As part of the inaugural, I want to dedicate our first post to the Reason behind this blog: A person who suffered the penalty of being an honest newbie in a typecast unholy Indian political rut. Despite the rollercoaster ride, this MP has stuck his ground and continues to believe that there is redemption in this political journey.
Rewind: The 2009 General Elections in India witnessed an unlikely campaign- debutante in former Under Secretary General for the United Nations, Dr. Shashi Tharoor. Scepticism and the media-cavalcade followed him closely. And, why not? After all, it had been a while since Progressive Politics raised an arm in India.
Politics in India has been on a wing and a prayer for quite a while now. The Indian masses are trained to be comfortable with the stereotypical sleazy guy who sits in a lackadaisical manner in a plush cabin with an air of authority and makes a Pilgrims Progress every fourth year and eighth month to remind you that he’s your face for change; he’s your last ray in an otherwise hopeless neighbourhood. He is your candidate. And that’s also the last time you see him until the next term. The proposition of a ‘Gentleman in Politics’ is not unwelcome; it’s just funnily beyond our ken. To put it in a nutshell, Politics is considered as the ‘Untouchable’ in a plethora of professions in India.
Interestingly, this elite outsider (as the media endeared him) adopted reverse psychology and decided that after serving his country on a global front it was time to return to the reason he had made it so far, his Motherland.
This Member of Parliament sure finds comfort in communicating as a commoner with the masses. In fact, it was this one- on- one connect that became his greatest asset. Hope had arrived; here was finally someone who decided to keep it straight and simple for the crowds that met him. He definitely has a magnetic attraction to the crowds which made the right choice to vote for change. Shashi Tharoor won with a thumping majority of a margin of 1 lakh votes much to the chagrin of the Left wing candidates.
The career graph of this Politician has since witnessed a series of ups and downs. From the MEA to the Parliamentary panel post that he assumes soon the people’s mandate and their hope is vested quite rightfully in this MP from Thiruvananthapuram.
For the Critics who believe in the Ad Absurdum on asset misappropriations and other falsities, some valid questions:
• Wasn’t Rajya Sabha an easier option for Shashi Tharoor with a six years fixed term and sharing the dais with the so called ‘elitists’?
• If indeed the ‘outsider’ as the media downplayed Shashi Tharoor to be, would the Indian citizens have voted him in with an overwhelming majority against a party that has maintained political mandate for decades now?
• Thirdly, for those accusing of embezzlement of assets, wouldn’t it be easier to enjoy a post- UN la dolce vita existence delivering speeches engaging in intellectual discussions while enjoying a quiet life of peace and tranquillity in the comfortable West rather than burning the candle at both ends, shuttling between the constituency and the Parliament, conscientiously manoeuvring through fledgling controversies while yet engaging with people, some of whom propose diametrical view points. All this apart from trying to rationalise the system of Governance for the ‘Aam Admi’
Often accused of being biased, here is a pragmatist view as to why India needs Shashi Tharoor.
Lest we forget, some famous firsts:
• Shashi Tharoor was the first Indian Minister to set foot in Haiti after disaster struck the island.
• One of the first MPs to take up the neglected issue of School- Children’s Safety in the Parliament.
• First MP who issued a ‘Half-term MP Report’ chronicling his progress with the Central leadership on proposals with the Centre, something unheard of in the recent or distant past. This increased the level of political transparency and has also brought to the fore the aggregate of funds that the MPs are actually allotted for their respective constituencies.
• First Indian Politician to create an alternative virtual platform for political accountability vis-à-vis Twitter which was initially criticised but now finds favour with the highest political executive in India: The PM Office.
Reasons India needs Shashi Tharoor:
• On the outset after an extensive and panoramic view of the world through his diplomatic career, Dr. Tharoor already has considerable international influence that his comrades in the Lower House would probably achieve in a couple of years which is for all that counts a sheer waste of time that could well be devoted to other national causes. India’s otherwise desperate attempt to make peace in a volatile neighbourhood could culminate into a reality if we make the right decisions in terms of Foreign Policy.
• Panoptic vision: As a diplomat, his line of thinking is far different from those whose life- blood is Politics. It’s more ecumenical which makes the tight rope stint for other negotiators of Indian interests, a cake-walk for this politico-diplomat.
• Re- defining the Politico- Commoner equation: Not easily ticked off by the wanton rants of the general public, he engages with the common man unreservedly, a quality not yet attributed to the political portal. This is the change that ‘We the People’ are waiting and wanting.
• The concept of Soft power which is fast picking up in countries like China has its strongest propagator in this ecumenical Indian thinker. If a comprehensive plan can be chalked out to use this asset in India’s favour Indian economic growth could be enhanced.
• Fine mix of Pragmatism and Visionary thought: Not a blue – sky thinker Dr. Shashi Tharoor’s frank views with the determination to execute make it easier for commners to understand the tacit ideas of the decision makers. It also brings to light the practical problems that the MP faces in executing a plan.
The quest to make good of the Political forum for Indian democracy has been a priority for leaders over the years, but very few have achieved substantive success. There lies a marked difference between thought and execution. Here is someone who is capable of both. We hope that India gets some political manna of free thinkers like Dr. Shashi Tharoor. In the meantime, we need more such liberal thinkers for all our constituencies to get into the political realm by 2014.
@katie_abraham on Twitter
@katie_abraham on Twitter