Nagpur: Rishi Jaitly made international news when he suddenly resigned from his Twitter position in India and Asia right during Diwali.
Twitter has been going through some tumultuous changes in recent times, and now Twitter India head Rishi Jaitly announced, through a tweet naturally, that he is leaving the company. Rishi had joined Twitter in November 2012 as the India Market Director for the company. He did so well here that his scope of work was expanded to India and Southeast Asia in 2014, and for the last one year, he has been the Vice President, Media, Asia Pacific & Middle East North Africa, Twitter. Jaitly had earlier worked at Google as head of public-private partnerships from 2007-2009. At the time, he had worked with Shailesh Rao, who was then the Managing Director, India, at Google. Just before Rishi, Rao had also joined Twitter in February 2012, as Vice President, International Operations; he had probably pulled Rishi in after him. Co incidentally, Rao also quit the company in July this year, announcing that it was time for new plans.
Now, Jaitly has followed suit, similarly stating that it is time to move on to new opportunities, with the same mission. In his tweets, Jaitly says: “My mission remains the same: harness tech/ media’s scale to connect users/ citizens to their voice/ agency/ leadership in places they care about. I myself care deeply about the United States, India, emerging markets and intend to devote myself to building bridges in service of my mission.”
Not many in India, or even Nagpur are aware that Rishi is the son of Dr. Sharad Jaitly who was born and brought up in Nagpur and studied medicine in the Government Medical College. He passed out in 1979, did his M.D. in Cardiology in 1981, got married to another Doctor and left for USA. Rishi was born there, but the family continues to have a house in Nagpur in the Vidarbha Premiere Housing Society on the VIP road. Sharad’s mother has been living here mostly alone, even after the whole family spreads its wings and flew across seven seas.
Rishi’s grandfather, S.C. Jaitly, is a guy that many Nagpur journalists still remember fondly though, including this writer. He was a Central Government officer and was in charge of the famous Government Printing Press and Book store at zero milestone, Nagpur. He was devoted to his job and had his hands full, but would still make time to come and teach at the post graduate department of Journalism. Classes were held at the University Library building on the Ambazari road where Jaitly would make his way regularly on the day of his classes at 7.30 a.m. sharp. He taught us Printing Techology and he made the subject so interesting that many of us seriously contemplated becoming Printers instead of writers!
Though Rishi and his two siblings were born and brought up in USA, mostly New York, their parents were very strict about speaking Hindi at home. That continued to be their mother tongue, speaking English within the four walls of the house was strictly forbidden. It was Indian food they ate and followed all Indian customs too. This ensured that the children were always in touch with their roots and Rishi had always showed an inclination to come and work in India. Which he did when he joined Twitter 4 years ago and made Mumbai his home.
Under his leadership, Amitabh Bachan and many Bollywood stars began using twitter regularly to keep in touch with their large fan base. Rishi personally took efforts to wean people away from Facebook and other social networking sites and bring them to twitter.
“Why write, when you can tweet?” He used to ask.
What are his plans now? The family is keeping it under wraps but it looks like it is going to be something big. The entire family is planning to be in Nagpur this December and we hope to learn more then.
Meanwhile, it is troubled times for Twitter. The company has to let go of hundreds of people, amounting to nearly a tenth of its workforce. Attempts at a buyout haven’t been succesful either, reportedly because of the abuse problem on Twitter. The company also shut down the Vine video service.
Was this the reason that Rishi left, or was it a case of greener pastures calling?
He leaves us with this tweet as a reply –
We gotta start
I am going through
We were there
Were the Change
That’s the way it is
Poetry, prose… changes.
—Sunita Mudaliar (Associate Editor)