Given Sagarika’s unique ability to go back in time to conduct ‘live interviews’, The Unreal Times commissioned the acclaimed television news anchor and tweeter par excellence to ‘live tweet’ about seminal moments from India’s colonial past.
Sagarika commenced on her quest to tweet India’s history by travelling back to the battle that opened the doors to British imperialism: the Battle of Plassey in 1757. Although the mood was decidedly anti British and sullen then, Ghose managed to inject a sense of balance into the national narrative with this tweet:
In 1835, Thomas Macaulay introduced English-medium education in British India with the aim of creating a class of anglicized Indians to intermediate between the British rulers and the natives. For the benefit of viewers, both from the past and present, Sagarika did what has never been attempted before: a panel discussion involving some of the greatest living and deceased exponents of the English language, namely William Shakespeare from the 16th century, Thomas Macaulay from the 19th century, and Mani Shankar Aiyer from the present.
During the course of the discussion, she coined a new term to describe these new breed of anglicized Indians: Macaulayputras.
1857: CNN-IBN was the first to report of stray incidents of insubordination from the barracks of Barrackpore. Sagarika promptly made that the topic of discussion for that night’s edition of ‘Face the Nation’, setting the stage for her own skirmishes with radical elements on the battlegrounds of Twitter.
As the First war of Independence swept through the Indo-Gangetic plains, Sagarika turned the spotlight on gender insensitivity:
In 1875, otherwise a very non newsy year, Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded the Arya Samaj, a Hindu reformist movement aimed at reviving Vedic values in Hindu society. She also coined the term ‘Internet Nationalists’ around this time.
1885 was a watershed year in India’s colonial history. A. O. Hume set up the Indian National Congress with the aim of providing a forum for educated Indians to debate and discuss India’s political future. Sagarika was invited as a special observer.
1893 was noteworthy for two incidents: A mousy man called Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi was thrown out of a train in South Africa while Swami Vivekananda captured the imagination of the world with his address at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago. Both trended on Twitter with these Sagarika tweets getting re-tweeted the most.
1900: With the Congress emerging as a broad-based pan Indian political movement, Sagarika broached the shibboleths of inclusiveness and pluralism. It was around this time that her disillusionment with Twitter also began to surface.
1905 witnessed the partition of Bengal along communal lines, triggering a spate of tweets.
This was followed by the founding of the All India Muslim League with the active encouragement of British authorities in 1906. Around this time, Sagarika also became a huge fan of Jinnah, impressed with his passionate espousal of the rule of law, advocacy of Hindu-Muslim unity, faith in constitutional methods for advancement of political goals, and last but not the least, impeccable sartorial elegance combined with a clipped accent.
The first decade of the 20th century was characterized by a spurt in revolutionary activity, with Bengal as its epicenter.
With the start of the first of the great wars of the 20th century, Sagarika rallied Indians around the Union Jack.
The Jallianwalla Bagh massacre in 1919 received widespread condemnation, with Sagarika firing the first salvo followed by a clarification:
(continued in Part II)