Shashi Tharoor had politics in mind since student days?
New Delhi: Shashi Tharoor`s foray into public life might not have been a sudden decision as a peek into his writings suggests that the Congress MP was apparently preparing for a political career right from his PhD days, says former diplomat T P Sreenivasan.
"A review of Tharoor`s writings, beginning with his doctoral thesis on Indian foreign policy, submitted to the Fletcher School (at US` Tufts University), to his novels, like the monumental `he Great Indian Novel`, `Show Business` and `Riot` will reveal that he deliberately stayed close to Indian history and Indian landscapes as though he was preparing for a political career in India," Sreenivasan writes in his book
"Mattering to India: The Shashi Tharoor Campaign".
"His international experience and encounters with global celebrities figure in some of his essays, but he by and large remained committed to the discovery of India. Even when he tried his hand at biography, he chose Nehru, rather than Kofi Annan or some other international figure whom he knew well."
"As for non-fiction and his innumerable newspaper columns, the themes were mostly concerning the India that he observed from abroad, rather than the international issues and the American life that he saw first-hand around him. This may have come naturally to him as someone who was an Indian to the core, but in retrospect, it looks as though he had seen his future intertwined with that of India`s," Sreenivasan, who has many firsts to his credit in the Indian Foreign Service, says.
According to the author, `The Great Indian Novel`, perhaps the most important of Tharoor`s works to date, reveals an amazing understanding of both Indian mythology and modern Indian history.
"Through a clever mix of myth, reality, folklore and religion created by the author`s unbridled imagination, Tharoor turns the narrator of the Mahabharata into a virtual Nostradamus, who anticipates the emergence of Gandhi, Nehru, Bose, the Mountbattens and Indira Gandhi centuries later.
"Only a writer steeped in Indian mythology and with extraordinary insights into Indian history could have written the novel. The exercise of writing it must have given him lessons in statecraft, diplomacy, human behaviour, political intrigues and people management, and prepared him for a political career," the book, published by Pearson, says.
Eminent Malayalam novelist K R Meera also found the "uncanny anticipation" of future events in Tharoor`s novel `Riot`.
In her view, the novel reveals several clues to Tharoor`s character and behaviour as a politician.
"Writers have a sixth sense that birds and animal shave... Like previous life, future life too will come before them like a dream. For some people at certain times, dreams come true," she says.
Addressing Tharoor, Meera asks: "How did your sixth sense predict the future seven years in advance?"
The book tells the story of the election in which Tharoor carefully orchestrated his campaign by highlighting his past accomplishments and promises for the future.
How did a virtual outsider, who was not proficient in the local language and had never lived in Kerala, overcome these impediments and generate a Tharoor wave? What role did campaigners from across the seas play? How effective was the e-campaign? How did his fame as an international civil servant and writer influence his election?
These and many other questions are examined in the course of this detailed account of the campaign.
Sreenivasan briefly reviews the developments after Tharoor`s victory and the controversies that led to his resignation, and concludes that we have not heard the last of Tharoor as a politician.