Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is known for more than just being a Member of Parliament, he is a Twitter sensation. His extensive use of vocabulary often manages to end up is memes which usually tops Twitter trends.
But being one of the most prominent leaders who is very visibly in the public eye from his social media account, Tharoor’s mistakes on the platform also don’t go unnoticed.
In a recent tweet, Tharoor posted a picture of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and Indira Gandhi at a public rally.
He captioned the photo, “Nehru & India Gandhi in the US in 1954. Look at the hugely enthusiastic spontaneous turnout of the American public, without any special PR campaign, NRI crowd management or hyped-up media publicity.”
Shashi Tharoor was trying to take a dig at the humongous success of ‘Howdy Modi’ event.
After Tharoor misspelled ‘Indira’ as ‘India,’ several Twitter users pointed it out and ‘India Gandhi’ soon became a trending hashtag on the platform.
But that wasn’t the only thing wrong with the photo. He also apparently got the place wrong. Instead of US, the photo was actually captured in Moscow, in a different year from the one Tharoor mentioned.
After getting trolled for his goof up, Shashi Tharoor has given a ‘clarification’ by Twitter, he explained that the picture was forwarded to him, and accepted the place may be different, but explained that his message still remained the same.
“It still doesn’t alter the message: the fact is that former PMs also enjoyed popularity abroad.”
Tharoor wanted to down play Modi’s popularity but ended up being trolled. The picture he shared not only got the time and place wrong but the presence of Indira Gandhi in the picture is raising many questions and has sparked a debate.
The KGB papers says – ‘It seemed like the entire country was for sale’
And it all started in 1953.
The KGB’s first contact with Indira Gandhi had occurred during her first visit to the Soviet Union a few months after Stalin’s death in 1953.
As well as keeping her under continuous surveillance, the Second Chief Directorate also surrounded her with handsome, attentive male admirers. Unaware of the orchestration of her welcome by the KGB, Indira was overwhelmed by the attentions lavished on her.
Though she did not mention the male admirers in letters to her father, she wrote to him, “Everybody, the Russians, have been so sweet to me… I am being treated like everybody’s only daughter. I shall be horribly spoilt by the time I leave. Nobody has ever been so nice to me.” Indira wrote of a holiday arranged for her on the Black Sea, “I don’t think I have had such a holiday for years.”
Later in Leningrad, she told Nehru that she was “wallowing in luxury”. Two years later Indira accompanied her father on his first official visit to the Soviet Union.
The picture comes from that visit.
Like Nehru, she was visibly impressed by the apparent successes of Soviet planning and economic modernization exhibited to them in carefully stage-managed visits to Russian factories.
During her trip, Khrushchev presented her with a mink coat which became one of the favourite items in her wardrobe. despite the fact that a few years earlier she had criticized the female Indian ambassador in Moscow for accepting a similar gift.
Soviet attempts to cultivate Indira Gandhi during the 1950s were motivated far more by the desire to influence her father than by any awareness of her own political potential.
Like both the Congress Syndicate and the CPI, Moscow still underestimated her when she became Prime Minister.
During the 1967 election campaign, the KGB also funded the campaigns of several agents and confidential contacts within Congress. The most senior agent identified in the files noted by Mitrokhin was a minister codenamed ABAD, who was regarded by the KGB as “extremely influential”.
The revelations about how the Russians allegedly consolidated their spying network in India, especially under Indira Gandhi, are apparently based on files amounting to 25,000 pages brought out by Vasili Nikitch Mitrokhin, a senior KGB archivist, when he defected to Britain in 1992.
All the ghosts of the past now came haunting just because Tharoor tried to degrade PM Modi’s popularity. A famous Kannada proverb translates as,
“never wish bad for other people, when you fall remember it is you who will be the laughing stock”.
Dr Sindhu Prashanth