Was Amit Shah wrong in tweeting out greetings for Vamana Jayanti yesterday (13 September)?
People in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh do celebrate Vamana Jayanti. And this year, they did it on 13 September, yesterday.
So what led to the controversy around his tweet?
Two things, probably. One, the urge to look for a controversy. Second, the fact that Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh celebrate Vamana Jayanti is not as well known as the one that Kerala celebrates Onam. So, Shah’s tweet of 13 September was probably taken by many to be his greeting for Onam when in fact it was for Vamana Jayanti.
Though the Malayalis are not entirely wrong in complaining. Onam is a ten-day festival and the first day of it was 13 September. (The main day, although, known as the Thiruvonam, is today, i.e. 14 September)
What went beyond a complain, and turned into an ugly display of provincial conceit however, was this tweet by Congress MP, Shashi Tharoor.
While Shah got his dates correct, Shashi Tharoor got his facts, geography and sensitivities all wrong.
For one, Shah is from Gujarat, the western-most state of India. It would be interesting to see how Gujaratis react to being referred to as “from the north”.
Second, putting out the right tweet on the right day is not ignorance or arrogance but just common sense. What can be construed as ignorance, however, is being unaware that some parts of India do in fact celebrate Vamana Jayanti.
Third, even if Shah had hailed from north India, and had got his dates mixed up, that would only have shown Shah’s ignorance, and not of north India as a whole. With implicating the whole of north India in his tweet, has Tharoor let on to something he believes personally in?
In public life and even otherwise, it is always advisable to obtain all the facts before passing judgements. Let Tharoor’s howler be a lesson for all public figures.