In his letter, Tharoor, a former Union minister, wrote: "I have not yet had the pleasure of writing to you, except on Twitter. I hope you will forgive me for sending my first direct communication to you in public, because I believe it is on a matter that should also engage the entire public of India.
Ever since assuming the highest executive office in our land, Modiji, you have so far, not even once, mentioned the illustrious name of our first Prime Minister.
I am sure you recall his name, since in the past you have said it has been used too often: it is Jawaharlal Nehru. (Like me, you are not overly fond of titles, but for the record, he was generally known as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, hence "Panditji" for short.)
I mention Jawaharlal Nehru because in just a couple of months, on November 14 to be exact, we will be reaching the 125th anniversary of his birth. As you know, we are a country that is very fond of marking anniversaries. We commemorate births, deaths, events of various kinds. Normally, the 125th birth anniversary of a nationalist leader who fought for our independence, graced the high office that you now hold, and guided the destiny of our country till he passed away on 27th May, 1964, would be the occasion for a major national commemoration. I am sorry to say that I see absolutely no sign of any such intention on the part of your Government."
Tharoor said Modi had been lauding another great leader of Nehru's time, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, but the latter's impact was limited by his early death in comparison to Nehru, who he said " helped shape our nation's foundations for another fourteen years".
November 14, 2014, will mark the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru
Modi, who launched the initiative of setting up of a massive iron statue of Sardar Patel in his home state Gujarat before becoming the prime minister, had also remarked on various occasions that it was Patel who deserved to become India's first prime minister, sparking off a controversy.
The BJP prime minister also often mentions about the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi due in 2019, urging for a cleaner and better India to observer the occasion.