The political Indian has always been a little irritated with Sashi Tharoor. Nobody can deny he garnered more attention and credit than he deserved. Let there be no doubt – Tharoor gained his following purely as a consequence of his background as a diplomat, English eloquence and TV friendly personality.

Perhaps the middle class saw in Tharoor the dreams they had for their offsprings.

Over-achievement in the early years, an American higher education, the high flying job at a reputed organisation – which of these can the middle class deny as not part of their aspiration? If the reader is in any doubt I urge him/her to visit the growing number of Indian matrimonial sites.

There is yet another middle India that will cite even more bizarre reasons for supporting Sashi like figures. A modern dynamic minister they would claim best represents India. Sashi for them represents the perfect anti-dote for the embarrassingly bumbling political class that we live with.

In the melee everybody would forget to ask Sashi Tharoor about foreign policy. As much as one tries to find policy wise significant utterances from the minister in the last year there is nothing beyond a meaningless video on soft power. It is no doubt championed by the fan boys of the ‘dynamic – modernist’ politician. Tharoor for his part has written and tweeted more about his dinners than foreign policy in the term he served as a member of council of ministers.

Maybe India could have used him better. Maybe he was constrained – a mere minister of state with nothing to do except visit less important states and host dinners.

Yet the fall of Sashi Tharoor may serve a useful purpose.

The Rahul Gandhi brigade intends to milk India of as many votes as possible using the same sophistry in English, the much ballyhooed modernist image and a deafening silence on political/policy issues. The middle class in its characteristically frivolous fashion has always liked this.

Perhaps the downing of Tharoor will dispel the myth of the ‘modernist’ politician. Perhaps the controversy would nudge the middle class to look a little bit deeper into issues of governance, leadership and performance. Perhaps Rahul Gandhi and his ‘youth’ brigade will be scrutinized a bit more. Perhaps.

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Amar Govindarajan is a management professional based out of somewhere in South India. He spends his spare time in bird-watching, dog keeping and reading Popular science. He is also a member of the CRI Editorial team.

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