I have been arguing for some time that the educated middle class in our country should not abdicate the political space to others. …. (The middle class people) are the engine of the politics but in our country, they tend to abstain. They are taking to professions – civil services, lawyers and doctors, they don’t go into politics and I think that’s the shame. Certainly like I who spends so much time thinking and writing about the issues that are the outcome of politics.
If I now have an opportunity to actually put my feet in the arena , to put my feet where my words were and my mouth was, I think I should take on the challenge. It’s not easy, it’s not familiar territory but I think it’s time for people like us to try and connect with people who have normally not been part of the kinds of daily engagements that we normally conduct in our professional life. It’s time that more professionals got involved
These were the words of Shashi Tharoor when he was asked by the TV channel IBNLive about his nomination for the Lok Sabha seat for the Thiruvananthapuram constituency.
For long, many political commentators and intellectuals have been lamenting about the indifference of the middle class to the political process. They were arguing that, by staying away from politics, the educated middle class is allowing incompetent people to govern the country and letting criminals decide the future of the nation.
While they were right, none of these people were willing to lead from the front by entering politics themselves and making a positive change. They wanted someone else to do the “dirty” job. That is now changing. By jumping into the political fray, Shashi has proved that he can walk the talk.
Shashi Tharoor is no stranger to many of us. He served the United Nations for 29 years (1978-2007). During that period, he rose to the level of UN Under-Secretary General. He campaigned for the UN Secretary General post but was unsuccessful in that endeavour.
Shashi has an outstanding academic and leadership record. He was the University topper in St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and he completed his PhD from Tufts University, USA at the age of 22, which was a record. He is an avid debater, quizzer and writer. His weekly columns in “Times of India” are well read. His books “The Great Indian Novel” and “The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cell Phone: Reflections on India in the 21st Century” are among the bestsellers. His other achievements can be found here
At a time when the voting public is appalled by the nomination of personalities with dubious records (Sanjay Dutt, Md. Azharuddin) and criminals for Lok Sabha elections, news about Shashi Tharoor’s nomination comes as a whiff of fresh air.The Congress party deserves praise for this bold move and we can only hope that all the other parties follow suit. The political parties will be doing a great service to the country if they field a few outstanding candidates with proven record of good performance.
It is not clear if Shashi Tharoor will win in the Lok Sabha election. But irrespective of the result, he has once again set an example for us educated people to follow. We can hope that what was a trickle of professionals entering politics (like T.N.Seshan, Mallika Sarabhai) turns into a deluge.
PS: Shashi Tharoor’s website is http://www.shashitharoor.in/
Image Credit : Stuti
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