India can learn from Scottish vote: Shashi Tharoor

The result of the Scottish referendumgave a "good and healthy signal" to the world and offered a lesson in unity to India, Congress politician and author Shashi Tharoor said here on Friday.

PTI| Updated: Sep 20, 2014, 00:51 AM IST

London: The result of the Scottish referendumgave a "good and healthy signal" to the world and offered a lesson in unity to India, Congress politician and author Shashi Tharoor said here on Friday.

As Scots voted decisively in favour of staying within the United Kingdom, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said, "There is a very simple lesson of staying together and being together. I think that is really what India is all about".

"We have nations within India. But we all live together asone country and our nationalism transcends these sub-nationalisms. To my mind, that is one of the great strengths of India which is worth actively fighting for and preserving,"he said.

He said the Scots sent a signal that even when they were given a choice democratically to choose otherwise, they saw the merits of sharing an existence with others.

"That is a good and healthy signal to give to the rest of the world, not just India," he said.

Tharoor, who was in London this week to participate in a historic debate organised by the Indo-British Heritage Trust on the merits and de-merits of the British empire at the Supreme Court, also drew upon history to highlight India's hand in strengthening the Scottish union.

He said when the East India Company had set out to colonise India, the Scots had their own efforts "to colonise in the west".

"It was with the Act of Union in 1707 that Scots becameeligible to participate in the goodies of the East India Company and a disproportionate number of Scots were employed by the East India Company," he said.

"As a result the profits they were repatriating home iswhat put Scotland out of poverty. So India had an extremely key role in giving the Scots an incentive to remain with the British nation," he told reporters at the India Club in central London ? a venue that has a strong personal connect with his father Chandran Tharoor, who worked for the Amrita Bazaar Patrika in London.

In reference to the Congress party, Tharoor pointed to

therecent by election results where the ruling BJP held only three out of 11 seats as an "indication of hope".

"I don't think people should feel there is any cause fordespair. The values of the Congress party are being robustlydefended in Parliament and outside. We certainly haven't given up. I would say with some pride that we are punching above our weight in the Lok Sabha," he said.

"We are only 44 but we are heard, we are noticed, we arecontributing to the debate. At the same time we are being constructive," he said.

Tharoor said his party did not believe in the BJP's "politics of destruction" which paralyzed the House completely when they were in opposition.

Regarding the party's leadership being entrusted to theGandhi family, he said, "Ultimately in a political party it ispolitical credibility that dictates their presence at the top of the party. Sonia Gandhi has now won two elections and losttwo elections. But she has shown the capacity to lead the party from the doldrums to the top".

"The voter has kept us away for five years and during those five years we have to revamp our party, strengthen our party and re-organise our party and that process has already begun," he added.