Twitter, Shashi Tharoor and Cattle Class

It all started with this innocuous exchange between Kanchan Gupta, a prominent columnist who writes for the Pioneer, and Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs, an avid Twitter user and the current media blue-eyed boy (my wife’s expression).


One tweet and from a media darling he has become a pariah, and this was bound to happen, and I wonder why he, or anybody else for that matter, never saw it coming (I’ll explain later). And the most appalling aspect of all this is, "cattle class" wasn’t even his expression, he was simply replying to Kanchan Gupta’s tweet: it was a simple exchange between two individuals that was blown out of proportion by the media as well as politicians. Go through various online links of newspapers and TV channels and nobody mentions even once that the expression did not originate from him.

Of course this could be because of the fact that unless you use some extra Twitter tools or a JavaScript addon you cannot see the tweet he had replied to. But before jumping the gun, at least the media dudes should have checked the entire chain of the tweet exchange.

About cattle class, 60 years of Congress governance has made sure that a majority of Indian citizens live like cattle. May be the expression touches a sore spot. May be the party has a ghost of a conscience by a freak chance.

Anyway, back to why they should have seen it coming. The days of individual politicians have gone. Most political parties in India thrive on the halos created around particular families and individuals, and all other members have to operate from under their shadow. Just look what happened to Jaswant Singh. After writing the book, he became an individual and moved outside of the shadow.

Similarly, the Congress party workers have to work within the shadow boundary of the Gandhi family. By using Twitter, by articulating his thoughts, by directly interacting with the common folks Tharoor is building his own mass base — people have begun to adore him and perhaps in the process, have begun to neglect the other blue-eyed boy, Rahul G. Now how can this be tolerated in a party where sycophancy is religion and the 3 Gandhis at the helm are no less than gods?

So in the guise of austerity and an abstract tweet, he is being targeted by his own party men and women, and soon they will be competing with each other just to show how loyal they are to the real blue-eyed trinity.

According to his latest tweets Shashi Tharoor has apologized, and in a country where words and rhetoric matter more than reality, he has done the right thing. Ours is a strange country. Speak truth and people will lunge at your throat; feed them with pleasant lies and they will fall on your feet.

35 thoughts on “Twitter, Shashi Tharoor and Cattle Class

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  3. Choomma Raghavan

    This is just like the time when Kerala CM VS was asked by media to respond to the martyed Spg jawan’s father’s comment,”How would you respond to the father saying he didnot want any dogs visiting his home? ” and poor VS replied that ” IF his son were not a SPG jawan no dogs would have been visiting him.”
    Much ado over nothing

    1. ragesh

      man! don compare the kerala cm with sasi tharoor. the cm of 100% literate kerala studied up to 3rd standard only. but sasi tharoor is a person having qualities. check his resume man!

  4. Rohan K

    As an Indo-Canadian, I’ve been watching the debacle that has been going on with Tharoor.
    All I have to say is a man of his class, integrity and eloquence deserves better from his fellow politicians and Indians. It is apparent that his colleagues have an inferiority complex. Instead of appreciating his background as one of the top diplomats of the UN and his vast experience in world diplomatic affairs, you treat him like an ordinary Indian. He is an extra ordinary man, in an otherwise ordinary country. It would do the country good if people of his caliber were allowed to be politicians and shared that uncanny sense of humor.
    And for heaven’s sake, Indians show some class, if your external affairs minister doesn’t travel by business or first class then who will? Do you want to enter the world forum with respect or be treated as a third world nation as so many already perceive you to be. Don’t fool yourselves the racial attacks in Australia are direct repercussions on how the world perceives you (India). Don’t you think you should improve the image of India? It is in point of fact one of the cradles of civilization, yet how often do you Indians reflect it to be?
    Right now you all aren’t doing a very good job of it.
    Last of all it seems Indians have a double standard on Democracy and this is not healthy for the nation as a whole. If Tharoor spent his own money on staying at hotels for 2-3 months at a time, who are you to judge him? Just because he is a politician doesn’t give the public the right to dictate terms on what is and what isn’t acceptable with his own money. As a North American, I’m appalled to see the press not upholding the highest principals of freedom and democracy. Politicians are as much human beings as everyone else and the same standards of democracy and freedom apply to them as well. It would do some good for politicians to learn a thing or two from Tharoor, it might make the nation wiser as a whole.
    You talk of austerity? Yet India has some of the most corrupt politicians in the world with Swiss/ Cayman Island bank accounts in the tens if not hundreds and thousands. Why not expose the true charlatans instead of picking on a fine man like Tharoor for staying in a hotel using his own funds.
    Give the guy a break! He is one of the few individuals that makes India look good in public forums. If you lose him it will be a great loss as a whole to the nation.
    Will you get a sense of humor? Or is it going to be the same old slanderous talk to win cheap political points.
    Remember this, what the world perceives you to be is what you are. So it’s time to change perception!
    It’s time to take action.

