That is quite a large number, isn't it Mr. Tharoor? Well that's the population of India according to worldstatesman.com... That's approximately 1.17 billion people (estimate for July, 2009) comprises approximately one-sixth of the world's population.
Last month i.e. in August 2009, 3,630,000 (3.6 million) people flew within the country - up by 26% from 2.92 million last August (2008). The TOI optimistically reported: "This is the first time in almost a year that a double digit growth has been recorded as the past few months have only seen a free fall of domestic flyers."
You are an alumni of my alma mater and I expect you to be intelligent enough to do the math - that's 0.3135% of the population of India that can afford to fly! That is indeed a humbling statistic, isn't it? (I am counting my lucky stars that I am amongst the minuscule minority that can afford the convenience of a flight...)
That brings me to ask the question, what made you so pompous and presumptuous to taunt the remaining 99.6535% of our fellow countrymen and tweet: “Absolutely, in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows.” in response to “Tell us minister, next time you travel to Kerala, will it be cattle class?”
Travelling in Economy class in the comforts of an airline is "cattle class", Mr. Minister? Then what will you term the way the millions of us who are forced to everyday by the Mumbai local trains (Mumbai’s suburban trains ferry more than 6.4 million commuters daily) or the Delhi Buses or the Kolkata autos in conditions worse? Only in the famous Fevicol ad can such situations be funny...
For the first time in my life I truly understand what "politically correct" means... perhaps it's time that you and your fellow politicians did.
And what it is that I read - our Gandhi Baba is now scared of travelling in trains after his coach was stoned in Patiala... a few of my friends from Bombay know that in rush hour, you better be stoned to survive the local train bedlam... please ask your madameji and her mandarins to stop the austerity gimmick before the rest of us follow in the Patiala path...
How would you know what austerity means with your assets worth Rs. 15 crore? Just ask the 42% of Indians (World Bank estimates - 2005) who live below the poverty line who have to live on less than $1.25 a day (PPP, in nominal terms Rs. 21.6 a day in urban areas and Rs 14.3 in rural areas)... I am not even hazarding a percentage calculation here!
Chalo, at least your tweet made a mockery of your party's austerity circus... and for God's sake please go back to your five star suite and save us the tweets!