Sarmila Bose and shifting goalposts

Dead Reckoning is an essentially flawed book, argued Urvashi Butalia — in 2011.

Today, I see this piece being raked up in context of the Smriti Irani’s speech in Parliament.

On my timeline too, there have been similar points made. As for instance:

I haven’t read Ms Bose’s book. I referred to it in a specific context — namely, that Ms Irani had distorted its content to make a political point in her speech in Parliament. (It is in the same context that Kavita Krishnan mentions Bose’s book on her Twitter stream today).

Now I am mildly puzzled — what has Ms Bose’s scholarship and intellectual rigour, or lack thereof, got to do with it?

What is the argument here — that it is ok for Ms Irani to distort because the book she is distorting sucks anyway?

PS: While on shifting goalposts, consider this:

Then this, also on the same day:

Holding a belief is not an issue, but it is never right to abuse any god or goddess. This does not come under freedom of speech. One cannot say “Pakistan Zindabad” or say anything against the nation. What Smritiji was saying was that these people from the Left who claim not to even believe in religion, are today worshipping Devi Durga and celebrating Durga puja. Whose intellectual bankruptcy is this?

  1. As it turned out, no one said “Pakistan Zindabad” on the day in question. 2. One <em>can</em> criticise one’s country — that is how a country gets better. 3. That was not what “Smritiji” was saying anyway. 4. Who said that if you have a leftist orientation, you cannot believe in religion? Who said you cannot buy into a certain socio-economic philosophy without buying the whole bundle?

In passing: I am neither of the Left, nor do I presume to speak for them. My brief flirtation with Leftist ideologies was jettisoned back in my college days.