The pleasures of literature, after all, outweigh the joys of journalism.

I enjoyed the witty writing of Shivam Vij (5 books Shashi Tharoor must write after Congress loses 2019), even though I don’t share his premise. No, Congress will not lose in 2019 and I, therefore, don’t expect to have the time to write any new books, let alone five. Still, his ideas are intriguing and deserve to be taken seriously.

After all, what better can a writer ask for than a wish-list from a reader?

The first book Vij suggests I write is Why I Am A Congressman. That’s one I’m happy to do, except it would make for a very short book. In fact, I’ve already written it as an article – What Congress stands for – that I’d urge everyone to read. The fact is, I did have a choice as to what party I should join, and I made up my mind based on what each party that had approached me stands for. I think the Congress party’s values explain why I belong to it.


Also read: 5 books Shashi Tharoor must write after Congress loses 2019


Next, Vij wants me to profile The Paradoxical Congress President. Again, I’ve beaten him to it, and again, it didn’t take a whole book to do. These words were written in 2015, but they don’t require a whole lot of updating three years later: Rahul the Birthday Boy Lights Congress Candles.

Vij then turns more solemn in asking for India: From Manusmriti To Caste Politics. The vexed issue of caste is indeed a topic that needs to be dealt with, and I have done so in not one but three books, devoting a section in each of them to the issue of caste in Indian society. I’d urge Shivam Vij to look at three different chapters of three different books – India From Midnight to the Millennium, An Era of Darkness and Why I Am a Hindu – if he wants to get a good idea of how I feel about caste.

His next idea is for Inglorious Growth, a book about unemployment in India. Sad truth: It’s an important issue, but it won’t be read. We need to tackle it, however; that’s what governments are for, not just authors.

Finally, he recommends I write Communications Shastra, leveraging my past experience as a UN communicator to “reflect on how the party could fix its communication gap with voters”. Again, I’d quarrel with his premise: I’m not sure there is such a gap. No doubt the forthcoming election results in five states will show us whether he’s right, or I am.

But while we’re about it, how about turning this delightful exercise around, and challenging Shivam Vij and other excellent journalists like him to write five updated books instead, ideally before the BJP loses the 2019 elections, and they become out of date again?


Also read: State elections are bad news for BJP and not good news for Congress either


Here are my suggestions [original authors in brackets]:

Pride and Prejudice [Jane Austen]An analysis of the toxic combination of militaristic jingoism and communal bigotry that animates India’s ruling party, the BJP;

Great Expectations [Charles Dickens]: A description of the false hopes of “achhe din” raised by the soaring rhetoric and eloquent promises of the dream-merchant who talked his way into becoming the Prime Minister;

Money for Nothing [P.G. Wodehouse]: A bestselling romp through the Great Demonetisation Disaster, which deprived honest Indians of their own savings, cost daily-wage workers their earnings, closed small and micro enterprises and set the economy back by 1.5 per cent of GDP, all for – nothing;

Fear of Flying [Erica Jong]: A mystery thriller about how the government of India took a deal to buy 126 Rafale aircraft at Rs 540 crore each and assemble them at Hindustan Aeronautics, and converted it into a scam to buy 36 aircraft at three times the price, fully made in France in fly-away condition, with an offset deal to favour a travel companion of the PM’s and no work for HAL; and

The Grapes of Wrath [John Steinbeck]: How the despair and anger of India’s impoverished farmers and peasants can turn from tragic suicides to electoral wrath against the callous government that has reduced them to this condition.


Also read: Five reasons why Modi-Shah’s ‘politics of fear’ is not a good strategy for 2019


The pleasures of literature, after all, outweigh the joys of journalism. What better than to combine them? Perhaps Shivam Vij will rise to the task!

Dr Shashi Tharoor is a Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram and former MoS for External Affairs and HRD. He served the UN as an administrator and peacekeeper for three decades. He studied History at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University and International Relations at Tufts University. Tharoor has authored 18 books, both fiction and non-fiction; his most recent book is The Paradoxical Prime Minister. Follow him on Twitter @ShashiTharoor.

