Met the Thiruvananthapuram MP Dr Shashi Tharoor on September 23 to discuss Mission Netaji and our declassification campaign, at his invitation. Tharoor said he supports the declassification of Netaji files and all documents older than 25 years. He is of the view that destruction of foreign relations should not be an excuse for not releasing documents older than 65 years.
Even in local dailies, there was no mention of the political inclination of the deceased Neelakanta Sarma whose organs were donated by his family, but Tharoor spotted it. Sarma’s family thought of organ donation not because he was a Congressman or because Sonia Gandhi had convinced them to do it, but because of their superlative thinking, high social values, and pure greatness. I may have ignored the mention of “Congressman” had it come from any politician but Tharoor. Although there is no rubric of political demeanour for a reference, Tharoor should realise that such acts of opportunism will only debase himself to the level of most of his peers. What if a religious fanatic had taken the freedom to consider that Sarma was also a Hindu, besides being a Congressman? What if someone said he was a brahmin, besides being a Hindu and a Congressman? Luckily, it did not happen; people only said he was human while extending their gratitude to his heart that now beats in a Christian’s body. It does not require the worldly knowledge one gets with a bachelor’s from St Stephen’s or a PhD from Tufts to understand the difference between what is politically right but morally wrong. I am reminded of something my high school Malayalam teacher had said about commonsense: “It is okay for a poet to describe the voluptuous body of a woman, but not when she is depicted lamenting beside her husband’s corpse.”
Shashi Tharoor says state-sponsored killing reduces us to murderers, hinting that the decisions of the president on mercy petitions are, in effect, taken with inputs from the government. It may have been an indirect barb at Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh, but little did he think that he was also reducing to murderers the top brass of the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments – Manmohan Singh, Shivraj Patil, Sushil Kumar Shinde, and P Chidambaram – that advised the president to reject the mercy petitions filed for Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru. It was only poetic justice that Yakub Memon who deprived 257 people of their right to life had to knock on all doors even in the wee hours of the judgment day in his attempt to get his own life back.
Shashi Tharoor’s avowal of colonial quantifications at the Oxford debate was a revelation to many. But in the larger perspective, to a round-eyed audience, he presented only the facts he saw through one eye. The other eye, which should have focused on the crimes of his own party, was tightly closed. When he pointed his finger at colonialism and asked for reparations, three other fingers were pointing back at Tharoor’s own political abode for continuing the colonial style to this age and time. Tharoor should think how a depleted Japan and a forbidden Germany got rid of their past and became the economies they are today, and reflect on what happened to our own India under the 55 years of Congress rule. Only an impotent and enslaved nation needs reparations from its colonial masters; what we need are corrections, and that should start from the very political unit to which Tharoor belongs.