Shashi Tharoor: Too forward for India?

Thursday, January 23, 2014 Rahul Das 3 Comments

Sunanda Pushkar found dead in hotel room.

It felt eerie reading this headline. The Tharoors were in the news for yet another Twitter controversy and this came as a big shock to all of us.  Along with the shock, what saddened me personally was that this was all happening to a man whom I've always admired. The man who had almost become the Secretary-General of the UN was now a disgraced politician who was to be questioned for the plausible murder of his own wife. The way I see it, Tharoor now has 2 ways forward. Will he remain a politician and endure his opponents while they shred away his dignity? Or is this the end of the career of the multi-faceted luminary who was once close to holding the world’s most revered post?

So where exactly had Dr Tharoor gone wrong?

Dr Tharoor at my Alma mater, Good Shepherd International School (Oct 2012)

Born in London, Tharoor was educated in different parts of India and later, the Tufts University, Massachusetts. He began his career as a UN diplomat in 1978 and became the Executive Assistant to the then Secretary-General, Koffi Annan in 1996. In 2006, he finished a close second behind Ban Ki-moon in the straw polls conducted for the post of Secretary-General before the USA vetoed against him, which subsequently led to his withdrawal from the race. He then returned to India, began his political career as a member of the Indian National Congress and was elected the Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram in the 2009 Lok Sabha Polls. He is currently the Minister of State for Human Resource Development, a post he has held since 2012.

Tharoor’s tryst with controversies began right after he joined Indian politics in 2009. Here's what I feel about the most talked about ones.

1. Mehr Tarar (2014): A series of tweets between Tharoor, Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar and Sunanda Pushkar herself that indicated all was not well between the Tharoors.
I have no understanding about what happened here and will refrain from posting my views on this.

2. IPL (2010): Forced to resign from his post for allegedly misusing his power to give his “50 crore girlfriend” a sweat equity in the Kochi team.
Why is it so difficult to even consider the possibility of an accomplished businesswoman operating independently?

3. ‘Cattle class’ (2009): A tweet that was construed as an offensive comment that hurt the sentiments of India’s middle class.
Appreciate wit, people.

4. Lifestyle (2009): Drew flak for staying at a five star hotel for 3 months at a time the Congress had begun its slew of austerity measures.
What’s wrong with a well-off person living luxuriously as long as he covers for his expenses?

5. Lok Sabha polls (2009): Blamed in Kerala for being an ‘outsider’.
Plain shallow-mindedness. I have nothing else to say.

I recall my mother who used to teach at my Alma mater, Good Shepherd International School, Ooty, describing him to me after he visited the school (Read his tweet here). She described him as a person who epitomizes everything that a sophisticated and intelligent man should be, an excellent and witty orator and a man aware of his charms which he uses to his advantage with flair. And it is precisely these suave aristocratic traits that our Indian society has not been able to accept in Tharoor. After all, how could a man with such a remarkable 29 year tenure abroad tarnish his reputation merely within 5 years of working in India? An approach that was a bit too forward for our conservative Indian society perhaps? That’s what I think of it.

What do you think? SoSpeakUpNow! and share your views too!



  1. his girlfriend just "happens" to be given the sweat equity? i disagree!

    1. Why is it so difficult for us to even consider the fact that she might have bought the stake in the team herself? Remember that Ms Pushkar was an accomplished independent businesswoman who didn't have to serve as a proxy for Tharoor, especially when she had already shown an interest to buy equity in the other teams prior to this.

      Coming to Lalit Modi - A man who was ousted by the BCCI top brass for alleged corruption and financial discrepancies that kept coming up in the IPL. He himself had a small stake in the Rajasthan team, just like his Chairman, who owns the Chennai franchise. There have been rumours of Mr Modi misleading the bidders for the Kochi team and even offering them a 50 crore rupee bribe. Don't you find it strange that Mr Modi just happened to breach the confidentiality agreement that he was bound by? An ulterior motive perhaps?

    2. Check this link out.