Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect ScoopWhoop's view as a publication.
My social media presence makes me a source of attention in one way or another, which as a politician, is something you might want.
- Shashi Tharoor
Before you even start sniffing an ulterior agenda or political inclination, here's the original transcript of the interview where this statement IS from. You can read the full interview here .
So now that I am clear on my part, let's talk a bit about one of the most charismatic personalities of Indian politics, Mr Tharoor. But for once let's strip him of all the masks that he is so used to sporting and not let the real Shashi Tharoor slip by!
Let's forget for a moment that he is one of Indian National Congress' brightest and classiest political personalities. Let's also forget that he is a former Under Secretary General of the United Nations.
So what is left of this man?
You get an author of 14 best-selling books, 3 novels and a collection of short stories. You get a man who has also published a biography of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, 7 non-fiction works and 2 photo-diaries on the changing face of India. Mr Tharoor is also someone who used to write a weekly column 'India Reawakening' that was syndicated in 80 newspapers worldwide, before he jumped into politics in 2009.
But here's the fun fact: you only remember him for his 3.2 million followers on Twitter.
Why is that a person so enigmatic, a leader so influential, an orator so highly regarded, known mostly for his social media antics?
And most importantly, why does such a leader tweet something as delusional as this:
For those who are still trying to make two plus two of this article, it is highly recommended to scroll back to the excerpt from his past interview with which I started this write up. I state it again for your convenience:
"My social media presence makes me a source of attention in one way or another, which as a politician, is something you might want."
No, I don't mean any disrespect, nor do I mean to bring up your 'alleged' fall-out with Sonia Gandhi and most certainly not want to say a word on your controversial personal life which is falling apart faster than your party's fortunes.
Having said that, we most definitely need to talk about your recent tweet on the capital punishment handed out to the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts' prime convict, Yakub Memon, on social media. I bring this up because I have been in the social media business for a considerable amount of time and know the ramifications of a delusional comment/tweet/remark by a celebrity.
However, what pains the victims' families, responsible publications, your well wishers and even the common citizens of the country trying hard to keep their faith in the judiciary of India are the downrightly offensive and misleading comments from a person of your wisdom on such a sensitive matter.
It's in fact disturbing to imagine that it was only days before that you made brilliant points about India and won the imagination of the world at the Oxford Union debate . How could your sense of judgement skew so fast that neither you have a point nor any patriotism in your current argument asking to go soft on terrorists?
And going by your own admission in the past, if the underlying thought behind this tweet was to attract some form of attention, congratulations on that! You have attracted a lot of attention but lost a lot of credibility.
I should also mention that Mr Tharoor tried to clear his stance on the issue by tweeting this:
A social media veteran like him should have known that no amount of damage control in the form of follow up tweets can help an act as abhorring as shaming one's own government for eliminating the wrong doers of the country in the name of humanity.
What perplexes me sometimes is that as an individual much less accomplished, politically aware and influential, even I can see the logic in the hanging of a terrorist who brought pain and terror upon India and its citizens.
I just wonder what brand of thinking glasses are you putting on when you tweet out such statements.
I understand that it's Mr Tharoor's unchallengeable right to freely voice his opinions on social media. After all this is what social media stands for. However, there needs to be a certain level of self-scrutiny based on one's own capacity to influence and make an impression. Unfortunately, you made a really bad one.
Interestingly, it's not the first time he has crusaded against the capital punishment for terrorists. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had embarrassed his party in 2013 also when he took a similar stance for the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and termed it 'wrong' and 'badly handled'.
One fails to understand as to what Mr Tharoor intends to imply by 'bad' handling of terrorists.
However this time, Mr Tharoor should get a clear idea that the apple has fallen too far from the tree when his own party has totally cordoned him off and does not align itself with his opinions.
However, your well wishers still care for you and hence give you a word of caution: