Wanna be a writer? Join the Foreign Legion

Shashi Tharoor on the connection between diplomacy and writing:

“My friend and former United Nations colleague Jayantha Dhanapala…argues that the professional diplomat, like the sensitive writer, has to be able to mix with both elites and masses; be firmly rooted in his own culture while open to the experience of others; have inner resources to fall back upon in coping with the isolation of a foreign posting (what Auden called ‘this nightmare of public solitude’).”

Tharoor cites the obvious successes–Paz, who was a great diplomat as well as a great poet, Neruda, who was a great poet and let’s not discuss his diplomatic skills, and Ivo Andric. He is (diplomatically) silent on the small but determined band of Indian diplomats who produce poetry and prose of a quality that would cause not just riots, but complete regime changes, if you made it compulsory reading for citizens.

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