Thursday, September 17, 2009

Let's face It... Twitter IS elitist English in India. Tharoor's Achille's Heel...

As per stats available, India has the third largest number of twitterers in the world. At 7 % of all twitter users, which is stated to be 7 million in February 2009, this works out to 0.49 million.

In a nation that has a total of 80 million internet users. And a media savvy population of at least 400 million. With a popn of over one billion.

Although intended as 'a service for friends, family and co-workers', it has become a social networking place. Cool so far. Thing is, in a nation where a mere 40 million are supposed to be speaking English fluently, twitter by its very nature - i.e. the need to communicate skillfully in 140 characters - is elitist... it is the more comfy in Angrezi variety of folks who tweet regularly.
Must be the top skimmed 0.49 million of the 40 million Angrezi bolne wale, I am guessing.

The ones who know when to use 'myself' (Those saying 'Myself Ravi' or 'Myself Sunita' ko cold shoulder dene wale), or when to use 'was' versus 'were'... as per '5 grammer mistakes that make you sound like a chimp'
'If I were rich, I would buy lots n lots of pants' versus 'If I was rich' ke nuances samajhne waale.

What this means is that folks like Shashi Tharoor 'joke' for this skimmed audience, and of course it is but natural, that we tweeple are now taking up cudgels on his behalf.

And THAT makes me uncomfortable.

Just because you are MoS in External Affairs, does not mean that you do not think of the wider ramifications of an audience (by far, higher than 0.49 million angrezi jokes samajhne waale) who can all hear you now quoted in context or out - and misconstrue you.

I can already imagine the way the Shashi Tharoor tweet 'Absolutely. In cattle class in solidarity with all our holy cows' would have been gleefully picked up and translated by now across the vernacular press and media - who we all KNOW - are waiting for juicy cud to chew over.

This is what in Hindi would make one ask of the 'careless whispers' of the hon minister : 'Akkal kya ghaas charane bhej diya?'

Diplomacy is a word that has recently become a must-have for celebrity-hood. Ever since the world has enabled a 24x7 spotlight.

Else, the earliest & widest use of this word was via that word 'Diplomats' - those suave IFS types who we all know - strived to steer clear of all controversy at all times.

And here we have an MoS of the very same biradari... who does not think things through... and expects all to behave like 0.49 million bhaasha experts. It is like filmstars judging everyone out there as a 'fan' via the ones who send in fanmail personally to them.

We may debate it till the cows come home, pur bheedu, duniyadari isi ka naam hai.

He is lucky Congress is merely 'annoyed'...
at this 'mad cow disease' of 'foot in the mouth'.

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