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Tharoor and his Twitter faux pas

Unfortunately for Shashi Tharoor, there’s no ministry of love affairs, otherwise he would have been its uncontested supremo. The junior minister for human resource development had earlier described Indian diplomacy as ‘lovemaking of elephants’, with a lot of sound and fury followed by years of silence. Clearly, in the age of Twitter, Tharoor needs to readjust his theories, well-meaning though they are, but perhaps a little slow on the uptake. While the extremely erudite author and stylishly glib minister is known for his linguistically-perfect 140-character haikus of tweets, his aggrieved and glamorous wife Sunanda Pushkar isn’t that bright on the grammatically correct side of the spectrum. Tharoor, of late, had only been posting rather staid tweets about the unthreatening local developments in his Lok Sabha constituency Thiruvananthapuram, but he has been adroit at using the social networking site’s direct messaging service to vent out his charms to a Lahore-based Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar. Now, in the age of rampant and easy online snooping, intercepting personal messages is hardly a big deal, and Pushkar clearly isn’t someone to watch a love affair, even if virtual, from the sidelines of cyberspace.

It is ironical that the Pushkar-Tharoor made-for-tabloids saga – that rocked the Indian public sphere three years back when the minister and his then girlfriend were accused of floating an IPL team that involved giving sweat equities for her companies – has taken this unexpected turn. While one’s private life is really nobody’s business, Tharoor has ended up paying the price of occupying a plum government post particularly in the eye of the upcoming general elections. That the philandering minister’s private romantic messages have become a national security concern, thanks to a hysterical wife who considers the undoubtedly beautiful Tarar an ISI agent, is deeply regrettable. It seems Tharoor is still stuck in an old-fashioned mode of romantic pursuits through flourishes of language, but we are now in the age of Google and Facebook, where every word ever posted online can become a target of prying eyes. Until now the darlings of Delhi’s sociopolitical elite, Tharoor and Pushkar might end up losing their coveted place in the capital’s highest echelons, with the minister clearly also having gambled with his future as a Congressman.
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