As the war between Twitter and the Indian government has intensified, Twitter appears to be defiantly signaling a refusal to back down.
Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari yesterday sent out a cryptic tweet. He shared an image of a raised fist, with the text: “It’s gonna be hard, but hard does not mean impossible,” the image said. Cryptically, Manish Maheshwari added no context to his his tweet, simply writing, “That’s the tweet.”
It’s hard to tell if the text in the post was a reference to Twitter’s recent battles with the Indian government, but the symbolism was hard to miss. The raised fist has long been a symbol of communist resistance, which would be politically at odds with India’s nationalist government. “The raised fist, or the clenched fist, is a long standing image of mixed meaning, often a symbol of political solidarity. It is also a common symbol of communism and can also be used as a salute to express unity, strength, or resistance,” the Wikipedia article on the topic says.
The raised fist was also used in several left-leaning political movements, including this poster demanding civil liberties in the 1940s.
The raised fist is also a symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement, which was backed by Democrats in the US and helped unseat President Donald Trump.
As such, Twitter India’s MD using the same fist could be seen as a sign of political defiance against the Indian government, and a subtle assertion that Twitter was going to work to advance its political goals even if it meant flouting Indian laws. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has previously said that Twitter has a left-leaning bias, and Twitter’s India MD sharing a post laced with leftist political symbolism while the company is mired in a political and ideological battle with the Indian government hints that its India team is also aboard the mission.
And if there was any doubt about what Manish Maheshwari’s actual motives were, it was cleared in a subsequent tweet. A few hours after his tweet was posted, Manish Maheshwari claimed that he’d meant that he was going to spend the weekend without the internet because his broadband was down, and that was the “hard but not impossible” task that lay in front of him.
But the explanation is so laughable that it only serves to prove that Maheshwari’s initial tweet was decidedly political — no one shares inspirational quotes with raised fists if their internet conks out. But while Manish Maheshwari now seems to be backpedaling, there’s little doubt that Twitter’s India team is looking to take the Indian government head on in what is essentially now a war between political ideologies.