Taking a dig at ruling BJP over its stand on the JNU row, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor speaking at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Sunday, said nationalism is now decided by whether one can say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ or not. 

He said people should have the right to choose what they believe is correct and still be tolerant of others’ ideas in a democracy. 

Tharoor was speaking on ‘JNU and Nationalism’ outside the administrative hall of the varsity which has been the centre of protests ever since sedition charges were slapped on three students over an event held where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. 

Here are the highlights of his speech:

  • “Today nationalism is decided by whether or not one can say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.”
  • “Our Constitution gives people the right not to say it just as it gives people the right to say it as well.”
  • “India is not just Hindi, Hindu and Hindustan.”
  • “We want an India with both Krishna and Kanhaiya Kumar.”
  • “We want in India people from every corner of this vast land an equal stake in our future.”
  • “The Indian civilisation allows many religions, celebrates range of opinions and is today sustained by constitutional democracy which stands for certain values that all of us claim as our own.” 
  • “You may have come here for education but you are also educating the nation.”
  • “What is happening here has given the whole nation an education in the vital issues of dissent and democracy, sedition and of course of ‘azaadi’ (freedom).”

Tharoor’s nearly 40-minute long speech had historical anecdotes and personal experiences and he repeatedly quoted personalities like Jawaharlal Nehru and Everlyn Beatrice Hall to drive home the idea of tolerance and diversity and their importance in India.

Watch the full speech below:


Here’s how Twitter reacted to his speech:

(With inputs from PTI)