On Campus

Politics and the internet with the younger Chidambaram

NATALIE GROVER SHAILI CONTRACTOR | Updated on March 24, 2013 Published on March 24, 2013

After a passionate display on Google Plus by host and Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, his son Karti explains it was Google that approached the Government for the ‘Budget Hangout’ that took place on March 4.

A man with a voracious appetite for social media, the younger Chidambaram has an online footprint etched across Twitter @KartiPC, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/karti.chidambaram and his own Web site at http://www.karti.in/index.aspx. He has previously collaborated with DMK MP Kanimozhi for the formation of “Karathu”, an online forum for public discourse espousing the cause of free speech and expression.

Despite this online persona, in November last year Karti filed a complaint against ‘offensive’ tweets by a small-time industrialist in Puducherry, resulting in his arrest under Section 66 (A) of the Information Technology Act. While he does endorse the benefits of having a multitude of information outlets available at our fingertips, Karti’s interest in online censorship remains robust, citing the “vitriol and venom that floats about unrestricted online.”

“There is no such thing as a perfect law,” he says, championing the legislation’s relevance, reiterating that social concern should be harnessed to discuss the misuse of freedom of expression rather than its alleged unfairness. Recently, a testimonial penned by his 12-year-old daughter for her grandfather’s budget speech became the podium for online animosity, where individuals “hiding behind the garb of anonymity” made hateful comments against the young girl.

In addition to unlicensed freedom online, he makes the point that once created, an online entity becomes forever accessible – a feat quite impossible in the print, TV or radio streams – all of which suffer through layers of review before publication.

“Everybody must wait their time in politics,” he says looking forward to a long innings by his father, when asked about his political agenda in comparison to his contemporaries Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot, both of whom are elected Members of Parliament. “This is the time to be vocal,” he says, and vocal he is. About the party’s future, “The Congress Party is very clear that its next leader is Rahul Gandhi, and I personally believe the party will prosper under his unifying leadership,” he adds, with regard to P. Chidamabaram’s possible Prime Ministerial candidature.

(Natalie and Shaili are students at the Asian College of Journalism.)

Published on March 24, 2013
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