    1. m

      you call yourself north american so stop commenting on how we in india should behave, just dont come running back to your mother india if somebody kicks your ass.

      1. Rohan K

        Judging by the comment that you have made in regards to what i have said, It’s obvious you are someone that lacks intellect or intelligence, Id suggest reading and analyzing what i have mentioned instead of flapping your gums like a brat.

  5. ragesh

    my supports to sashi tharoor. he never meant an insult we all know that. those who are attacking it is simply trying to exploit the people’s sentiments to get them in their way. And finally, its the act of a person, not his words that counts. he & manmohan singh acc. to me are the only people who are qualified to sit as a ministers. others who praises the people to get them in to their hearts must remember one thing. people no more believes in fake words. they want right actions. I trust tharoor in that terms.

  6. Rohan K

    See in the way this event tookplace, it automatically exposed the charlatans pretending to be austere. I see that as the good aspect of this fiasco.

    Our PM Manmohan Singh, Tharoor, P.Chidambram are the only people that deserve to be ministers i quite agree with Ragesh. All 3 are great men in their own right and haven’t gotten involved in this movement, which is more than i can say about Sonia Ghandi and Rahul and the countless other ministers pretending to be “Austere” to win cheap political points.

  7. veena prakash,muscat

    i support Mr.Shashi Tharoor,because he highly educated,cultured and deplomatic person in the parliment,so others are jealous of him.that is why they all are behaving like this. everyones knows that shashi tharoor is a educated person and won’t behave that way.

  8. jiji

    Dear Minister,

    Please don`t spend your time for controversy.

    Dream a better India and work for that.

    Thanking you


  9. ravi shaw

    yeah its a matter of grave concern 4 those who are the actual swindlers in the political arena…hats off to mr. tharoor who has shown true mettle as a minister and came to forefront to unveil the hypocrisy of some politicians……

  10. Rabi Kanungo

    Shashi Tharoor is absolutely right to describe hypocrisy of Indian political class who are used to live in islands of pleasure amid gross poverty of people. Had Tharoor been a little shrewd and absurd he would have easily said “Aam Admi” than the words he used. Didn’t he observe foolishness of Indians who got swayed in election through this usual ‘complimentary’ word?

    1. Ranjit Dey

      Over all Ravi ji has said the ultimate = Aam Aadmi in place of Cattle Class – different words having same internal meaning.

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  12. George

    I am from Kerala and I am totally convinced you can bring our state to an international level. TPresently too much corruption and goondasayam.

    May God bless you.

  13. vinod paul

    well done mr minister india needs people like you, tweet frankly like you always do we appreciate and take it in the right spirit.You stand tall among the khadi clad crooks whom we have to address as mantriji youdont have to appologise if some idiots cant understand simple english vip

  14. vijaya krishnan padoor

    hello sashi,enthokkeyundu ,vishamikkaruthu,ithanu indian politics,thangal vicharikkunnathu poleyalla,indiragandhi oru electionil thottu, ennittu nalla shakthiyode thirichu vannu ,athu pole ningalum varumennu vicharikkunnu

  15. ClubPenguinCheats

    Had Tharoor been a little shrewd and absurd he would have easily said “Aam Admi” than the words he used. Didn’t he observe foolishness of Indians who got swayed in election through this usual ‘complimentary’ word?

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  17. jayesh

    this is your duty as a minister to raise issue of public not to make any comment of present situation,why are you not try to improve this situation.

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  19. vinod paul

    one more has joined the club mr jayram one day preety soon india willhave, abunch of sychophants. Is there a way out how many more , generations have to bear these third rate politicians mr tharoor we look forward to you to boldly tweet and appriase the public murky indian politics

  20. Inder Kataria

    Hey fellow Indians, dont give much important to shashi irrepect of his post or qualification, when u anwer every barking dog, then india become more worst than now, already indian billions ppl who earning less than dollar a day, what wll do these all bunch of jocker politician and he is one of them, just old wine with new label, so ignore him guys, once u start this i m sure this man will stop writing twittes, just one goal in his mind he need to b popular n shortest time, and shortcut always danger, any way use his commets just disposal cup of tea , drink and throw… but so called followers if u dont loke this, i m sorry my sympathy with u….

  21. Anil

    I am sury you will raise like a phoenix bird from the dirty political ashes created by the introvert and inferiority driven co-polical leaders. Good luck

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