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Let’s give the devil his due – Tharoor didn’t really accuse PM Modi of not wearing green clothes

A raging controversy has surrounded Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is currently out on bail after being named as an accused of abetting his wife, Sunanda Pushkar’s suicide.

Recently, while speaking in a seminar in Thiruvananthapuram over the topic of ‘Standing up to hatred: Violence and intolerance in contemporary India’, Tharoor stated, ”Why does our Prime Minister, who wears all sorts of outlandish headgear wherever he goes around the country, refuse to wear a Muslim skull cap? You’ve seen him in hilarious Naga headdress, feathers, and various kinds of extraordinary outfits. Why does he refuse to wear the green?”

While his statement calling the Naga tribal headgear outlandish points to his inherent ‘brown sahib’ mentality and disdain towards indigenous cultures, and as Mr MR Venkatesh pointed out, reduces secularism to a fancy dress competition, the latter part of his statement, where he wonders why Modi refuses to ‘wear green’ seems to have been terribly misinterpreted by the Media.

It is evident from Shashi Tharoor’s statement that he used the colour green as a figurative term for Islamic, meaning only the skull cap. Of course, this predilection to associate a colour with religion appears to be a fallout of being a politician from Congress, the party that invented “saffron” terror.

The misinterpretation of Tharoor’s statement went so far as for media houses like India Today published “fact checks” proving that the Prime Minister indeed, does wear green colour kurtas.

Friedrich Nietzsche once said, ‘All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth’. Congress knows this game all to well, but perhaps never expected the pet snakes to turn around and bite them too.

The media has a habit of twisting metaphors and matter of speech, to its most basic and literal denomination thereby, giving birth to controversies that live forever. Who can forget how Narendra Modi’s ‘puppy’ comment was twisted by the media, and that faulty interpretation was adopted lock stock and barrel by the Congress to demonise him? The media and the Congress party force-fed the entire nation with the narrative that Modi compared Muslims to dogs. A statement ill-interpreted. Happily co-opted by Congress because it suited them.

And don’t we all remember V K Singh’s ‘dog’ comment? He said, “If somebody throws at a dog, then the government is responsible, it is not like that”. That was twisted and OpEd kings and queens came out in scores writing about how Gen V K Singh compared Dalits to dogs. What he meant, however, that the central government cannot be pulled up for every crime in the country. He was right. Law and order is a state subject.

But just as media houses like India Today “fact check” Shashi Tharoor’s “green clothes” comment today, there were media houses that hounded the likes of Modi and Singh for their comments which were ‘outlandishly’ taken out of context.

What is tragic, however, is how the Congress party has been playing footsie with the same media that has indulged in such grotesque, and almost criminal stupidity. The Congress popped open the bubbly every time it happened to their adversary. The Congress rode the wave of misinterpretation every time it gave them the opportunity to tarnish their opponents. The truth be damned. Logic and common sense be damned.

Today, when Tharoor and his party is up in arms screaming ‘misinterpretation’, it would have only lent credence to their words had at least Tharoor called out the blatant distortions in the past. Instead, Congress was and still is, in cahoots with the very media that indulges in blatant slander.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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