Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Seeking reparations – the Shashi Tharoor way!

Reading Time: 3 minutesWhy SHASHI THAROOR’s viral video is a much needed vision of Modern India for the rest of the world

It is not often that a video of an Indian politician trends on social media for a ‘good’ reason. So when I heard about this 15 minute clip going viral on the internet, I decided to take a peek. Like most other people who have a patriotic bone for India in their body, I absolutely relished the video.
The politician featuring in this clip is Dr Shashi Tharoor. A diplomat, a writer, a former Minister, and a current Member of Parliament of India. The video is of his speech at a debate organised recently by the prestigious Oxford Union in England. In his speech, Dr Tharoor emphatically asserts his opinion that Britain must pay reparations to India, and all its other former colonies, for the oppression unleashed upon them during its extended imperial rule.
Tharoor is no stranger to a controversy. But for a day, leave aside the alleged irregularities of his personal life, and just savour him speaking as a citizen of the much touted “Modern India”. Here he is the kind of Indian that so many of us desperately aspire to see more of, more often. Especially in the political circles of the country.
No fluffy slogans, no throw-away lines, and no hollow remarks. Rather, he relies on a potent blend of intellect, passion, and old-fashioned confidence to run home a debate on behalf of every single citizen of India. He doesn’t play victim, or portray India in that vein. At no stage does he endeavour to inflame emotions, yet Tharoor manages to leave you with goose bumps.

He acknowledges the history of imperial rule for what it is and then gradually peels it away, one layer at a time, exposing the ulterior elements of colonialism that held back India for almost two centuries. And then, as he closes off his engaging arguments, he seeks some pragmatic reparations to move on from the scars of the past. He does not demand a monetary ransom disguised as an apology. Just a heart-felt acknowledgement of the oppression suffered by the people of India in those times.
Not for a minute does Tharoor come across as flustered or out of his depth, in relation to the subject of the debate and the facts associated with it. His arguments are rational, succinct, and articulate. Dripping with healthy doses of passion and sarcasm. For the 15 minutes that he speaks, he justifies the charisma that is often associated with this former United Nations diplomat.
The debate is done. Dr Tharoor put forward a sound voice of reason on behalf of India, but in the end, it was just a debate. One does not expect much to come out of it. But hopefully, this will project a rightful image of a “Modern Indian” to the rest of the world. An Indian who is educated, aware, and most importantly, empowered.
And as for Dr Shashi Tharoor. Well, you nailed it, Sir, with your oration. But here’s a question I have for you. Do you intend to show similar conviction and passion and seek reparations from your colleagues in the modern Indian political fraternity, for the oppression and looting over the past 60 odd years?

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Sanam Sharma
A typical middle class guy who is abundantly opinionated, moderately flawed, and adequately grounded

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