Thursday, April 22, 2010
Naturally, as a critic of the general workings of the Ministry of External Affairs, I couldn't help but be amused that it was finally a tweet by Lalit Modi that precipitated Tharoor's journey downhill.
My problem with Tharoor's new-age twittering self was that his tweets never amounted to anything more than self-promotion. For days I followed his twitter account hoping to find some genuine debate or discussion on it. Majority of his tweets were links to flattering media reports on himself and his activities, a commentary of his daily activities, and rather high-minded opinions on any and every subject that caught his attention during the day. Genuine debate requires dissenting opinion, which was curiously absent from his twitter profile. I refuse to believe that people were only sending him flattering messages. I, for one, sent him my critical views of how the High Commissions outside of India performed, or didn't perform. But it disappeared into a twittering black-hole. In contrast, Tharoor would promptly retweet the flattering messages. It is more likely that he simply chose to ignore the critical comments and keep-up his popularity myth rather that engage in debate . The tactics were those of a wily, old-world politician, only the medium was new.
Besides, in his short-lived tenure as deputy minister of external affairs, for all his erudition, Tharoor didn't actually make any radical policy or make us think of our international relations in any new, visionary way. Instead, he spent most his time building his persona. And the same middle class that laments that the poor fall for the superficial promises and saddle the country with bad politicians proved themselves to be twits by falling for Tharoor's surface smoothness.