Monday, April 19, 2010

Tharoor Filth

What can I add to the most recent Shashi Tharoor controversy, or the Shashi Tharoor phenomenon? Most probably nothing new, but let me say what I think of it and why.

When he contested in Thiruvananthapuram, I supported his candidature (in debates with friends).

I used to be a fan of his columns and I had liked a book written by him (India: From midnight to millenium). That was when I was an engineering student, but afterwords started thinking differently, realising that he is just feeding on cliches and platitudes (pet topics that later bored me to death: his love for kerala and globalization chains). I also started realizing that he might be a fool under an intellectual garb, eversince he started saying that Indian women should go back to wearing Sari(and not Salwars), Indians should sing national anthem the American way and Americans dont understand cricket because it is too complicated for them. Yet I argued for him during the election because I wanted to see what change such a person, who appears to have a good personality, good literary sense, liberal values, decades of UN experience, etc, can bring to the Lok Sabha. Especially because normally such people enter the Parliament through the back door (Rajya Sabha). Tharoor must at least be lauded for his choise of the democratic way instead (even though he was afraid to contest from Palakkad,his hometown - a CPM bastion).

But after his victory, and subsequent entry to the ministry, what he exhibitted was an anti-thesis of all his writings, and what his resume appeared to display. His tweets were filled with "meeting with the lovely foreign minster of X country, the amazing foreign minister of Y country" etc, and also sucking up to others ("K Karunakaran is so great even at his age" - that from someone who wrote vehemently against Indira Gandhi and Emergency in his book, even
though he did not oppose it when he was an office bearer at St. Stephen's student council). He wrote about his "great meals", played up to populism "3 Idiots is great, Aamir khan rocks", made comments on IPL matches, lived in star hotels and travelled only in business class (calling economy class "cattle class). He also did not seem to mind human rights violations and such (unlike his columns), for example he loved everybody from Saudi Shaikhs to dictators.

Selt-important to the core.

Analysing his personal life is probably a mean thing to do, but I am going to stoop to such levels, because a man's personal life can help tell what he really is. Tharoor was initially married to his college sweetheart and someone who later became an academic and intellectual. He divorced her to marry someone who is much younger (some UN gossip), but someone who possibly maintains high intellect (being a UN official and all). Then he dumps her for a relation with someone who shows no intellect, someone who runs a spa and a few marketing/PR businesses, who did a plastic surgery on her face, (I can go on). OK, love is blind (to the brains).

But she also gets a free 18% stake or something in a multi-crore cricket club, which he managed to "help put together". The club appears as shady as it can get, whose owners are an unlikely motely crowd - only 1% of equity belonging to a man from the home state, rest being held by Gujarati businessman and some such, along with Tharoor's love iterest. Why those Gujarati businessman favoured Kochi, a much less commericially viable city compared to Ahamadabad, who Kochi defeated to become the IPL club? Any number of questions can be asked. Of course Lalit Modi has hidden interests, but Tharoor is no innocent man.

In my opinion, this is not how a progressive politician in India should live.

After his resignation, Mr. Tharoor appears to be nothing but filth to me. A man who talked a lot but did the opposite of what he talked. One among the elitist "accented" waste St. Stephens spews. A man who is no better than a Marwari businessman in morality, but who is too foolish to cover up his foolishness. Those who say Tharoor is being wrongly indicted because of his naivity (or foolishness) compared to other corrupt politicians, I say: foolishness is not yet a virtue.

I am glad that content won over looks. India needs intelligence, intellect, commitment and action, not jet setting people in designer kurtas, and their boring tweets.


Sands | കരിങ്കല്ല് said...

I beg to differ..

And you seem to twist the facts a bit... he never said "women should go back to sari". Read the link you've given. He suggests that women perhaps shall consider saving sari.

Then cattle class - everyone sounds like he coined the term and he called indians so.

a) he didn't coin the term
b) he answered when asked so...
and c) economy class is at times called so.. not just he.

And analysing his personality with allegations of relationships? where did you learn he dumped his present wife? What is wrong with doing a plastic surgery? In your article, the usage tries to make her look like a person with fake-face...

I haven't studied the L.Modi affair enough to comment on it. But your article, with 5 minutes of trying to verifying the facts, looks like just very impartial.

I personally think that this fellow is not looking for personal benefits... but again, L.Modi affair is not studied by me - yet.

Arun said...


Re: Sari:

Tharoor says "It would be sad indeed if, like the Japanese kimono, the sari becomes a rare and exotic garment in its own land, worn only to temples and weddings. Perhaps it's time to appeal to the women of India to save the sari from a sorry fate."

This means he wants women to wear it not just in festive occasions, but on other occasions too (which means; day to day life). Sari is a difficult dress to wear, especially for working women. Hence its loss of popularity. Asking women to wear Sari in day to day life is being patriarchal and is unexpected of a liberal mind.

Re: cattle class. I didnt care much for the cattle class controversy. Its perhaps just needless. What I wrote is: he travels by Business class and stays in star hotels, which is unbecoming of a good politician in a poor country like India, especially for someone who's elected from Kerala. It just smacks of elitism.

"dumped present wife", well may be I used a slang for "divorced his present wife for a third wife who is a beautician" but does that make a difference?

Modi affair seals Tharoor's fate in an absolute sense.

Thanks for your comment


Arun said...

"But your article, with 5 minutes of trying to verifying the facts, looks like just very impartial. "

Didnt understand what you meant. Of course I am biased against Tharoor, but I didnt take any liberty with facts, so do let me know if you think so.

Sands | കരിങ്കല്ല് said...


From the sari comment, what he says and your interpretation that he said women should are just different. That's what I call word-play and twisting the idea.

As you didn't care much about Cattle Class, I let that "elitism" thing go.

And I didn't find the "dumping" part anywhere. AFAIK, christa is still his wife. And as said earlier, using different words, "dumping" instead of "divorce" creates a world of difference in the impression it gives.

And alleging that he has relations with another lady - I don't know where you have facts for that.

(and even if you do have facts, I think a 'free' society grants the freedom for two normal adults to be friends.)

Finally, the tone in which you say, *beautician* or *plastic surgery* - every profession is good IMHO and since when does plastic surgery tarnish someone's personality?

2 lines of facts and 20 lines of build-up on that.... that's all I can see.

In any case, as in any free society, everyone has his/her freedom to think/write whatever is felt.


Arun said...

Reading Shashi's Sari article still boils my blood up, so you get whats my opinion about it.

Reg: relation between Shashi and Sunanda- the whole press and media is full of such stories, so its not something I made up. Shashi no longer lives with Christa and is under the middle of divorce, and is going to parties with Sunanda, so in an informal language "dumping" is OK. (Now my hand smells of gossip, yuck!!)

As you say, I agree that Tharoor has the freedom to do what he wants. Its just that moving away from two intelligent women to a glossy one says something about the man. At least to me, when I read the man's life and writings of last few years together.