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.