Shasi Tharoor: Right choice for U.N reforms

On the sidelines of World Information Society in Geneva in December 2003, a panel discussion was organised about the role of United Nations in the information age. On the stage were charming Shasi Tharoor, the Under Secretary General for Public Information, U.N, Director of Al Jazeera, a Colombian internet guru and it was moderated by BBC’s Michael Hussain. Soon after the presentations, audience jumped up to fire the speakers with questions. Of course in their own mother tongue. All were baffled because it came in French, Spanish, and German for which the concerned speakers were not able to answer. The onus fell on Shasi. The way in which he answered all those valid questions logically and of course in the language of the questioner, made me to mark him as the man who belonged to the entire world. This was further strengthened when he came out of the dais and the ease with which he interacted with people from different cultures and countries in their own sweet own way.

There I dreamt about him as the next secretary general of the U.N. At the same time, I also had doubts about the spoilsport of United States, China and Pakistan in blocking this extra smart and intelligent young man. Although the relations between India and United States are on the record high now and surging ahead, for obvious international supremacy reasons, U.S may not like a man who got his own mind as the next head of the global organisation. Unexpectedly, the current secretary general, Kofi Annan defied the U.S line and adopted an autonomous thinking and action. This irritated the big brother unlimitedly. Kofi Annan’s days were counted with smile in White House. After overcoming one the self asserted secretary general, U.S doesn’t want to get into the trouble again. Especially during the times of Iraq war, Iran’s nuclear admonition, Afghanistan fiasco, incomplete dancing of U.N to the U.S tunes tested the patience of the sole supreme global force. The Indian government timely proposed Shasi’s candidature and started lobbying for him. Like in other crucial global dealings India’s approach should not too innocent. It should combat the neighborhood jealous perfectly and strategically. Pakistan has already sharpening its knives to fight with India for the top U.N job. China will supply enough diplomatic ammunition from the backyard to thwart its old enemy and new friend in capturing the U.N. Many candidates in the fray are good for India. Leaving the election of Shasi to even a bit of chances will be detrimental to the sharpening image of India. It should deal with Africa, developed and Muslim countries with more vigorous campaign and canvassing. Last year’s permanent seat drama should not be repeated.

If Shasi can win this election, good days are ahead for the world body. With his long experience and amazing grip over the cultural and diplomatic aspects of different nations, he will bring in wonderful results. Without ruffling feathers with big nations, he will try to improve U. N systematically and soundly. The first vital task before him is to ensure financial autonomy. Second to address the untouched nations like Sub Sahara where extreme poverty coupled with health is spelling disaster for the human lives. Third, utilize information and communication technologies to reach out to the inaccessible areas with U.N ideas and aid. Fourth, provide real teeth to different U.N organizations like IAEA to maintain neutrality. Fifth, always maintain the objective status of the world body.

Despite his active engagement in improving the image of the world body and continuous brilliant writings in the popular media, Shasi always care to respond to every ordinary citizen of the globe. In this age of extreme busy schedule and no time for the common people, people like Shasi are true inspiration for the young professionals to perfectly manage public and private lives. Can the lady luck smile on U.N to give a thumping triumph to Shasi Tharoor to give a spinal cord to the United Nations? All eager faith holders of U.N have to wait for next few months to see this great victory.



Samba, Soccer and Italia: Three cheers to Indians

Latin Americans have always been the uncrowned kings of world soccer. The grand gala event started with samba, salsa and full of colours. The early exit of top class champions Brazil and Argentina left many diehard fans disinterested in the rest of the tournament. From the beginning FIFA 2006 promised a lot of fun and thrill. Many goalless matches disappointed huge onsite gatherings and thirty two billion worldwide television watchers. It turned out to be all European semifinals and a war between archenemies French and Italians in Berlin in the final count. Irrational refereeing and simulation were the most important highlight of the event. In a way the card show in this FIFA cup was based on the amount of noise a team made. This was nakedly visible for every spectator far and wide.

Fouling gave French hero Zidane to kick the first goal to add enthusiasm to the eagerly awaiting spectators. Marco Materazi felt sad and heartbroken for that silly chance given to the French side to cheer in the seventh minute of the game. He took his vengeance to his heart and waiting for the moment to give it back powerfully. In another twelve minutes came his magic. Perfectly he shot a header that went right inside the goalpost. The men in blue went in ruptures, so also their supporters across the world. Soon after there was lull before the storm struck in the second half with Henry taking leads but without any breakthrough. After a little French toast, the match was pushed to boredom. Extra time and Zidane’s bullish pierce on the Materazi’s chest brought back the game. What made the celebrated French star to hit out at Materazi? Did he mutter some abuse that turned Zidane back to do the unpardonable act? Now it is an officially known secret – Materazi abused him in dirty words. This may be the preplanned strategy of the Italian team to send the perfect goal striker Zidane out of the game before the penalty shoot out. France without Zidane and Henry in the final shoot out? Meticulously it worked out and Italians walked away with the heavy gold glittering cup home. Apart from the ethical angle in this issue, the simple human weakness of reacting to provocation should have been dealt with before the start of the match. A sporting team needs to look at every side of the game to win. Not just kicking and meticulous goal shooting. Understanding the enemy camp’s SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) is a must for winning. The French have failed in this count and they have lessons to learn for their future in the game.

