UN diplomat creates history in India

UN diplomat creates history in India

When I was a student at IIT Kanpur in the 1970’s an articulate and eloquent young man from St Stephen’s College in Delhi won every debating contest at our annual Cultural Festival.  Shashi Tharoor has now created history in many ways by winning a parliamentary seat  for the Indian National Congress from the southern state of Kerala in the recently completed general election.

I last saw Tharoor in 2005 , shortly after he had lost the bid to become Secretary General of the United Nations. He still seemed his ebullient self and ready for new challenges. During the election campaign in the last few months, many were skeptical since he had lived abroad most of his life. Tharoor proved them wrong. says “Never before has any one not born in Kerala or not educated here or not proficient in Malayalam registered an electoral victory in the state” .

Politics in India is often disdained by intellectuals. But Tharoor has a PhD from Tufts University and is author of books such as The Great Indian Novel and more recently The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cellphone.  His experience in diplomacy lends itself well for him finding a role  not just in India’s parliament but perhaps in the Council of  Ministers. I’d love to him as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, for example.


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