POLITICS

Years Before Tharoor, Journalist Mehdi Hasan Said In A Viral Speech: 'Farrago Of Distortions, Misrepresentations'

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11/05/2017 11:07 AM IST | Updated 11/05/2017 1:50 PM IST
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Congress MP Shashi Tharoor poses at the Jaipur Literature Fest 2017.

When Shashi Tharoor responded to Arnab Goswami's newly launched Republic TV and their allegations relating to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar, he sent a nation scurrying to find a dictionary.

Tharoor's characteristically eloquent but somewhat over the top verbosity immediately sparked off a flurry of memes. The allegations were all but forgotten.

Turns out, the attention grabbing part of Tharoor's internet breaking tweet--"farrago of distortions and misrepresentations" was used in a famous debate a few years ago. At a debate held at the Oxford Union in the wake of Fusilier Lee Rigby's brutal murder in 2013, Mehdi Hasan, a British political journalist used the same sequence of words in a very similar sentence.

The uncanny resemblance in the speech was spotted by Free Press Kashmir.

"An astonishing set of speeches so far making this case tonight. A mixture of just cherry-picked quotes, facts and figures, self-serving, selective... a farrago of distortions, misrepresentations, misinterpretations, misquotations...," Hasan said during his arguments.

Hasan was arguing for the motion "This House believes Islam is a religion of peace" against the opposing arguments of Anne-Marie Waters, Daniel Johnston and Peter Atkins.

Watch it at 3:01 minute.

Hasan's feisty speech went viral on the internet, garnering more than 2 million views, becoming a booster shot to his reputation as a speaker.

Hasan is the co-author of a biography of Ed Miliband and formerly worked as political director at HuffPost UK. He is the presenter of the Al Jazeera English shows: The Café, Head to Head and UpFront.

Years after this particular speech, Tharoor himself became a star of a later Oxford Union debate on colonialism that went viral.

The Congress MP brilliantly argued why Britain owes reparations for its exploitation of the subcontinent.

"It's a bit rich to oppress, enslave, kill, torture, maim people for 200 years and then celebrate the fact that they are democratic at the end of it. We were denied democracy, so we had to snatch it, seize it from you," he said at the debate "This House Believes Britain Owes Reparations to her Former Colonies". He was speaking in favour.

His speech went viral on the internet, garnering nearly 4 million views, and spawned his latest book: 'An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India'.

Watch Tharoor's speech at the Oxford Union debate here.

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