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Minister a-Twitter

July 12, 2009

Much has been made out of Shashi Tharoor’s Twittering habit. Today, my Dad asked me about Twitter, having heard of numerous references to it in the Indian media, which is over-reacting to Tharoor’s narration of personal viewpoints and observation in a public forum. Most of the arguments put forth have dealt with the technical conflict of interest between revealing details/itinerary on Twitter vs the confidential nature of Tharoor’s work as the Minister of External Affairs, which is a fair question to raise, but even so, there’s a germ of a doubt that rises in my mind.

Perhaps, it is not just the Luddite-tendency among the so very old political crowd in Delhi; one has to wonder, with such accessibility to the world of politics through Tharoor’s words, are the old-world politicians afraid of losing their sense of exclusivity? How very demeaning, that a politician be SO easily approachable by the aam aadmi? No VIP barriers, no red-tape? Now that the hitherto-impervious world of Indian politics is seemingly approachable to the tech-savvy youth, through Tharoor’s humorous anecdotes on colleagues and jibes on bureaucracy, are ministers now insecure about the inspiration it might cause to newbies who might not have otherwise thought of politics and now will be attracted to this decidedly-cooler arena, now that Tharoor’s in it?

Well, one can only hope that little steps such as this and more effective use of technology help demystify the world of politics in a country where the educated elite prefer to keep an arms-length distance from public policy!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2009 2:44 pm

    frankly, twitter does not make tharoor any more ‘reachable’, for, and sensitive tweets to him, won’t fetch replies. even so, the fact that it creates an illusion of a politician who we can ‘follow’ closely and tweet to at-ease, does do tharoor some good. twitter doesn’t make him any better (or worse) than what he is for his constituency\country, however, it creates an impression. and in today’s media driven world, maybe impressions do go a fair bit of the distance.

    btw, twitter\neo_indian led me here.

    • July 21, 2009 10:04 pm

      An Indian minister who can speak to people at large on a tech platform most people his age don’t get – that’s unusual accessibility as far as I am concerned. I’m realistic in my expectations that at the end of the day, he’s still a politician & will still take only those questions that he is likely to get some mileage from. Even if it is merely an illusion, the fact that he makes entering politics in India a tad cooler cannot be denied!

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