External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is not only known for her active presence on Twitter to respond to the SOS messages of Indians stranded abroad, something that has earned her the title of “agony aunt”, she is also loved for her witty one-liners in response to the tweets that intend to take a dig on her, like happened this morning.

A Karan Saini, whose Twitter bio says that he is tweeting from Chicago, wrote on Twitter that “Sushma Swaraj, I am stuck on mars, food sent via Mangalyaan (987 days ago), is running out, when is Mangalyaan-II being sent?” He also tagged the Indian Space Research Organisation in his tweet.

Incidentally, the man had tweeted the same lines on June 6 but Sushma Swaraj didn’t respond to it.

But Twitter history says patience pays here if you want to have a response from Sushma Swaraj. And whenever she does so, responding to the tweets which are generally ignored by other ministers of the government of India for being poor in taste or for being satirical, she is at her hilarious best in answering them. Mr. Saini’s retweet of his tweet finally caught Sushma’s attention and what she wrote in response has gone viral on the internet for its wit and humour. She wrote,

India launched Mangalyan I in November 2013 and Mangalyan II mission is still in planning stage and the ISRO has invited scientific proposals for it.

The episode reminds of some of the earlier instances when the EAM’s Twitter remarks made the Internet go berserk, be it people’s silly and misplaced complaints or SOS cries. In March, a woman tagged Sushma Swaraj saying she would keep tweeting unless Sushma responds. The woman claimed that she was cheated by her NRI student. In her inimitable style, that has become barometer of her patience, Sushma assured the woman of every help but it was the Twitter conversation between both that caught people’s eye.

Sushma Swaraj @SushmaSwaraj
Aap haar mat maniye. Mujhe apni samasya batayiye.
Sushma Swaraj added,
Richa Patel @RichaPa49309383
@SushmaSwaraj @SushmaSwaraj dear mam me bhi apko tab tak tweet karti rahungi jab tak ap javab nhi dete me bhi har nhi manungi….
9:07 AM – 30 Mar 2017

In another instance, when a woman threatened to commit suicide as she was not able to get New Zealand visa to meet her husband, Sushma calmly advised her not to commit suicide and tell what the issue was.

Sushma Swaraj‏ @SushmaSwaraj
Aap suicide mat kijiye. Apni baat batayiye.Sushma Swaraj added,
Jyoti S Pande @jyotiranapande
Replying to @SushmaSwaraj
Please help me for my visa
Mere ko suicide krna parega kya.apni baat aap taak paguchane ko
9:14 AM – 30 Mar 2017

The conversation thread on Twitter for this tweet is just an example how patiently and discreetly Sushma handles such Twitter complaints. From March 30 to 31, Sushma Swaraj and the woman exchanged eight tweets with Sushma asking for details and the woman finally thanking her for help.

Or take this tweet when a man complained the EAM about a defective refrigerator sold to him. Instead of just ignoring it, what she wrote tell us why she is considered one of the best orators in Indian politics.

Sushma Swaraj @SushmaSwaraj
Brother I cannot help you in matters of a Refrigerator. I am very busy with human beings in distress.
Venkat‏ @M_VenkatM
@irvpaswan @SushmaSwaraj Dear Ministers, @Samsung_IN sold me a defective refrigerator, they r not ready to replace
9:27 AM – 13 Jun 2016



The ‘Kim Nation’ under the efficient leadership of the third Kim, Kim Jong-un, extending the legacies of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung and father, Kim Jong-il, has fired another shot at its arch-enemy, the United States of America, with the successful test of ‘a cutting edge’ missile, details of which are not out yet. (Okay, this was the scene also in February 2015 when North Korea had conducted a missile test, though that an ‘intelligent, cutting-edge missile.)

On February 8 that year, the elite nation of the elite ‘Rogue League’ of the selected world nations, test fired an ‘ultra-precision’ anti-ship missile of highest technological sophistication (as it claimed). As was said, the third Kim was personally monitoring the exercise, timed before the annual joint military exercise of South Korea and the US, and commended his team for the ‘zero error’ technological expertise, and thus for sending a befitting warning to his rivals.

Then, it was a clear cut warning signal to the world under the leadership of the world’s most powerful person, Barack Obama, the US President since 2009, who had become an eyesore for the dear plump leader.

Now, it is to give a message, again to the most powerful person on the Earth, again the US President, but a different one, Barack Obama’s successor, who doesn’t believe in playing the world’s leader’s role. (Irrespective of the fact that his credentials to prove is leadership role back home look thrown in some perpetual crisis, thanks to his life and lifestyle.) Anyway volumes have been written on him and much more is to come.

