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Pax Indica: India And The World Of The 21St Century [Paperback-2013] NEW
Tharoor, Shashi (India)
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Description

Category:Politics- Current/International Affairs - Current/Internat Affairs
Publisher: Penguin India | ISBN: 9780143420187 | Pages: 449

Joe Nye aka “Mr. Soft Power” in The Future of Power has argued that, in todays information age, it is the side with the better story that wins. This book is Tharoor’s conscious or unconscious attempt to ensure that India is the party with the better story (of course to one’s own eyes one always has the better story). To Tharoor, India is gentle and reasonable and completely justified in all its actions; where they cant be justified, they can be explained away with the excuse that a functionin Joe Nye aka “Mr. Soft Power” in The Future of Power has argued that, in todays information age, it is the side with the better story that wins. This book is Tharoor’s conscious or unconscious attempt to ensure that India is the party with the better story (of course to one’s own eyes one always has the better story). To Tharoor, India is gentle and reasonable and completely justified in all its actions; where they cant be justified, they can be explained away with the excuse that a functioning democracy will take circuitous routes (the elephant metaphor). Thus the benign elephant dances with starry-eyed smaller countries, reluctantly peeping neighbors, a very naughty dragon, a ferocious but almost toothless opponent with a weapon that cant be used, some failed states and a big circus master with a big funny hat. But all that is incidental because the elephant is gentle enough to be above reproach. So, who is the hero of the story? I leave that to your guessing skills. Other than that, this reads like a sequel/update (with even the metaphors not being spared) to Malone’s wonderful book - with all the edges carefully shorn off and decorated in cheerful Diwali lights. The second half of the book which takes a look at rth Block and UN and their many idiosyncrasies, arguing for and against continuing relevance is more entertaining - because Tharoor actually has original stuff to contribute here along with many anecdotes which are well-worn but still funny. And though the books cover boasts that he tries to evolve a grand strategy (which Malone had criticized India of lacking and Tharoor wants to prove exists inside of the folds), it only delivers some passably good platitudes. In the end though, I cannot forgive Tharoor - the primary reason for me picking up this book was my irrepressible curiosity on how the author would justify such a presumptuous title. And Tharoor never bothered to oblige, except for a two line justification which only talks about a redefinition of what the pax -ica latinization means in this new century. Disappointing? Yes. But, perhaps true too - it gels well with Pinkers Angels. ...more

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About the Author

Shashi Tharoor is a member of the Indian Parliament from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency in Kerala. He previously served as the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information and as the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs.He is also a prolific author, columnist, journalist and a human rights advocate.He has served on the Board of Overseers of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is also an adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva and a Fellow of the New York Institute of the Humanities at New York University. He has also served as a trustee of the Aspen Institute, and the Advisory of the Indo-American Arts Council, the American India Foundation, the World Policy Journal, the Virtue Foundation and the human rights organization Breakthrough He is also a Patron of the Dubai Modern High School and the managing trustee of the Chandran Tharoor Foundation which he founded with his family and friends in the name of his late father, Chandran Tharoor.Tharoor has written numerous books in English. Most of his literary creations are centred on Indian themes and they are markedly “Indo-nostalgic.” Perhaps his most famous work is The Great Indian vel, published in 1989, in which he uses the narrative and theme of the famous Indian epic Mahabharata to weave a satirical story of Indian life in a non-linear mode with the characters drawn from the Indian Independence Movement. His novel Show Business (1992) was made into the film Bollywood(1994). The late Ismail Merchant had announced his wish to make a film of Tharoor’s novel Riot shortly before Merchant’s death in 2005.Tharoor has been a highly-regarded columnist in each of Indias three best-known English-language newspapers, most recently for The Hindu newspaper (2001–2008) and in a weekly column, “Shashi on Sunday,” in the Times of India (January 2007 – December 2008). Following his resignation as Minister of State for External Affairs, he began a fortnightly column on foreign policy issues in the "Deccan Chronicle". Previously he was a columnist for the Gentleman magazine and the Indian Express newspaper, as well as a frequent contributor to Newsweek International and the International Herald Tribune. His Op-Eds and book reviews have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, amongst other papers.Tharoor began writing at the age of 6 and his first published story appeared in the “Bharat Jyoti”, the Sunday edition of the "Free press Journal", in Mumbai at age 10. His World War II adventure novel Operation Bellows, inspired by the Biggles books, was serialized in the Junior Statesman starting a week before his 11th birthday. Each of his books has been a best-seller in India. The Great Indian vel is currently in its 28th edition in India and his newest volume. The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cellphone has undergone seven hardback re-printings there.Tharoor has lectured widely on India, and is often quoted for his observations, including, "India is not, as people keep calling it, an underdeveloped country, but rather, in the context of its history and cultural heritage, a highly developed one in an advanced state of decay.". He has also coined a memorable comparison of Indias "thali" to the American "melting pot": "If America is a melting pot, then to me India is a thali--a selection of sumptuous dishes in different bowls. Each tastes different, and does not necessarily mix with the next, but they belong together on the same plate, and they complement each other in making the meal a satisfying repast."

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