Everyone is beginning to see the importance of Sunil Khilnani, who is the author of The Idea of India and is currently working on a new book, India in Search of Wealth and Power. Later this year, he will become director of the India Institute at King’s College, London. The buzz is that he is emerging as the new speech writer of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Impressed by his writings and columns, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul are supposed to tapping him for ideas. Khilani was working as director of South Asia studies with John Hopkins University, Washington before he picked the new job at King’s College, London.
The first sign that Khilnani is moving up the ladder is that Kapil Sibal-run Human Resources Development Ministry is very “excited” about “The India Institute” that Khilani is to head. Babus are talking about “instructions” from the top to make a hefty grant to Khilnani’s project.
Not only is Khilnani’s importance is heartburn for other pro-Nehru dynasty academics, even home-grown Gandhi family speech writer Jairam Ramesh is not too happy, say Congress sources.
Rahul Gandhi thinks Khilnani talks sense when he says, “The real question to ask is not whether NREGA is working or not, but: When are we going to address the causes which made NREGA necessary in the first place? There will be more crises and surprises ahead—and we’ll need to make better use of them, as we did in 1991 (when Narasimha Rao brought economic reforms).”