Sunanda Tharoor: Did Twitter kill Sunanda Pushkar?

A surprising villain has come up in the Sunanda Pushkar saga. Apparently it is Twitter that killed her. “Murder by Twitter” “Live by Twitter, don’t die by it” it seems. That would make sense if the accusation was that Mehr Tarar used Twitter to add insult to injury, but apparently it was Sunanda Tharoor’s use of Twitter that was villain in her own murder.

In other words, a variation of the age old “she brought it on herself” by journalists who would normally object to the use of this reasoning while objecting to it is in vogue. But is it Twitter that failed Sunanda? These are some of the things Sunanda Tharoor seems to have said in the days before her death.

Messages of the sort allegedly sent by Mehr Tarar to Shashi Tharoor:

@mehrtarar I love you, Shashi Tharoor. And I go while in love with you, irrevocably, irreversibly, hamesha. Bleeding, but always your Mehr,

Shashi. I’m not crying any more. I’m not falling to pieces. I’m more lucid than ever. How little I knew you became visible to me.@mehrtarar

You unfollowed me. You don’t RT me and you don’t answer me on twitter. I can live with your favourites. I have your personal validation have your personal validation of my words, I don’t need any public one. For that I will wait until we are together publically really mehr

These are not exactly messages of an interviewer or even a friend. Sunanda Pushkar seemed convinced that Mehr Tarar was chasing Shashi Tharoor while she was suffering ill health and Shashi Tharoor was tempted (if not already having a “rip roaring affair”). The interview with Indian Express is explosive. A quote:

“I completely stand by my tweets, I 100 per cent stand by that,” Sunanda Tharoor later told The Indian Express. “That woman pursued and pursued him…men are stupid anyways…for all you know she is a Pakistani agent. Where’s love, where’s loyalty in this world…I am so distraught.” Sunanda Tharoor said she felt “destroyed as a wife and a woman” over her husband’s “rip-roaring affair” with the Pakistani journalist which she claimed had been going on since April last year. Sunanda Tharoor also claimed there have been a series of Blackberry Messenger exchanges between her husband and the Pakistani journalist in which, among other things, the possibilities of his divorce with her have also been discussed.

It may be possible that there was no affair between Mehr Tarar and Shashi Tharoor. Mehr Tarar claims that she met Shashi Tharoor twice, once in April for the interview and once in June in Dubai and they stayed in touch. It is also true that many people use affectionate language more easily than others, but “I go while in love with you, irrevocably, irreversibly, hamesha. Bleeding, but always your Mehr” is stretching that one.

Mehr Tarar claimed that Sunanda Tharoor had put her life in danger and threatened a defamation suit. Media reports she denied having an affair with Shashi Tharoor, though there are no direct quotes. On the other hand, she has not denied that the messages posted as sent by her are false. Media apparently did not think it interesting to ask her if she denies sending these messages. Nor did the endangered Mehr Tarar see the need to end the danger by claiming that she had sent no such messages to an Indian minister.

There is no question of why someone would send messages like that to a public figure and risk her life if they were to be found, and further goad an already suspicious wife and increase the risk that they could be made public.

Media, has gone in damage control mode with an “intimate” email from Mehr Tarar to Shashi Tharoor in June “leaked” (we saw a lot of very convenient leaky emails in the Tarun Tejpal rape episode too) where she is “understanding” about the difficulties he faces with his wife and talks about how suspicion will see wrong in relationships between man and woman.


Mehr Tarar's sly tweet about Sunanda Tharoor seems far from the limited relationship with Shashi Tharoor that she claims
Mehr Tarar’s sly tweet about Sunanda Tharoor and discussion with prominent Congress handle about what is obviously a sneer at a Congress politician’s wife seems far from the limited relationship with Shashi Tharoor that she claims

This does not explain the BBM messages, nor is this understanding in evidence in her interactions with her “friend’s wife” who “misunderstands” her relationship with him – given the content of the messages, there seems little room to misunderstand. This sly tweet doesn’t seem to be speaking like someone who understands that the subject is “loved” by her “friend” who is “happy” with her.

Nor does this response to Sunanda Tharoor’s tweets sound like she has the least interested in her supposed friend’s marriage not suffering from a misunderstanding over her, regardless of her halo in media.

