Behind the mild smiling demeanor is a razor sharp mind. For Shashi Tharoor is just not another minister in the central cabinet.
Yes he is an accomplished writer, has studied at St. Xaviers in Kolkata and St. Stephens in Delhi, has earned 2 masters and a doctorate from Tufts University, Massachusetts, is an avid cricket fan having got his latest book launched by none other than Sachin Tendulkar last month, and so much more.
But he is a much taller person than maybe many of his colleagues in the corridors of power in New Delhi. But for US’ disinclination, Shashi Tharoor would have been the Secretary General at the United Nations instead of the incumbent Ban Ki-moon after Kofi Annan’s term expired in 2007.
That he is close to the Congress party was evident when he got that party’s nomination for the prestigious Trivandrum seat in the last elections. But given his high profile and international repute, it remains a mystery how he could agree to slip into a much smaller shoe of a minister of state.
The latest faux pas that Tharoor committed in his Twitter remarks is amusing, but he is clever enough to have pictures of his travelling in ‘cattle class’ shown on the TV immediately thereafter.
The matter may die down eventually but not without leaving him with a bitter taste. Shashi Tharoor ought to know what goes and what doesn’t in Indian polity.
As for the larger question of whether or not to use Twitter by prominent persona like him…well the field is wide open for answers. The point is there may be occasions when there will be slipups like the present one by Tharoor, and by sheer chance if any secret gets leaked completely inadvertently that may be a real danger.
To Tharoor’s defense it must be said that even US President Barack Obama twits, but then it is likely that each of his tweets is screened lest there be any mistake. Is there any similar setup in the Indian government? If not, then perhaps twitting may not be a good idea for Shashi Tharoor.
Which perhaps is why Nandan Nilekani abandoned Twitter after assuming the office of chairmanship of the Unique Identity Development Authority of India (UIDAI). Food for thought, if you may.