What does erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey have to do with Congress’ stand on scrapping Article 370? Manish Tewari explains

On Tuesday, Congress MP from Anandpur Sahib Manish Tewari, in a surprising instance, mentioned the English novel '50 Shades of Grey' during the heated debate on Article 370 in the Lok Sabha.

Tewari mentioned the erotic novel's title, 50 Shades of Grey, while he was speaking in Lok Sabha a day after the Narendra Modi-led NDA government made public its decision to effectively scrap Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu & Kashmir, and to divide the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. The former Union Minister tried to counter the proposed revoking of Article 370 from the Indian constitution by Home Minister Amit Shah.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, at the end of his speech, “I just want a little bit of clarity from Manishji," Amit Shah said. "He didn't say whether the Congress supports the scrapping of Article 370 or not. Please make this clear." To this, Manish Tewari responded: "Angreezi ki ek kitaab hai... har cheez kaali ya safed nahi hoti... there are 50 shades of grey in between." [There is a book in English... not everything is black or white... there are 50 shades of grey in between.]

Now for those who don’t know, Fifty Shades of Grey is a popular erotic book by EL James which is about sexual desires and using role-play and act of domination while making out. A film starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan with the same name has also been made by director Sam Taylor-Johnson.

Tewari went on to suggest that the Congress party's opposition was to the manner in which the Modi government pushed its decisions on Jammu and Kashmir through Parliament.

Initiating the debate on Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill in the Lok Sabha, Tewari said if Jammu and Kashmir, Junagadh and Hyderabad were part of India, it was due to decisions taken by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Tewari said that Jammu and Kashmir was being sought to be divided into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh against the usual practice of UTs being conferred with statehood. "We have seen in 70 years that UTs are made states. This is perhaps the first time when a state is being converted into a union territory. There cannot be a bigger attack on the constitution," he said.

He recounted the history of the state and said Article 370 was part of constitutional adaptation process after the then ruler of state Maharaja Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession with India.

Tewari added that apart from Article 370, which gives special provisions to Jammu and Kashmir, there were special provisions in regard to other states including Himachal Pradesh and north-eastern states. "What kind of constitutional precedent are you setting?" he asked.

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