MP Shashi Tharoor, who is right now in the race for Congress party president post, interacted with students of IIT Madras on Thursday. He had a fireside chat with Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (Alumni and Corporate Relations), IIT Madras.
IIT Madras’ The Office of Institutional Advancement (OIA) in association with IAR Student Council and with Extra Mural Lectures as its outreach partner organized this event as part of the Leadership Lecture Series.
Speaking on the occasion, Shashi Tharoor said, “The great strengths of IITs are preparing the young students of today for the opportunities of tomorrow. I was speaking with the Director of IIT Madras Prof V Kamakoti who briefed me on Data Sciences and AI courses offered by the Institute that are open to students outside the Institute. We are producing an entire generation of students trained in AI and Data.”
Responding to a question from Prof Mahesh Panchagnula on United Nations and its powers, Shri Shashi Tharoor said, “The UN as a body, first of all, is a forum of member states. It has no powers apart from what the member states are willing to delegate. The UN can do a lot of things when the key National Governments agree and it cannot do a lot of things when the key National Governments do not agree. Within that, the UN has been able to do so much.”
Responding to a question on his entry to politics after returning from the UN, Shri Shashi Tharoor added, “I was always interested in politics in its capacity to impact lives. Fighting my first election was challenging but having done it and winning by a considerable margin, it was an absolutely a remarkable opportunity. The win allowed me to earn my entry to politics.”
On students shying away from politics, Shashi Tharoor said, “You (students) may not be interested in politics but politics is interested in you because politicians are taking decisions that affect you (students). Every crucial opportunity in your life that is coming to you or not coming to you is because of a decision taken by politicians. You may not be interested in the process but you should be interested in the outcome because it impacts your life in every way.”
Mr. Kaviraj Nair, CEO of Office of Institutional Advancement, IIT Madras, opined that interactions with lawmakers like Shashi Tharoor will help the students develop a comprehensive perspective on the dynamic interplay between technology and society
Besides being a successful politician, Shashi Tharoor is a world renowned author. He was the United Nations Under Secretary for communications and public information. While being awarded with Sahitya Akademi Award, Commonwealth writers’ prize, Global Leader of Tomorrow (World Economic Forum) and 18 other distinguished awards, he also served as the Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development and Ministry of External Affairs.