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22 COMMENTS

    • He is not a doctor– until and unless you are referring him to be doctor of Doctoring his wife’s murderer.
      THIS CONGRESS Raccoon murdered his wife and is slithering his tongue like a saint-Snake!
      Shame on him and the party he belongs to.

      • Ha, ha the green-eyed monster is most certainly peering out of your response. The ones who make such false allegations are actually the ones who harbor fantasies of committing such crimes!

  1. I really, really hope Mr. Shankar Vij reads this article. Such a Renaissance of the classics to answer to the problems of contemporary India would be worthwhile indeed…

  2. Early on in the column, Dr Tharoor says he will have no time to be writing books from 2019 onwards. That rests on two assumptions : The Congress will come to power and he will be sworn in as a Minister of the Union.

  3. Congress fraud mubir party if east India. Where did all Mughal vanished overnight ??.. no they didnt .. they form Pakistan n congress . Chor congress fooling Hindus since ages .

  4. As usual Tharoor delights. The relevance of the titles of the classics to our political situation has been very well brought out. We need more such educated people in public life. We need to get away from this wrong trend of hailing uneducated ,chauvinistic boors as our leaders. Our Nation deserves better.

  5. The one intelligent and well read man in the Congress. Yes the joys of literature are far greater than sensationalism of journalism. Dr. Tharoor, is so suave is putting across his points through this article. Though personally I am not in the least interested in the Congress after their bests like PVN and Mrs Indira Gandhi are long gone, Dr.Shashi Tharoor, one must admit is a treat to read definitely in articles than in books perhaps!

  6. Rahul Gandhi Ji please discard Sasi Tharoor or else you will be discarded for sure. Could you ask him to contest in the same assembly in his previous one ? He wouldn’t dare because thousands of ladies and Sabarimala devotees are waiting for him in his previous constituency.

  7. Well said.But you are too optimistic.The entire Indian media not just DD is busy promoting just one party and one man so much so Arun Jaitely is in self congratulatory mode that in poll bound States no one has even heard about Rafale.As far as all those who fled after looting banks it was all UPA loans.Reg. Institutional crisis they were there all along since Nehru’s time and so only BJP/Modi alone can save and keep the country united.So be ready for another stint of RAM rajya.

  8. “A book Shashi Tharoor thinks a common man should read before BJP loses/ wins 2019” should have been the title of the piece and he should address the reader and not the journalists alone. Are you writing for your own sake? I wanted to read your book but …

  9. Shashi Tharoor is dreaming only ;Modi ji going to be PM of India again in 2019 and he is going to do much bigger tasks to take India Forward .Rahul Gandhi party has ruled for more than 60 years and yet could not do much – even toilets they could not provide to every house,even in schools .The poverty ,the unemployment,corruption … which he keeps on talking is on account of Nehru Gandhi rule only .In 1947 China was much behind India , people used to call chinese as opium addicts ,poverty was too much …And look today China is much ahead in Industry,Science and Technology,Sports ,….Why ? Nehru Gandhi’s misrule …Now Indians know them very well and will keep them away .

  10. This guy is a paradox… Keeps changing as per need… Khangress does not have anything to talk other than the failure five years of Modi… They never seem to remember all the money D Raja, Kalmadi, P Chidambaram, Mr Vadra took home and are still living lavish… They want come back to power to earn more…they dont have any thoughts about India and its development.. Rahul Gandhi suddenly becomes Shivbhakt with gotra to his credit…all they talk is Rafale and demon…has a single bomb blast hpnd in any single city in India… And remember every train blast and the 26/11 bomb blasts orchestrated by the ruling party then…

  11. Why is khangress not talking about development plans for India… Because they dont have any… They are uncouth enough to drag Modi’s parents into it.. All seem to have only got money with no basic decency… What about the scores of bomb blasts and the perennial pak issues when Khangress was in power… PAK has understood what wl be its condition if they play with Modi…

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