizens, instead, it is the promotion of controversial and abusive individuals which outraged many on social media, especially on Twitter.
The promotion of the likes of Devdutt Pattanaik and William Dalrymple particularly caught the attention of many social media users. The hilarious clubbing of such individuals as ‘great historians’ by the Indian Consulate General in Toronto also added to the official handle being thrashed left, right, and centre.
“Experience conversations between some of the greatest authors, poets, historians, journalists of our time on @JLFLitfest from Nov 27-29,” the tweet said.
Experience conversations between some of the greatest authors, poets, historians, journalists of our time on @JLFLitfest from Nov 27-29. More on https://t.co/CDXDi6eyE5. @_apoorvasri @HCI_Ottawa @Ajaybis @DalrympleWill @SanjoyRoyTWA @NamitaGokhale_ @IndianDiplomacy @CanadainIndia pic.twitter.com/8abt7ca6m6
— IndiainToronto (@IndiainToronto) November 19, 2020
Devdutt is one of the most abusive 'expert' I have ever interacted. The language he uses for women is despicable. Shameful that he is given the platform. He makes me sick
— Smita Deshmukh (@smitadeshmukh) November 21, 2020
The role of Indian consulate is to promote India. By inviting rabid Hindu haters, during Hindu Heritage Month, is incredibly harmful. This must be stopped. Has anyone read their work – these two authors mock Hindu religion. Why promote them?
— Ragini Sharma (@kids4kids1233) November 21, 2020
Seriously abusive Devdutt & India hater & breaker Dalrymple?? @narendramodi @AmitShah @DrSJaishankar what is happening in @MEAIndia? @PMOIndia will be held responsible for this hypocrisy of inviting ppl who oppose 370 & CAA in same govt sponsored program.
— Sri (@digital_sri) November 21, 2020
So, anyone who abuses India, @BJP4India and Hinduism is given a platform by Indian missions abroad? What is happening @DrSJaishankar @MOS_MEA @MEAIndia? This is ridiculous. The head of Indian mission in Toronto needs to be reprimanded for organizing a meet of Hindu haters.
— Suresh Kochattil (@kochattil) November 22, 2020
So, is @IndiainToronto STILL going ahead with this event featuring cancel culture calipha @DalrympleWill, abusive psycho @devduttmyth and rabid Hindu hater @SanjoyRoyTWA? @DrSJaishankar @vinay1011 @AmitShah @narendramodi WHY is our tax money being spent on such useless events? https://t.co/7JLqtdpROV
— Shefali Vaidya. (@ShefVaidya) November 22, 2020
While Devdutt Pattanaik is scheduled to speak on “Mahabharata: Adapting Ancient Myth for Modern Theatre” on November 29, William Dalrymple is scheduled for a cocktail session on the opening day. Both these individuals have an infamous track record of being Hinduphobic.
William Dalrymple, who likes to be called a historian, is an India-hater, and continues to speak against the abrogation of Article 370 and the integration of Kashmir with India. The man had also played an instrumental rule in getting Bloomsbury India to pull back from publishing the book on Delhi riots. On the issue of getting the Delhi Riots book by Monica Arora and others banned from being published by Bloomsbury, Dalrymple had said, “I’m on it. As are several other Bloomsbury authors”.
Devdutt Pattanaik really requires no introduction, and the man’s history as an abusive, low-grade troll is well known within India. Further, he is also accused of distorting Indian ancient history and passing of his own fabricated versions as genuinely factual accounts. The man is also immensely derogatory towards women and has on many occasions, that one can recount, abused them on Twitter and other social media platforms. Furthermore, he also does not shy away from passing blatantly misogynistic and lewd comments in reply to those who do not agree with his opinions.
For such individuals to be promoted by the Indian Consulate General in Toronto is indeed shameful. The Indian government must make sure that no abusive trolls and ‘distorians’ are promoted by it either nationally, or internationally. This, in general, heavily weakens our fight against anti-India elements.