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

Category:Politics- Current/International Affairs - Current/Internat Affairs
Publisher: Penguin India | ISBN: 9780143420187 | Pages: 544

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 the prize-winning author of ten books, both fiction and non-fiction, and a widely published critic, commentator and columnist (including for The Hindu, Times of India and Newsweek). In 2007 he concluded a nearly twenty-nine-year career with the United Nations, including working for refugees in South-East Asia at the peak of the boat people crisis, handling peace-keeping operations in the former Yugoslavia, and culminating as the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. In 2006 he was Indias candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as UN Secretary-General, and emerged a strong second out of seven contenders. Dr Tharoor earned his PhD at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at the age of twenty-two, and was named by the World Economic Forum in Davos in 1998 as a Global Leader of Tomorrow. He was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, Indias highest honour for overseas Indians. For more on Shashi Tharoor, please visit www.shashitharoor.com

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