The former diplomat, writer and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has featured in a Deutsche Welle TV interview with Tim Sebastian, the bulldog who hosted Hard Talk on BBC.
After facing a barrage of questions on the Congress party’s woes, past and present, Sebastian poses the question that will please those looking forward to a “Congress-mukt Bharat”.
Tharoor’s response, calm, cool and collected, is illuminating in the context of what is going on currently in the country under the aegis of the Narendra Modi government.
Do you still think your party deserves to survive, given all the human rights abuses, and the corruption scandals?
It’s like saying if someone deserves to survive because he has got a wart on his face or a pimple on his nose.
It’s a bit more than that.
No, it’s not a bit more than that. There are far more important things the Congress party stands for.
It stands for the pluralist identity of India. It stands for the values of the freedom struggle. It stands for social justice in a country where 70 per cent of the people live on two dollars a day. It stands for the distribution of the profits of government while also standing for growth that has enabled India to become the third largest economy in the world, all of which are important things to be proud of.
The Congress party inherited from the British an India with 90 per cent of the population living under the poverty line, today it is 26%. It inherited an India with 17% literacy; today it is 72%. It inherited an India with life expectancy of 27, today that is 70.
Some progress has been made and the Congress party ruled India for much of the time when progress was being made. Let us not write all that off.
View the full interview here: Shashi Tharoor in Conflict Zone