Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Of novels and politicians

A blog piece by Jug Suraiya (Shashi Tharoor and the Nehru-Gandhi family) sparked a piquant feeling. Here’s the original article. And I quote some bits from it:


“…However, way back in 1989 - long before he entered politics - Shashi took India's First Family to task in his The Great Indian Novel, in which he retold the story of the Mahabharat in the idiom of modern India's political history…”

“…Did you really write that, Shashi? Or are you again being misquoted by the media?”

It is easy to fault public figures, ones who dabble in politics even more so, for their past, their present, for them speaking their minds and more.

And it is paltry to pick up their past work and vilify them with it in the present context. For the lack of exclusive news, this is a trifle target for lazy co-relations.

It is not for me to judge whether Mr Tharoor was misquoted. I would like to mention, though, the bit about freedom of expression, literary or otherwise. What Mr Tharoor penned down a couple of decades ago, was his prerogative, irrespective of his current occupation. The Great Indian Novel still qualifies as a piece of fictional work, irrespective of it mirroring the Indian independence movement and the years thereafter. Last time I looked, as Indians, we are still allowed creative licensing. You probably earn a small chunk of change yourself from it, I’m sure.

Because one is in service of an organisation, be it even the state, does not mean one needs to be servile to all advocacies. Is evolution of thoughts and ideas somehow not expected from our leaders? Or do we prefer stagnancy of opinions?

After all, debate was one of the basic foundations of Nehru’s democracy, was it not Mr Suraiya?

3 comments:

mohitoz said...

Bang on!

Bhaskar Khaund said...

Second that - bang on ! There's plenty of intolerance that's always been floating around.Just no stomach for dissenting viewpoints , is there! But also the other thing is , i saw the clip and from that at least , it didn't look like tharoor was criticising anything in the first place.he was only citing the (western)world's perception of our foreign policy at the time. so the media took it out of context. typical. they'd sensationalise their mom's chapatti rolling pins if they cud !

Bhaskar Khaund said...

so unlikely that ur shashi bhai's gonna churn out a The Great Indian Media novel any time soon ...though a The Great Indian Twitter could be a possibility ? ;-)