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PM Modi has Spent Last Four Years and a Half Proving Me Right, Says Shashi Tharoor at JLF 2019

The twelfth edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival will begin shortly, and as floggers of dead horses we'll be bringing you the highlights and low points of the 'Kumbh of Literature' as and when they happen.

News18.com | News18.com

Updated:January 25, 2019, 8:45 AM IST
PM Modi has Spent Last Four Years and a Half Proving Me Right, Says Shashi Tharoor at JLF 2019
File photo of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

The first day of the Jaipur Literature festival saw a lot-- Tharoorism, what Sachin Pilot thinks about young people, and lots of conversation around Sabarimala and freedom of speech.

In an unfortunate incident, four people were injured when part of a tree fell on them in a restricted delegate area, according to a statement issued by JLF organisers. The incident occurred at the Diggi Palace, they said.

Later, the organisers released a statement that read, "All the four persons injured, in an incident today at Diggi Palace, have been released from the hospital after medical care. The incident did not cause any disruptions in the proceedings of the Festival today."

The inaugural keynote was delivered by Nobel laureate Venki Ramakrishnan, author and President of the Royal Society.  "Art, literature and science are all ways of capturing essential truths about the world, but science has some distinctive aspects encapsulated in the Royal Society’s motto is Nullius in verba, or “On nobody’s word.” In science, it does not matter who you are or where something is written, but an idea is accepted because it is testable by experiments that can be reproduced by anyone anywhere in the world with the required training and expertise. Today, science is more important than ever. We live in a world in which science and technology are ubiquitous. Decisions are constantly made by governments, corporations, educators and others that affect us in profound ways," he said in the keynote.


Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shashi Tharoor said the title of his book 'Paradoxical Prime Minister' is apt.

"Initially,  Mr Modi was saying all the correct things. He was talking about sabka vikas, He was saying I will be a prime minister for all Indians, he was saying that constitution was my holy book and so on and on. So I said we not only have to welcome these statements but by welcoming them we are putting up a yardstick against which we will judge him in future. If I had criticized him even when he was saying the right things, it undermines our credibility to criticise him when he does a wrong thing," Tharoor said.

Six months after PM Modi came to power, Tharoor said he started writing his book 'Paradoxical Prime Minister'. "I was able to begin it with words, I told you so," he said.

"He says all these liberal things and makes all these pronouncements. But he rests for his own political importance for his electoral viability across the country on the most liberal elements in the Indian society," the Congress leader said. "Unfortunately, Mr Modi has spent the last four and a half year proving me right."

Tharoor also spoke on Sabrimala and said, "There are four basic principles that any democratic conversation has to have - respect for the constitution and institutions like the supreme court, respect for the freedom of religion, rights for each to practice their own ritual as they wish as long as they don't harm others and respect as for the rule of law... Sabarimala is the first issue and I hope the only issue on which these principles seem to clash with each other."


The line-up boasts Man Booker-winner Ben Okri; Pulitzer-awardee Colson Whitehead; Yale Professor and renowned astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan; best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith; Man Booker-winning Yann Martel; writer and essayist André Aciman whose Call Me by Your Name inspired the movie which made the world fall in love with Timothée Chalamet; Andrew Sean Greer, New York Times bestselling-author and 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winner; Germaine Greer, writer, academic, and feminist first; Sohaila Abdulali, journalist and prolific writer; Anuradha Roy, winner of the DSC Prize for Fiction 2016, and longlisted for the Man Booker 2015; Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, award-winning novelist, poet, activist and teacher of writing; British novelist and journalist Hari Kunzru; former Newsnight anchor Jeremy Paxman, one of Britain’s best-known journalists and author of nine books; Jeffrey Archer, master of the twist-in-the-tale; NoViolet Bulawayo, the first black African woman and Zimbabwean to be shortlisted for the Man Booker; and Alvaro Enrigue, one of Spanish literature’s most accomplished writers.

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