Shashi Tharoor speaks at the event | Photo: Mathrubhumi
New Delhi: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday said the challenge to build "brand India" continues because it is world's perception about the country that matters, not what "we are trying to sell about ourselves".
Delivering the 100th lecture in the series held as part of the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters, he said India witnessed rapid economic growth post liberalisation in the 90s and emerged as the world's fastest growing economy.
“Now the whole issue of our magnificent diversity and how the world perceives it with the current political environments in our country raises the question,” he said, adding the "challenge to building brand India continues".
“The essential fact remains that what really matters is not the image but the reality. What really matters is not what we are trying to sell about ourselves but what people think of us, (and) whether we want them to think that way or not,” he added.
The Thiruvananthapuram MP also talked about the challenges and opportunities that Kerala faces.
"There are a number of economic and political challenges that we in the state must address for its progress," he said.
Listing some of the “critical issues” that Kerala faces, Tharoor said “a high rate of unemployment” in the state is something that “truly” worries him most and the issue needs to be addressed.
Kerala has been marked as the worst performing state in the ease of doing business, Tharoor said, referring to a NITI Aayog survey.
The Congress leader noted that Kerala has undergone “remarkable transformations” over the years with land reforms as well as free and universal education.
“When some have chosen to see our diversity as a source of threat and assert a majoritarian view of what India is all about, the defiant Kerala's answer is that we are all one,” he said.
“That I think is so vital and strong brand of Kerala, qualities that the state can build upon,” he added.