In all this drama of elimination of soccer stars from Latin America at the early stage, funny refereeing, and infamous Zidane’s clash and ouster, Indians were thick and thin. Millions of Indians missed their sound sleep and watched the world cup matches with full interest. Schools postponed their exams due to excess keenness of kids in football, office productivity crashed down with soccer fever running high, every gully in the country saw Ronaldos, Ronaldinhos, Zidanes, Beckhams in the making. Despite India being in the 179th position of world soccer playing nations, generous Indians cheered their favourite teams and gave much push to the advertisement revenues of ESPN sports. Our union commerce minister. Kamal Nath was five hours late for Doha round of WTO talks because of his utmost attention was in the soccer matches. Result of this we lost meaningful dialogue and concentre bargaining. Nevertheless we happily financed his fancy trip to Doha just to ensure his football watching in a more pleasant external environment F.M radios, T.V channels, restaurants, pavement sellers and young and old alike participated enthusiastically in this gala event by shouting non stop for this or that teams Grand mas and grand pas shifted their sleeping schedule to catch up with soccer so that they can debate the Rooneys and Zidanes style next day with their grand children. Truly we deserve the best spectator nation gold cup!

Red alert for Congress

Sonia Gandhi took more than a month to thank her parliamentary constituency, Rae Bareli voters. Nevertheless she injected enough rhetoric to wake up coma struck Congress leaders and cadres in Uttar Pradesh against Mulayam Singh Yadav run Samajwadi party government. But as usual her followers found it too sweet to hear from their chief about the possibility of overthrowing currently fragile S.P. On the other side, Com. Prakash Karat is going around the country to mobilize support to bring down Manmohan Singh run coalition sarkar in the center. After closing the Central Committee meeting in Hyderabad, the Left chieftain met politically down Chandrababu Naidu. They mutually agreed and appeased to place a non-congress and non-BJP government in Delhi soon. Next Karat called on DMK supremo, M. Karunanidhi when the octogenarian came to Delhi to seek more funds for his pet projects in Tamil Nadu. Then the comrade hit the road to Lucknow where Mulayam found it too useful to hear red news about the new political setup. This came at the critical stage of cycle riding S.P chief’s political isolation. With U.P assembly election just a year away and court cases against his family regarding disproportionate wealth is rubbing salt to his wounds, new activism of Left came as soother to Mulayam Singh.

Add these parties MPs to the Left strength in the parliament. Is that not making a formidable combination to pull down Congress managed coalition government in the center? Yes, the recent assembly elections and clean sweep of Left in West Bengal and Kerala had given enough guts to comrades to take this tough mission. But Congress is busy with fighting inside and troubling coalition partners across the country. Administration is completely out of control at the center with different power points pulling in different directions.

More importantly Congress is innocent of Left tricks and coolly taking communists in its arms in the states where the former is strong. For instance in Punjab, Andra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Communists have struck alliance with Congress. The explicit Left rhetoric is that they want to defeat communal BJP in these states. But implicitly comrades want to build up their organizational structure in all these states. If their real concern is to trash communal forces why not they give Congress a good share of MLAs in Kerala and West Bengal?

Apart from this political assault, revolutionary comrades are intruding deep into the forests of the nation to take tribals into their fold. More than 160 districts are already in the hands of Naxalites. A red corridor starting from Nepal runs through Jharkhand, Bihar and reaches Andra Pradesh in south. Is this not inspiring for many frustrated and unemployed youth to take up arms? Yes of course many young Indians are asking the route and contacts numbers of Naxalite leaders to join their force. At this do or die battle stage, politicking of law and order is high. Congress government in Delhi is keen to blame BJP run states in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh for security failures.

Greedy Congress leaders with the hope to capture power on their own are messing up with regional coalition arrangements. In Maharastra they tried to play with the mighty Maratha warlord Sharad Pawar regarding the NCP nominee for Rajya Sabha. Shrewd Pawar quickly dismantled Congress connections and struck rapport with Shiv Sena to get his nominee – Rahul Bajaj elected to the upper house.

In Jammu & Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad is trying to completely debunk PDP Chief Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. From top to bottom, Congress is affected with coalition mismanagement and factionalism. In the union cabinet most of the Congress ministers are performing dismally and defying Prime Minister’s line to report to the madam in 10. Janpath.

Congress is collapsing; BJP is not in a position to rearrange its army to face the next election. The only alternative remaining is Third Front with comrades leading in the front. Given the combat strategies and young Karats and Yechurys on the top of the Left there is little doubt that Communist government is very near to India.

The days are not far to see Communist governments in India and Nepal. Having agreed to participate in the coalition government run by Girija Prasad Koirala, CPN (M) led by Prachanda is going to contest the near future parliamentary elections. Given their clout and arm-twisting in the interior areas of Nepal there is a fine probability for the radical Leftists to conquer the Himalayan Kingdom soon. Marx is laughing in his tomb about this red possibility in south Asia!