PROPAGANDIST FOR SAI BABA
In The International Herald Tribune, November 3, 2002, Shashi Tharoor endorsement came in the form of an most unbalanced story about Sathya Sai Baba.
General Information on Sashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor was UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Executive Assistant to Secretary of the United Nations. Two articles in the western press highly lauding Sathya Sai Baba - that of award-winning journalist Keith Bradsher in the New York Times of December 1, and now, three days later in the International Herald Tribune, a high profile UN and novelist type Shashi Tharoor - isn't any 'leela.' My take is this:
"In writing of Indian culture, I am highly conscious of my own subjectivity; arguably, there is more than one Indian culture, and certainly more than one view of Indian culture."
As a diplomat and
writer, Shashi Tharoor has explored the diversity of culture in his native India. By
exploring the themes of India's past and its relevance to the future, he has produced both
works of fiction and nonfiction. In reaction to his works The Great Indian Novel
and Show Business, Tharoor has been referred to as "one of the finest writers
of satirical novels currently operating in English" (Shashi Tharoor).
Biography: Shashi Tharoor was born in 1956 in London and educated in Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi (BA in History, St. Stephen's College), and the United States. He holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (Shashi Tharoor 2).
Since May 1978, Tharoor has worked for the United Nations. He served over 11 years with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, whose Singapore office he headed during the "boat people" crisis (SAJA). In October 1989 he was transferred to the peace-keeping staff at the United Nations Headquarters in New York (Shashi Tharoor 2). In this position, he served as Special Assistant to the Under-Secretary-General for Peace-keeping Operations. Dealing with a range of issues in this capacity, Tharoor addressed a variety of peace-keeping issues around the world and led the team responsible for the United Nations peace-keeping operations in the former Yugoslavia (Shashi Tharoor 2). On January 1, 1997 Shashi Tharoor was appointed Executive Assistant to Secretary of the United Nations Kofi Annan (Shashi Tharoor 2).
He is a member of the
International Institute of Strategic Studies in London, the India International Centre in
New Delhi, and the American PEN Center (SAJA). He is also an elected Fellow of the New
York Institute of the Humanities 1995-96 (SAJA). Shashi Tharoor is
married to writer Tilottama Tharoor and is the father of twin sons (SAJA).
Quotes of Sashi Tharoor:-
On Indian expatriates: "...his [the expatriate's] nostalgia is based on the selectiveness of memory...his perspective is distorted by exile... his view of what used to be home is divorced from the experience of home. Expatriates are no longer an organic part of the culture, but severed digits that, in their yearning for the hand, can only twist themselves into a clenched fist" (in The Washington Post
On Indian nationalism: "Indian nationalism is a rare animal indeed. It is not based on language. . .geography. . . ethnicity. . . religion. Indian nationalism is the nationalism of an idea, the idea of an ever-ever land that is greater than the sum of its contradictions" (Tharoor The New York Times
On Indian diversity: "If America is a melting-pot, then to me India is a thali, a selection of sumptuous dishes in different bowls. Each tastes different, and does not necessarily mix with the next, but they belong together on the same plate, and they complement each other in making the meal a satisfying repast" (Srinivasan).
On the United
Nations: "I believe the UN is still the one indispensable world organization we have.
Sure there are wars going on, but the UN can only stop those wars where it has a mandate
to do so, which means the parties are willing (or persuadable) to stop...Within those
limitations I think we have a pretty good track record" (The Shashi Tharoor Chat).
Tharoor, Shashi. "Growing Up Extreme: On the Peculiarly Vicious Fanaticism of
Expatriates." On-line. Mnet [from The Washington Post]. 12 Feb. 1998.
Tharoor, Shashi. "India's Odd, Enduring Patchwork." The New York Times. 8 Aug. 1997. A31. "Confronting Ancient Animosities"
India: From Midnight to Millennium, the entire text of chapter one
"India, Poised to Become an Economic Superpower