As expected (as happens every time), the Sunday morning test launch by the ‘elite rogue’ is already a global headline, pushing the international media including the US into an overdrive, aimed at undermining the North Korean achievement by spinning stories on ‘design, effectiveness and technical details’ of the missile.

Weeks after the February 2015 test (and every time), reports and analyses kept outpouring. It always extends celebrations of these so-called supreme achievement in the hermit kingdom. The North Korean elite believe any sustained negative international media coverage is acceptance of their country’s increasing might. At the same time, the North Koreans also find the hollow rhetoric of the frustrated global forces including the US a good source of funny points to laugh over.

Hitting on the jack provided by this yet another lethal addition in the North Korean arsenal, the official North Korean media had then, in the February 2015, declared that Barack Obama was feeling so low with the beaming images of Kim Jong-un that he tried to hide his irritation by indulging in a senseless and gaudy ‘selfie act’.

KCNA, the North Korean state media had reported, “Though the partisan US and international media are publicizing the exercise as a promotional event for Obamacare, a health programme, the always credible North Korean intelligence sources say it was a diversion prescribed by Obama’s psychiatrist seeing his heightened level of frustration over the latest North Korean achievement. Now, as the US has no might to take on the supreme forces of North Korea militarily, its leaders are indulging in propaganda acts like this, where they vent their frustration by making gestures as if they are targeting out Supreme Leader, the Commander of the all powerful North Korean forces. Pity them.”

Obama’s successor, who sounds like arch-enemy and has vowed to undo everything ‘Obama-esque’, especially the Obamacare, has reacted on this North Korean act (or bravado, as the sense goes), in his trademark business sense, saying he is 100% behind Japan (South Korea, too, would be expecting some reassuring words). But there is no harsh rhetoric yet. The White House, like it likes to say, has said that it is aware of the missile test and is closely monitoring the situation.

It is being widely analysed and reported that it was a North Korean warning for Donald Trump and also an exercise to gauge how the next White House administration to be when it comes to dealing with the elite of the ‘Rogue League’. Let’s see how it plays out – like a ‘jack’ or a ‘hack’.








The Young (and Plump) Kim says his Rogue Nation is in the final leg of launching a nuclear capable Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) that will be as ballistic as his tenure and words have been, ever since he took over the reins of the Rogue Nation in a December five years ago from the Great Rouge, who, in turn, had inherited the Rogue Nation from the Greatest Rouge ever walked in that part of the world.

Now it is another thing that this Young (and Plump) Kim can surpass even that Greatest Rogue in Rogueness.

Every Rogue of the Rogue Nation, be it the Greatest Rogue or the Great Rogue or the Young Rogue, have had this dream that one day their Roguness will go beyond the Greatness they already have once they have an ICBM that can carry weapons (including state of the art Rogue Nation’s nukes) to the Mightiest Nation on the Earth.

And they have been practicing it since ages – weighting for that moment to arrive.

Like it happens, the whole nature has conspired to derail that dream of the Greatness of the Rogue Nation.

But they have toiled hard. And have been consistent with their efforts.

Be it the Greatest Rogue or the Great Rogue or now the Young Rogue.

So while cementing their position as the undisputed representative of their people, giving them that rare hope to look at the bright side of life, something that no one knows when was last seen in the lives of the commoners of the Rogue Nation, they are also continuing with the mammoth cost that goes in building the Rogueness of their lands. Obviously, theirs must be very, very heavy hearts.

So, if the people of the Rogue Nation are making great sacrifices, their representatives are setting even bigger an example.

They are together in this quest it looks – the representatives are giving hopes – even if it means by coercive measures, as happens in case of larger societal interest – and people are buying those hopes, because they have no other option – after living a life of extreme hardship that the nature has forced them into.

Hope is the only trending commodity in the Rogue Nation available in abundance, thanks to the persistent efforts of its Rogues.

And how consistent the Rogues have been with their efforts becomes visible from the fact that the global community has been hooked since ages to any development that comes out from the Rogue Nation’s nuclear programme and its warning messages on how the nukes riding on the Rogue Nation’s great ICBMs will wreak havoc in the Mightiest Nation on the Earth.

And like they are developing their nukes and ICBMs and are on the brink of breaking-even, as the Young Kim (Rogue) let us know in his New Year message, they have been consistent with dishing out their messages, packaging them in ever more interesting formats, to let the world know that when it will be, how big it will be – the Rogue Nation’s wrath on the Mightiest Nation on the Earth.

