Shashi Tharoor Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

New Delhi: Veteran Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday said his statement over the construction of a Ram temple was “largely distorted”.

“No good Hindu would want a Ram temple to be built by demolishing somebody else’s place of worship,” Tharoor had said at a literature festival in Chennai.

Criticising Tharoor, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said: “Is Tharoor demanding removal of the makeshift temple where ‘pooja’ [daily worship] is being performed in the tent? No one till now has made such a demand.”

On Monday, Tharoor accused the media of twisting his words.

“I condemn the malicious distortion of my words by some media in the service of political masters. I said most Hindus would want a temple at what they believe to be Lord Ram’s birthplace. But no good Hindu would want it to be built by destroying another’s place of worship,” he tweeted.

Explaining his views on Hinduism, Tharoor said one of the fundamental things about Hinduism was that there were no fundamentals.

“Anything that claimed to be Hindu, but has fundamentally moved away from these precepts is actually anti-Hindu. That is why I find that Hindutva with its narrow, exclusionary bigotry is a violent assault on the basic tenets on what every Hindu should be brought up,” Tharoor, Member of Parliament (MP) from Thiruvananthapuram, said.

Tharoor likened his personal journey to the teachings of Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita.

“Hinduism has many ways through which it could be practised: reading, worshipping, practising yoga, meditation and divine connection through service, among others. I honestly don’t know, but my faith comes to me instinctively. I have faith in myself and something larger out there and am not driven by a relentless quest for power,” he tweeted.

On Monday, Tharoor praised Hinduism describing it as an “extraordinarily eclectic faith.”

“There is no other faith that allowed such diversity. We should look towards reclaiming the intellectual ground, reminding Hindus what their faith is about,” he said.

At the literature festival, Tharoor had also alleged that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would resort to communal polarisation ahead of the 2019 general elections.

“I think we have to brace ourselves for some more unpleasantness in the months to come because there has been a correlation, in the not so distant past, between the advent of elections and the stoking of religious passions, communal rioting,” he said.