The Tharoor Tragedy (3T) is of great significance for the polity of Indian nation. After years and years of suffering substandard politicians, Shashi Tharoor’s surprise contest from Thiruvananthapuram (TVM) came as a whiff of hope in Indian politics. Since 1960s’ the biggest curse in Indian politics has been the advent and growing control of good-for-nothing politicians (including family members) over the parliament and government. The new breed of career politicians, who are fully dependent on politics for their livelihood, has become the real retardant that is holding back India. Democracy is no doubt the most civilized form for human governance, but it will blossom only if there are well meaning politicians with brilliance and calibre. Whatever be their background, those who decide to be in full-time politics immediately after completing their formal education can never do anything good for the country. The present state of India, especially its most literate Kerala state, is the best example for this. Career oriented leaders in the Communist and Congress parties of Kerala have literally brought down the God’s Own Country to a zero-development state.
Career politicians, who make up 95% in all the major political parties in India, are definitely not doing the country any good. Given their complete dependence on politics, it is not at all surprising to note that all such politicians are at all times striving for the next higher post in their party or government hierarchy. An ordinary member wants to become a panchayat member, then a district panchayat member, then an MLA and so on. Side by side they want income to take care of themselves and their family. Naturally the desire grows with age and so also the monetary requirements. In the process the only sure thing that can happen in the fixed tenure in any elected capacity is a frenzied scramble for amazing wealth for the entire future because of great uncertainty that underlines any political life. Another sinister offshoot is their determined attempts to cut down all prospective competitors while in power. In any case one thing is cent percent guaranteed – any elected career politician will never do anything good for the society at large and the nation. Those who plotted 3T from within Congress party are sad examples of this curse on Indian democracy.
The entry of Shashi Tharoor in Indian politics was a welcome change because of so many reasons. First of all, he is not one of those career politicians. He volunteered to join politics at a time when all politicians with some ‘transfer value’ were running away from politics which was getting murkier day by day. The quality of debate and law making process in the Indian parliament had come down to ridiculous levels in the recent past. In the age of globalization, there is not even a single Indian parliamentarian who is well known and quoted in other world parliaments. None of them have produced nor have the potential to produce any significant work that will enhance the working of democratic process of governance. Very few had the moral authority to command respect among their peer group for educational qualifications and erudite achievements. Most of them were respected out of fear or for their oratory gimmicks. In such a scenario, Tharoor’s decision to contest for Lok Sabha rather than seeking a back door entry into Rajya Sabha was nothing but a miracle in Indian politics.
Dr. Sashi Tharoor had achieved almost everything that an ordinary middle-class Indian could in his entire lifetime when he decided to enter politics. He was already on top of the world with his foot firmly on Indian ground when he decided to take the plunge in the most politically sensitive state of Kerala. He needed a platform and he chose the Congress (supposedly because of his admiration for Nehru). Many were unhappy with his choice of the political party but all democratic Indians were happy to welcome his refreshing entry into politics. Many were unhappy with his writings but few doubted his erudition and calibre. Many disliked the foreignness in his words and looks, but nobody had any reservations about his intentions. Tharoor was the best that could have happened to Indian politics and all the political parties envied Congress when they offered the TVM seat to Tharoor. And the fact that he won it by over a lakh votes in a four-cornered contest shows the democratic resonance he could establish with the aspirations of ordinary Indians.
Though Tharoor’s name cropped up in so many controversies in the past one year, it was always victory for him at the end. He had the integrity and intention to succeed against all types of allegations and efforts to get him out of the ministry, parliament and politics. Career politicians in all political parties were mortally afraid of the new trend he has set. All of them were afraid of the entry of bright and educated Indians into politics after having achieved something in other fields. If Tharoor succeeds in Indian politics, the consequences can be devastating for the entire system of career politics. Tharoor was using Twitter and speaking on TED platform. It was too much for the street smart dirty politicians who are interested only in electoral victory based on their family name or vote manipulation. None of the career politicians would have slept properly for the last one year because of anxiety. The BPL (Below Poverty Line) addicted communists and BPO (Bofors Pay Off) addicted congressmen are really no match for the likes of genuinely talented Tharoors.
Tharoor’s South Indian background is a major factor that has contributed to his current downfall. Power structure in Indian democracy has always been dominated by Hindi politicians (rather than Hindu politicians), thanks mainly to demography and volume of business in the North. Tharoor touched the wrong nerves when he could snatch an IPL slot from the powerful North lobby. In the past, it was considered almost impossible for any consortium representing a state like Kerala to have raised USD 333 million and beat the competition from the North. Only a Tharoor could have raised so much confidence for anyone to bet so much money on behalf of Kerala. Whether he has any direct monetary participation in the IPL bid is for the enforcement agencies to find out, but to have triggered the confidence and won a competitive bid is no crime at all. And personal relation between Sashi and Sunanda is not for Congress Working Committee or Polit bureau to decide.
It is unfortunate that 3T happened at a time when politicians and bureaucrats from Kerala are supposed to in dominance at Delhi. There has been no time since 1947 when Kerala had so many ministers and powerful bureaucrats in the government. Yet no one came to defend Tharoor for a Kerala cause is something that must not go unnoticed. And the moral credentials of the core committee itself that asked him to step down are highly suspect. It is like a set of shameless pots calling the shining kettle black. It had only the shame of India at the helm and a few family retainers who have entered the parliament through the back door. They have shown it is easy to bring down a Tharoor, but many of them have inadvertently contributed to the premature death of an Indian dream for rapid development through democracy with intelligent leadership and informed consent. And Kerala could have achieved a paradigm change in its development if only it had nurtured talents like Tharoor in its politics. Democratic Indians have failed once again in promoting genuine democracy in India.