Eight Years After Her Death, Sunanda Pushkar Dragged Into The Kashmir Files Controversy

SRINAGAR: The virtual squabbling between The Kashmir Files team and a senior Congress leader has brought in Bomai born Sunanada Pushkar, the latter’s late wife, who was a Kashmir Pandit. Shashi Tharoor said though his late wife should not have been brought into the controversy but she believed in reconciliation and not hate.

Shashi Tharoor and his Kashmiri wife Sunanda Pushkar.

The controversy started with the Tharoor tweeting that the “film promoted by India’s ruling party” was banned in Singpore.

Responding to the tweet, Vivek Agnoihotri wrote: “Dear fopdoodle, gnashnab @ShashiTharoor, FYI, Singapore is most regressive censor in the world. It even banned The Last Temptations of Jesus Christ (ask your madam) Even a romantic film called  #TheLeelaHotelFiles will be banned. Pl stop making fun of Kashmiri Hindu Genocide.”

In a subsequent tweet, Agnihotri added: “”Hey @ShashiTharoor, Is this true that Late Sunanda Pushkar was a Kashmiri Hindu? Is the enclosed SS true? If yes, then in Hindu tradition, to respect the dead, you must delete your tweet and apologise to her soul.” It was at this state that Anup Khair joined the virtual spat. He tweeted: “”Dear @ShashiTharoor! Your callousness towards #KashmiriHindus genocide is tragic. If nothing else at least for #Sunanda’s sake, who was a Kashmiri herself, you should show some sensitivity towards #KashmiriPandits & not feel victorious about a country banning #TheKashmirFiles!”

This led Tharoor to explain his position. “At no point did I mock or disparage the sufferings of Kashmiri Pandits, of whose plight I am intimately aware, and to which I have repeatedly drawn attention over the years,” Tharoor wrote. “Dragging my late wife Sunanda into this matter was unwarranted and contemptible. No one is more aware of her views than I am. I have accompanied her to the destroyed ruins of her ancestral home in Bomai, near Sopore, and joined her in conversations with her Kashmiri neighbours and friends, both Muslim and Hindu. One thing I know, unlike those attempting to exploit her when she is not around to speak for herself: She believed in reconciliation, not hate.”

Sunanda Pushkar was a resident of Bomai in Sopore. She belonged to a family of landlords and Army officers. Daughter of Lt Col P N Dass, who retired from the Army in 1983, she has two brothers, one of whom works for a bank; the other is in the Army. She is a graduate from Government College for Women, Srinagar.

Sunanda’s marriage to Tharoor in 2010 was her third. Her first husband was Sanjay Raina, a Kashmiri. After that marriage ended in a divorce, she married a Kerala businessman Sujith Menon who then died in a road accident in 1997. She has a 21-year-old son, Shiv Menon, from her second marriage. Sunanda died in January 2014.

Nitizens have also voiced their concern over late Sunanda being dragged into a controversy after more than seven years of her death.

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