And even in doing so, so diligently, they never forget the welfare side of it – of giving hope to their people – who are told that these messages are true and the Rogue Nation has already decimated the Mightiest Nation on the Earth – and is preparing for even great greater a feat.

They are practicing it. And in the larger interest, they are making their people practice it.

Immune from all – from the words coming out from the Mightiest Nation on the Earth – even if it is from the Mightiest Person of the Mightiest Nation as he asserted yesterday that the Rogue Nation’s ICBM won’t happen. He tweeted, “The Rogue Nation just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the Mightiest Nation on the Earth. It won’t happen!.”



The article’s Hindi version appeared on iChowk.

Did you hear it? Did you laugh? After all, this is laughable that America’s next President Donald Trump was born in Pakistan. That Donald Trump who has shown a clear tilt towards India (and has crticised Pakistan severely)! That Donald Trump whose victory has made Pakistan quite uncomfortable! Neo News, a Pakistani broadcaster, had shown a news package last month, before Trump’s election, illuminating us with ‘only in Pakistan’ wisdom that Donald Trump was born in Pakistan.

According to the clip, the Neo News anchor says that Donald Trump is actually a Pakistani and it has added yet another aspect about Donald Trump on social media.

The voice-over then educates us that the Republican nominee Donald Trump was born in Pakistan and not in America. Trump’s original name, who was born on June 14, 1946 in Waziristan, is Dawood Ibrahim Khan. Trump had his initially schooling in a Madrassa. According to the clip Trump’s parents died in a road accident in 1954 and he was taken to London by a British-Indian Army captain in 1955. The Trump family had adopted him in 1955 and in this way Waziristan’s Dawood Ibrahim Khan became Donald Trump of Queens area of New York City.

The voice-over says that they (the Neo News folks) are not saying all this but this is going viral on social media. According to the Neo News package, those curious and diligent information-diggers have also found out Donald Trump’s childhood photographs, his DNA test results and his birth-certificate to prove his Pakistani origins.

Now it is no big deal to make news stories and packages on viral social media content but what is abnormal here that a news broadcaster picked this viral but silly and laughable content without applying any thought (if at all a line of thought exists).

Had it been part of some parody or laughter show we could have got some sense of its use there. But what to say of the Pakistani media that mostly survives on propaganda, especially the anti-India propaganda. Recently, when India had carried out surgical strike deep inside Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, the whole Pakistani media had (as usual) become a mouth-organ of the Pakistani ruling establishment in telling to the world that the Indian claims of surgical strike was false and how the Pakistani missiles were ready to destroy India.

There were such bizarre/funny/ridiculous claims on the Pakistani prime time that you can only laugh – like this one that due to the ongoing hostilities and war-like situation between India and Pakistan, some 40,000 Indian soldiers had applied for sick leave fearing the wrath of the Pakistani army.

Anyway let’s be clear that the US rules don’t allow a person to become the US President who is not born in America. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Hollywood legend, who was the Governor of California, can never become the US President because he was born in Austria. Even Barack Obama, the outgoing US President, had to show his birth certificate to clear the air that he was born in America (Hawaii) and Donald Trump who will replace Obama, had actively contributed to such conspiracy theories.



I had never seen social parity at this level, here in India, before this current phase that is undoing many historical stereotypes.

Being a media professional, I was aware of it since the moment it began, but it is only today that I got the first hand experience.

But before that, let’s be clear about it – that social parity basically applies to them who form the majority of our society – except out upper middles classes and elites (including some VIPism folks from the lower middle class). So this time also it is going to be about this ‘majority’. Like always, the other folks are never in this rate-race.

I had to go the Delhi airport today and I had only Rs. 500 notes in my wallet and some change that accounted for around Rs. 200. So, in spites of having a loaded purse, I was literally impoverished – to the hilt – because the airport ride needed anything around 500-1000 bucks depending on the mode of transport I would choose.

Okay, I could have gone the cashless way but there was this desperate urge to try the Delhi Metro route hoping that I would be able to get at least some change for my Rs. 500 notes. So there I was.

But to my dismay I found there (at Delhi Metro stations) sympathetic customer care executives or nonchalant cash counters but not the problem of my solution. And soon whatever change I had was gone.

And I was not alone. There were multitudes. How I came out of this quagmire is a story for another day. Today it is basically about the social parity this sudden move by the Government of India has brought where all the biggies have suddenly become commoners like us – at least for the stuff that they need cash to trade for – like in transportation or petrol pumps or for buying the stuff of daily usage like milk or grocery items. Now you can use your Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 notes at many places but the problem is even those places are running dry.