The blonde’s aqal is weaker thn her grammar & spellings.From an ‘affair’ it has become ‘stalking’..make up yr mind, darlin’.Which one is it?

Neither sound like a professional journalist covering politics speaking of a interview subject and foreign politician’s wife. They are bitchy and they are personal. Media does not seem to have seen fit to question this either, though there is an abundance of damage control quotes.

Again, Mehr Tarar may merely be a groupie with serious immaturity issues, but that is most certainly not Sunanda Tharoor’s hallucination and no one bothered to ask Mehr Tarar any uncomfortable questions. It is almost as if media expected she would give a sound byte saying “Yes, I am in love with Shashi Tharoor” or “Yes, I am an ISI agent” if it were true. And it is a private matter otherwise. I mean why get in the way of Aman ki Asha?

There seem to be several journalists who think it is social media that did Sunanda Tharoor in, even though the problem broke on Twitter, but happened in private messages and emails. No clear logic is provided and to me, the only explanation seems to be that the problem was the scandal, and not what Sunanda Tharoor went through. Media at its khap panchayat best. That halo is sure easy to adjust depending on who the subject of the “hot news” is.

I don’t doubt that social media can do people in. God knows there are enough episodes of internet bullying that lead to suicides. But is that correct in this case, or is it media’s guilt over being on the wrong side of Sunanda Tharoor, till Sunanda Pushkar committed suicide and all of a sudden they know her by the maiden name she used before marrying Tharoor and are raiding Mehr Tarar’s Facebook photos (I presume – she gave permission at added grave risk to herself) to publish “who is this woman” type articles?

Sunanda Tharoor was viewed as a tamasha when she was making revelations that devastated her. She was sent off to page 3 and her accusations reduced to a “catfight” as Twitter calls it. Headlines spoke about how Sunanda Pushkar created a problem or embarrassment rather than made grave allegations about Member of Parliament.

Shashi Tharoor, Sunanda Pushkar row: I have been put in jeopardy, says Mehr Tarar


Shashi Tharoor caught in tweet war between Sunanda Pushkar, Pak woman journalist Mehr Tarar

for example. Who except Sunanda Pushkar has had to defend their actions?


Apparently, media did not think it relevant to India if an Indian Parliamentarian was sending and receiving intimate messages from a foreigner to the point of discussing divorcing his wife. Not to mention Sunanda Tharoor’s accusations of Mehr Tarar being an ISI agent – whether true or false. Shashi Tharoor was not asked for confirmation or denial of those messages, nor was Mehr Tarar.

Mehr Tarar and Shashi Tharoor may have refused to speak to media on some subjects, but Sunanda Pushkar most certainly was speaking. Her allegations about the IPL dropped like a rock in pond. Media simply didn’t hear them, it seems. No further questioning. Best cover that up.


So media’s message was clear. This is nothing, just some entertainment getting TRPs because it targets a celebrity politician.

In contrast, media has gone to great lengths to shield Shashi Tharoor. His supposed statement on his Facebook account, claiming to be from both Sunanda and him has gone unquestioned as his last word on the subject – both before and after his wife’s death.

There are no questions raised about the body being cremated before the nature of her injuries was disclosed.

And of course, Rahul Bhatia’s blunt observation 

Shortly after the Economic Times piece, the news channel NDTV got Pushkar on the phone for an interview. They didn’t ask her about the “crimes of this man.” At one point during the live phone conversation, when Pushkar said she regretted choosing silence during the cricket controversy, the interviewer changed the subject, “Ma’am, you do realize you’re live on NDTV? Also, aren’t you worried the BJP [the party in opposition] will take up this issue?” The channel’s concern for the minister’s career, not the details of Pushkar’s revelation, was dismaying.

So you have this woman speaking of betrayal and heart break and making accusations which most certainly have national implications, and she is the only one to get asked tough questions. Which obviously means a media silencing or disbelief – if media believed that the accusation was serious, they would give more of a damn about the implications of it being true, right? Her cry of distress was effectively rendered toothless by a spineless media, leaving her to the fallout and her husband to impunity. What other escalation remained to her after such a humiliation?

So which media “outlet” has a quote or denial on record whether the messages Sunanda Tharoor leaked were true or malicious inventions by her?

Even after she died in their aftermath? So you tell me, did TWITTER kill Sunanda Tharoor?

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