Provincialism is the last refuge of a tweet fella

In his speech in the Lok Sabha, the disgraced diplomat-author-columnist Shashi Tharoor quoted the Malayali poet mahakavi Vallathol Narayana Menon:

“When you hear the name of India, your heart must well with pride; and when you hear the name of Kerala, the blood must throb in your veins.”

Without once mentining the buzzwords of the week—Indian Premier League, Sunanda Pushkar or sweat equity—the Trivandrum MP waxed grandiloquent:

“I am proud to represent the capital of Kerala, a State that in so many ways is a traiblazer for India’s progress. Keralite ethos with its cultural unity admist religious diversity, its high educational standards and respect for democracy, its commitment to the empowerment of women and wellbeing of the poor embodies the best of India.”

No problem with all that, except that it comes from the mouth of a man who has taken to explaining globalisation from every podum and pulpit.

Kanchan Gupta, associate editor of The Pioneer, finds fault with the inherent parochialism:

“By repeatedly referring to Thiruvananthapuram and Kerala, the “ethos of Kerala”, the people of Kerala (with whom he had no association at all during his growing up years in Kolkata and Delhi and the many decades he spent at the UN) he has tried to link high issues of ministerial probity with low politics of provincial identity.

“The unstated though clear message he has sought to send out is that an elected representative of Kerala is being unjustly penalised. That’s balderdash and Mr Tharoor, more than anybody else, knows it.

“It’s strange that a suave, accomplished person with an impressive track record of serving an international organisation with distinction, and whose last tweet sent out at 11.16 pm on April 16 reads, “U folks are the new India. We will ‘be the change’ we wish to see in our country,” should fall back on the discredited ‘old’ politics of provincial pride and prejudice in his time of trouble. That’s as distressing as his fiancée benefiting from a cricket franchise deal that he ‘mentored’. “

Read the full article: L’affaire Shashi Tharoor

Also read: TWEET THIS: Shashi Tharoor and Globalisation 2.0

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