No Indian community can claim majority status: Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor
No community, including Hindus, can claim majority status in India as it is essentially a country of people with various beliefs, Congress leader and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor said.

"There is no community in the country which can claim to be a majority. It is true that Hindus are majority but within the community there are caste, regional and linguistic differences. So within Hindu community also there are people with minority status and they experience it," he said.

He was speaking at the fifth annual lecture of National Minority Commission (NCM).

Tharoor gave several examples of diversity within a common regional or caste belief.

"Brahmins in Karnataka and West Bengal share the same regional belief but have distinct identities of their regions. They get along better with people of their own places and origin even though if the other person follows a different religion," he said.

Accepting that some minority communities do "suffer from greater disadvantages", Tharoor said, "It will be wrong to generalise anything about India as there are 22 languages, 22,000 dialects and 85 political parties in our country...Our nationalism is not based on language, geography, ethnicity. It is the nationalism of an idea of living in harmony with diverse views."

The former Minister of State for External Affairs said, "We all have different point of views and policies and we all respect it. From that point of view we all are minorities."

Replying to question over incidents of communal and ethnic clashes in the country, he said the Indian identity of citizens should matter the most.

"There are inter-communal clashes. Sometime it happens between two minority communities, which has happened in Assam. Sometime the majority community attacks the minorities, which happened in Gujarat, but at the end we all have to survive together," he said.

NCM Chairperson Wajahat Habibullah said the motive of the lecture was to spread a positive message about India.

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