So, all of a sudden, uniformity can be seen among masses thronging our roads or streets. Those having millions or those barely surviving on their salaries or daily earnings, they all can be seen in ATM or bank queues. I appreciate AIIMS for this sort of culture – in spite of having loads of people from VIP fulcrum or staff-linkages, a man flashing his latest iPhone model can be seen in same queue waiting for his turn along with the man who kills his waiting hours by playing with the buttons of basic feature phone.

If we leave some of the super-elite aside (after all, in every democratic society, a class like this always exists – after all, history needs to preserve its elements, even if it is elitism and VIPism), all in the society looked on an open platform today which had no extensions to offer.

They all are talking of the similar pains (and gains).

So, even if everyone was flashing his Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 note, it meant nothing to the guy sitting on the other side. And it is the story of the whole country.

It was like – either everyone was victim – or everyone was perpetrator – though the victim corollary works better here.

It is like you have all – and you have nothing.

Everyone was looking in a similar social hue today – in fact has been looking like this since November 8 when prime minister Narendra Modi suddenly announced that the biggies of our currency flow would become unwanted existences post midnight.



Well, that is exactly what has happened with recent events – developments, statements and even silence – everything gives an interesting sense of déjà vu. Everything has happened as it was thought to be – but with loads of moments that are pure delight for any cartoonist with an eye for political humour and satire.

We can say,





Any which way you want to say 🙂

Or we can say,


Or we can say,


Or we can say,


Or we can the staple one 🙂 🙂







The article’s Hindi version appeared on iChowk.

It has become global headlines these days that how some African countries have stopped donkey export to China altogether while some others have put stiff regulations on it.

Do you know the donkey population of India? I am sure that apart from few concerned experts, no one would be aware of it (and rightly). According to India’s livestock census of 2014, the total donkey population in India was 3.2 million in 2012.

But why would I bother to know about it? What else but the natural human curiosity!

Many countries, especially African, are banning donkey export to China. (Now the global donkey import-export business, China and other main markets for it and its state of affairs in India can make for a separate innovative research topic.)

But why are they doing so?


Ejiao is a blood tonic made from donkey-hide gelatin obtained from the animal’s skin. It is a popular traditional medicine in China which is quite popular, especially among women, and is used for anaemia, cough, insomnia, wound, boils and eruptions. It is also used in face and anti-ageing creams. China produces almost 5,000 tonnes of ejiao annually that itself is indicator of its immense popularity in the Chinese society.

But ejiao’s increasing demand coupled with China’s rapid industrialization has caused a rapid decline in China’s donkey population. According to reports, China had around 110 million donkeys in 1990s which has drastically come down to almost half, at 60 million, and is seeing a consistent decline of 3,00,000 donkeys every year. Industrialization has proved a double-edged sword for donkey population in China. It increased disposable income of people and introduced machines that mechanized the ejiao making process thereby causing huge spurt in demand (with the supply to meet it.) Even the donkeys who were otherwise used for farming and carrying loads, they also became priced possessions of the booming ejiao industry.


Exploitation increased so much so that donkey’s population rapidly came down and to meet the never satiated domestic demand, China had to import donkey. And China looked to the African markets for it where it has invested heavily.

All went well initially. The Chinese demand skyrocketed donkey prices in the African markets. Many black-markets cropped up. Legal and illegal export of donkeys to China increased manifold. As it had happened in China, people in these countries also started using monkeys exclusively for export, removing them from traditional farming and load carrying work.

But, as had happened in China, the same thing is happening in these African countries as well. Due to an ever increasing demand from China and due to the lucre of money involved, mindless donkey exports from the African countries increased to the extent that the continent is now witnessing a rapid decline in its donkey population and many countries are now worried that if left unchecked, the trend may devastate the whole breed of the animal.

So countries like Niger and Burkina Faso have banned donkey export totally while countries like Kenya and South Africa have started putting tough measures to regulate this cattle trade and it is expected that more countries will follow soon.

These developments have initiated a national debate on ejiao in China. Experts and analysts are burning the midnight oil debating and strategizing on how to increase domestic population of donkeys in China including encouraging and incentivizing people to develop donkey farms.

And if the pressure of demand is so high, there would obviously be fake and counterfeit products in the market. The condition has become so chronic that many ejiao manufacturing outfits are issuing DNA certificates with their products proclaiming authenticity of their ejiao. A natural corollary to this is the rampant theft of donkeys which has forced many farms to implant identification chips in their donkeys.


Featured Image Courtesy: Wikipedia