Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, on Saturday likened Hindutva to the hooliganism in British football and said it reduces the majesty of Hinduism and the message of the Vedas and Upanishads.
Mr Tharoor said belief in acceptance is fundamental to Hindusim. He is in the city to campaign for the presidency of the Indian National Congress.
Delivering the inaugural Father Stan Swamy Memorial Lecture on ‘Are Human Rights Universal?’, an initiative of St Paul's Media and Communication Center with Indasda Foundation in Bandra, Mr Tharoor said, “I have written a book on Hinduism and I myself am a proud Hindu. Hinduism is not and cannot be Hindutva. Belief in acceptance is fundamental to Hindusim. Hindutva reduces the majesty of Hindusim, the Vedas, the Upanishads. Hindutva is like the British football league's hooliganism that cannot stand the other.”
Speaking on various philosophies that have dealt with the relationship among culture, group rights, individual rights, religions and human rights, and on whether there are universal human rights in a diverse world, he said that often culture (cultural rights) are at odds with human rights. "But there is nothing sacrosanct about any culture," Mr Tharoor said, adding that Hinduism had outgrown and rejected practices like Sati and untouchability.
"Coercion is the test, not culture, for human rights...,” he said. “Universality does not mean uniformity." He said his party would bring in the Women's Reservation Bill and a fresh anti-defection law.
On Fr Stan Swamy, Mr Tharoor said, "His human rights were being violated while he was fighting for the rights of the tribals and adivasis... we cannot exclude the poorest of the poor in the universal human rights of the rich."
He remarked that Fr Stan died in police custody without being convicted and the system was responsible for his death though he had an extraordinary contribution. "There were unworthy endeavours on the part of his critics to dehumanize him. Even i was ignorant of his work," Mr Tharoor said.
Fr Frazer, who knew Fr Stan personally, said it was unbelievable that he would have advocated violence. "We know that Fr Stan Swamy could have never advocated violence. He was treated badly in jail. For two reasons we are appealing to the court. One is to exonerate him and second to investigate the cause of his death," he said.
Speakers remembered Fr Stan for his "very good grip" on social science and how he used his academics to work with the tribals in Jharkhand, where he came from. "He saw that what was promised in the Schedule to them was not being given,” Fr Frazer said. “In 2013, he managed to get a landmark order from the Supreme Court that not only the land but all that lies beneath it also belongs to the tribals. This rattled the government and it came after him."
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