Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Notes from my Diary - 9th April 2010

Shashi Tharoor’s visit

IT was a great day for our university as the cabinet minister of state for external affairs, Dr Shashi Tharoor was here in the to inaugurate the international seminar on 'From Land Locked (though one of my colleague kept insisting that instead of Land Locked it should be Locked Land, he had his own arguments about it, which no one seems to have cared for and so did I, what is in the name after all even Shakespeare mentioned Rose remains rose, whatever name we call it) to Land Linked: North East India in BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal initiative for multi sectoral technical and economic cooperation)' organized by Jadavpur Association of International Relations (JAIR), hosted by NEHU, sponsored by CII and initiated by Public Diplomacy Division under Ministry of External Affairs. Similar event was organized by the this division two years back at Hotel Pinewood where Mr Pranab Mukherjee (then defence minister) had come and discussed the issues.

A tall and handsome looking minister was wearing his favorite band-gala suit with a heroic hair-style and its occasional shifting was making him fashionable, filmy and a framing object. It was a good experience listening to Shashi Tharoor, however before and after he spoke, he was busy with his gizmo (mobile) or talking to HE Governor of Meghalaya, Mr Ranjit Mooshahary. The focus of his talk was on role of India in building better relationship with other neighoring countries through business ties and creating routes for free access. India as a country of unity in diversity or diversity in unity needs to play a very crucial role in strengthening the environment of brotherhood and fostering congenial relationships across borders.

The speech given by the governor was interesting, invigorating and interactive. I have heard him many times and every time he leaves an intangible mark in my understanding of issues. The inaugural session was over at around 12 noon.

Again at 2:30 pm the department of political science organized an informal interaction with Dr Shashi Tharoor in the science seminar hall with the faculty members and students. It was very well attended session where Dr Tharoor was accompanied by 4 persons (3 men and 1 woman). Before starting the session he made certain points on india's position on its foreign policy and international relations. The session was very nice as he responded to the questions asked related to whether India being subservient to US or otherwise, India's role in NAM, India's relations with China and Pakistan, border issues, illegal entry of individuals from the borders, India's position in UN security council, his tweeting initiative (it was told that he has more than 7 lac followers on Twitter), and cricketing ventures. His reply to a question on Non-Aligned Movement was quite interesting when he mentioned that once in early 50s Nehru was asked by a diplomat from the US. 'You are against us or with us', Nehru's reply was 'Yes', (which in fact implied nothing). His reply to a question asked by a student on his IPL association was very diplomatic (as expected), he said he does not have any affiliation what so ever with any team, however if any team comes from his state i.e., Kerala, he would support it.

I asked a question on his personal opinion on Freedom, Democracy and Governance. His reply was simple yet complicated. He said all his writings have topics on these and I could follow his books to have a better understanding of his views. However he mentioned that he admires indian democracy the way it is being governed and the freedom in indian democracy is much broader than other nations. I do not know to what extent he himself had freedom to speak his mind in the party he belongs. It was quite interesting to note that being a minister he was not able to speak his mind (while admiring indian democracy and freedom values) freely. Let me respect his freedom on this.

The way he was interacting and responding was admirable as he had answer and anecdotes for almost every question. His informal behavior made it more homely, free and frank. At the end of the session, two of his colleagues were introduced, one as Mr S Suri (Joint Secretary - Ministry of External Affairs) and another one as Mr S Chakraborty (Shashi Tharoor's personal secretary), two others (one man and one woman) were not introduced.

I am yet to believe that this person is in a polity of a country like India. I would certainly look forward for another bestseller from him in the times to follow on his political sojourn which might not last more looking at the ways it is twisting and turning with his tweeting. Surely he would make a good author but a politician, I doubt….
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