"Modi Like A Scorpion On A Shivling": Who Did Shashi Tharoor Quote?

While the BJP is irked about the comment, Tharoor was quoting an unnamed RSS member from an old news story

Narendra Modi & Shashi Tharoor Narendra Modi & Shashi Tharoor

On Sunday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and the Union Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad held a press conference to criticize Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shiv Linga.

Prasad sought a response not from Tharoor but from Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, asking him to apologise to Hindus if he does not support the statements made by Tharoor. Prasad who also tweeted about the same said, “The Congress which seeks to represent the heritage of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Today, has reduced itself to a party of abuse, baseless allegations under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.”

He added, “Tharoor is charge sheeted in a serious allegation of murder. I don't want to give him more prestige by responding to his baseless allegations but the larger issue is that while Congress president Rahul Gandhi claims himself to be a Shiv Bhakt, one of his leaders have almost abused the sanctity of Shivling or Mahadev. This is despicable, deplorable and downright vilification of the great god of Hindu faith.”

Many others criticized Tharoor for his comments like David Frawley, an expert in Hinduism who tweeted, “Unnamed sources are just a devious way to put forth your own opinions. So Narendra Modi is a scorpion on a Shiva linga? Tharoor will even misleadingly use Lord Shiva to attack Modi. Is this part of how he expresses his Hindu identity."


While the BJP is demanding an apology from Tharoor, BOOM looked at what he really said. In a 1.04 minute long video posted by wire agency, ANI, Tharoor can be heard saying, “There is an extraordinarily striking metaphor expressed by an unnamed Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) source to the journalist Vinod Jose of the Caravan, which I quote. In which they expressed their frustration in their inability to curb Modi.”

Tharoor then cites the quote given by the unnamed RSS source, “Modi is like a scorpion sitting on a Shivling, you cannot remove him with your hand and you cannot hit it with a chappal either.” Tharoor made the comment while attending a discussion at the recently concluded Bangalore Literature Festival on Sunday.

Listen here -

While this statement comparing Modi to a scorpion irked many BJP leaders and supporters, Tharoor was quoting an article written by Jose in the magazine The Caravan in 2012 when Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat.

BOOM also sourced the original article where the quote cited by Tharoor appears. The said article titled, “The Emperor Uncrowned - The rise of Narendra Modi’ appeared in the magazine’s March 1, 2012 issue and was written by their Executive Editor Vinod K Jose. The quote appears in the last paragraph of the story as, “Shortly before I left Gujarat, one RSS leader described his own feelings in a bitter sigh: “Shivling mein bichhu baitha hai. Na usko haath se utaar sakte ho, na usko joota maar sakte ho.” A scorpion is sitting on Shivling, the holy phallus of Lord Shiva. It can neither be removed by hand nor slapped with a shoe.”

Caravan Caravan Magazine's cover story on Narendra Modi, March 2012

Following the uproar on social media against Tharoor, Jose also took to Twitter and Facebook and said, “It’s funny that the BJP fielded Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to attack Shashi Tharoor for a scorpion-on-shivling quote I received on Narendra Modi from an RSS leader 7 yrs ago, in 2011 Nov. For Modi profile I had interviewed 105 people, and almost all of them were people who worked with him or knew him close up. The piece was published in 2012 March issue of The Caravan. The profile was then discussed on prime time national TV and translated widely too. Then or now, Modi people don’t want to know who the RSS leader was? Instead of looking inward who the RSS guy was, why go for a tertiary source (Tharoor) in this?”

On Twitter, Jose was asked to reveal his source but he refused to do so.

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