“I think his (is a) very clear summary for us of the way in which Indian foreign policy drew from our founding fathers’ sense of our civilization heritage, the extraordinary contribution of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru to the articulation of that civilisational heritage, the manner in which that both enhanced India’s standing in the world and gave us the negative reputation for conducting foreign policy as a sort of moralistic running commentary on other people’s behaviour.” said Shashi Tharoor , summing up Bhikhu Parik’s presentation at the event organised by an association of Indian diplomats at Delhi’s Indian Council of World Affairs.
Parekh’s talk on “India’s place in the world” called Nehru’s foreign policy a mistake. Mr. Shashi Tharoor endorsed Parik’s position - and is in a soup. The Congress party is peeved that he dared to criticize the policies of Nehru.
“I am very surprised by Tharoor’s style. He is a member of the Congress and his responsibility is to carry forward the legacy of Pandit Nehru and not to be critical of it,” Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said.
The height of sycophancy! How else can we describe this ridiculous attitude?
Dr.Parik is a renowned political theorist. Dr. Sashi Tharoor is a renowned intellectual and writer. Has he signed a contract with the congress party to shelve his brains temporarily into the deep freeze while he serves the country as a minister from the party?
Mind you, Tharoor was not commenting, this time, on a current policy. It was his perception of India’s early foreign policy. People see things differently. Also, in hindsight, our perceptions can alter. Is it fair for the Congress party to crack whip on the partymen on the position to be taken on the policies of the Indian National Congress for the past 150 years? Well, they had then better issue tickets to zombies and empty vessels who are capable of only echoing the inane rumblings of the high command on issues which are of interests and concern to researchers and theorists.
And why flay him for faulting Gandhi? Did not Gandhi believe that perception of truth will change with time and situation? Did he not provide for differences of opinion? Hasn’t he stated that "Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress" and "Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress"
I belong to the school of thought which endorses Nehruvian economic and foreign policies. But does that mean I must block from my mind all other perceptions of it? Does it mean I should condemn or silence hindsight wisdom?
Dr. Shashi Tharoor’s role in this meeting is not clear from the reports. Was he a moderator? If he was, his function was to be an objective chairperson in an intellectual discussion and not that of a spokesman of the Congress party. Even if he were a mere participant and not a moderator, it was his honest perception that was relevant in a debate following a scholarly presentation. It would be ridiculous, and unbecoming of a thinker to capitalize that platform to toe the party line.
Regarding Shashi Tharoor, the politician, there is every indication that he is getting sick and tired of the his cerebral activity being cabined, cribbed and confined by the lobby of seasoned politicians who never miss an opportunity to cut him down to size. Tharoor’s success would usher in a new type of political leaders who might eventually form the think tank of the party, much to the chagrin of those who stay in power by their sheer political acumen and Machiavellism innocent of intellectual content.