Shashi Tharoor is a class apart, a member of the political aristocracy. I think that even Shashi Tharoor would agree with that, although he probably would not frame it as an insult. And that he would use a lot of big English words that have fallen by the wayside several hundred years ago.
What I mean by the political aristocracy is a class of zamindars who see India as their fiefdom. These people are only nominally attached to any one political party, one ideology, one religion or even one country. Their real aim is to make hay both coming and going. They are the members of the global elite, a group that thrives on other people’s money (OPM) while passing judgement on the same ‘cattle class’ during their high-class sojourns in Geneva, Paris and New York.
Earlier on, when the story of Kerala floods had not yet hit the peak of the prime time news cycle, claims of ‘neglect’ became extensive fodder for the Communist Break India trolls. There was some political gravy there and it was not long before Tharoor decided to dig in and get some.
That is some serious irony from a man who had described the people of the North East as “hilarious” and “outlandish” only a week or so before that. And a man who belongs to a political party where the top post has been reserved for members of one particular family since time immemorial. And big talk for the Congress Party that packed off the mortal remains of Former PM P V Narasimha Rao to be cremated as far from Delhi as possible.
But here is something more interesting. On Aug 16, Shashi tweeted this:
Ok. Again, a dig at the Govt of India for (presumably) neglecting Kerala along with the words “We are coping with our own resources.” Here, the word “We” appears to have been used by Shashi for the Govt of Kerala. It is curious that Shashi would do that, considering that his Congress Party is in the opposition in Kerala. What did I tell you about an amoral global elite that will go any side their bread is buttered, a group that owes no allegiance to any party, state, region, religion or country?
Anyways, I guess Shashi Tharoor could argue that he used the word “we” in the sense of “we the people.”
So let us find out what happened between Aug 16 and Aug 20.
What do you know! In four days, Shashi has done a full 180-degree turn and is now in Geneva for “consultations” on Kerala floods. What happened to the Govt of India is the only entity that is authorized to approach the UN?
I’ll tell you what happened:
So, amid 350 people or so dying in floods in his home state of Kerala, Tharoor has found an excuse to go on a trip to Geneva. This is what happens when we are ruled by an amoral global elite. This is what always happens when Communists take over a state in the name of “serving the people.” The people get left behind while the aristocrats and their cronies enjoy.
We all know about Kim Jong Il splurging on fine wines while the people of North Korea were reeling under famine. This is how Communism works. In this case, the people of Kerala are literally drowning as Tharoor’s plane lands at the wonderfully scenic International Airport in Geneva.
And what “consultations” is he supposed to hold with the UN and other international human rights agencies? What was the need to go to Geneva? Did these international agencies refuse to return Shashi’s emails, Facebook messages as well as calls on Skype and Whatsapp?
A hint for Mr Tharoor: if they are not responding to you on Facebook, Twitter, Skype or Whatsapp, my guess is that they don’t want to talk to you.
Or Shashi could just have tried the old-fashioned phone call. The country code for Switzerland is +41. Give it a try Shashi; because it totally works.
I would also invite you to examine carefully the language in Shashi’s tweet, where he says he is in Geneva in ‘close consultation’ with Chief Minister’s Office in Kerala. You know what that means?
It means that there is a chance that Shashi’s trip to Geneva is being funded by the people of Kerala. And I am guessing that he ain’t travelling ‘cattle class’ nor staying in some youth hostel. No way, those tickets and hotels aren’t coming cheap. Mind you that it’s still peak tourist season in Europe so prices are through the roof for last minute bookings.
Shashi Tharoor should clarify who is funding this trip. Is it coming out of personal funds or from the much bankrupt Kerala state treasury? If it is coming out of the state treasury, will they at least have the decency not to take it from the Disaster Relief Fund? Don’t bet on it though, considering how the Kerala CM uses state resources.
You have to admit though that Pinarayi Vijayan is a more down to earth Communist, not a man of aristocratic tastes. All he wanted to do was use the state’s Disaster Relief Money for a helicopter ride to a CPI(M) conference in Thrissur. Also, you could argue that the CPI(M) is the greatest disaster to have ever struck the state of Kerala.
Meanwhile, the people of Kerala have to get used to the fact that the farther you are from Geneva, the less you matter to aristocrats like Shashi Tharoor.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.