Twitter India Just Released Its ‘Most Followed’ List Of 2017. And Guess What Stands Out?

9/10 are men.

Check this out.

And most of them are actors, one is India’s most social media savvy PM, one female actor and one cricketer whom India is crazy about. Having been on Twitter for over five years, and seeing hardly any diversity among Indians on Twitter who are followed by millions, I really think it’s time for a change. I mean, Salman Khan literally tweets “Hahaha hehehe sorry” and he has almost 29 million followers?

In the pursuit of gunning for 2018 to be the year we follow more female, trans and non-binary voices, here’s a quick list of recommendations from me. I honestly don’t know about many trans and non-binary Indian voices on Twitter and would love it if you could tweet this piece out with your recommendations, or comment below and add suggestions. Let’s build this list together, shall we?

1. @Shamwoo: Shambhavi Saxena (Writer, ‘Asexual Feminist Vegan Bitch’, as per her Twitter bio)

A fierce voice on all things that kick the gender binary and the stereotypes that come with it, Shambhavi’s tweets are funny, insightful, and layered with super useful information for the woke millennial. She also tweets about asexuality and her experiences as someone who identifies as asexual – a perspective that is so important in our heteronormative society.

2. @KarnikaKohli: Karnika Kohli (Social Media Editor at The Wire, ‘Damaged adult, chai lover’ as per her Twitter bio)

According to me, one of the finest social media editors working for an independent publication, Karnika is extremely vocal about politics and its intersection with media. She isn’t afraid of questioning those in power, and tweets article links that usually turn out to be insightful reads.

3. @thirunangai: Grace Banu (Engineering student, trans activist)

India’s first trans engineering student, Grace Banu from Chennai is a bold voice urging for equality and asking for accountability from those in power. Her recent petition on why the government must reconsider the Trans Rights Bill 2016 has garnered mass support.

4. @Tejaswi2406: Tejaswini Tabhane (Student, ‘Ambedkarite Buddhist | Sweet nerd’ as per her Twitter bio)

The 18-year-old who schooled Shashi Tharoor about how it was his privilege that made him grow up in a seemingly ‘casteless’ society, Tejaswini is probably the most woke 18-year-old on Indian Twitter. Her timeline is full of news, views and opinion that rarely make it to mainstream media. 

5. @MerrilD: Merril Diniz (Head of Communications at SHEROES India)

Merril’s poignant and questioning voice serves as a reminder that accessible public spaces are not the norm in India. A fierce advocate for disability rights, Merril says it like it is. And as a part of one of the country’s largest women networks, she shares unheard stories of powerful women and perspectives about women at work.

6. @KhabarLahariya: Khabar Lahariya

India’s only newspaper run solely by women from rural U.P., Khabar Lahariya is challenging a largely male-dominated, corporatised media through gritty, honest journalism in regional languages. Following them on Twitter is also about following what they stand for, and how they aim to change the face of media in the coming years.

7. @hirishitalkies: Richa Kaul Padte (Managing Editor of ‘Deep Dives’)

Richa has just written a book called ‘Cyber Sexy’, on rethinking pornography in India. In a country that stigmatises porn and sex, Richa manages ‘Deep Dives’, a path-breaking publication that explores the intersection of sexuality and the internet. Follow her for some inspiration to break taboos and some excellent writing.

8. @mskalki: Kalki Subramaniam (Trans rights activist)

A bold voice on Twitter, Kalki questions stereotypes against trans people and shares news and updates about her community that rarely make it to mainstream media. One of her recent tweets was deeply thought-provoking for me: “If a cis woman wins beauty title her life changes for best, if a trans woman wins a beauty title she remains as a sex worker or beggar.”

These are just eight names from the hundreds of people I follow, and the many kick-ass women who fill my timeline with a lot of inspiration and insight. Let’s build this list together – and make it more diverse in terms of class, caste, gender, topics and profession. Please tweet this out with our recommendations, and I’ll update the list as we go on. Feel free to tweet to me @lipi_meh with your suggestions too. Let’s challenge ourselves to follow more diverse voices in 2018. Peace. 

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