Congress leader and former Union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar today dubbed as "rubbish" the BJP MP Subramanian Swamy's call for "rewriting" Indian history to celebrate its unity and said the country should instead celebrate its diversity.
Aiyar was participating at the Kalinga Literary Festival here along with Swamy, who in his keynote address at the event, and on its sidelines, advocated recasting the country's history.
"Rubbish. Who stops him from rewriting the history? He (Swamy) usually talks rubbish. He comes here and makes a political speech. Did I say anything political in my intervention?" Aiyar told reporters while replying to a question on Swamy's plea.
Referring to Swamy's speech at the event where Aiyar was also on the dais, the Congress leader said, "It is a literary festival. He does not understand. If he does not understand the meaning of this festival, how can you expect him to understand history?"
On Swamy's claim that all Indians have one DNA, Aiyar said, "And, what does he mean that we are one people? We are proud of our diversity. Why abolish that diversity?"
Noting that one cannot get unity out of uniformity in a country like India, Aiyar said, "We must celebrate our diversity instead of pretending that the DNA is same everywhere."
Swamy in his keynote speech at the festival said the country must celebrate its unity despite several bids to break it up. "We must celebrate the unity of the country as it has sustained and remained one despite pressure," he said.
"God knows which laboratory he (Swamy) went to. It must be as stupid a laboratory as the university which he went," Aiyar remarked referring to his claim during the speech that he had organised a DNA test of Raj Thackerey of Mumbai and a taxi-driver from UP at a laboratory.
Swamy claimed that the DNA of both Thackerey and the taxi driver was the same and concluded that all Indians have one DNA and therefore are one people.