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Reasons I decided to install and uninstall the nationalist Koo... nothing ideological

By Rajiv Shah
The “nationalist” Koo fever appears to have caught up with some Union ministers, BJP politicians, some right-wing actors, media and professionals. I too decided to try it out by downloading what is tom-tommed as a Twitter alternative on my mobile phone, thinking, perhaps it would give a little insight into right-wing news stories, which interest me.
Immediately after downloading Koo, I found that I am being invited to “follow” Union ministers, BJP politicians, a few actors and topcops who have become famous for their closeness to powers that be. But that was expected. I decided not to follow any of them, as I knew what they would be saying. So, I looked up if any news media or journalists are there, whom I could follow.
Yes, a few news media were there. I decided to follow Republic TV. I also clicked on the “follow” button for News 18 and CNBC TV-18. There were three or four others in Koo’s “offer” list – frankly I couldn’t recognise any of them, hence decided not to follow them. Then I looked at the journalists’ list – the only worth, and known, person following Koo seemed to be Ashutosh, who was formerly with Aam Aadmi Party. I couldn’t identify others.
I decided to look at the list of those who have joined Koo. Among well-known actors, as of today, the only top one I could identify was Anupam Kher (even Kangana Ranavat wasn’t there). As for others, they may be great, but I couldn’t recognise them, call it my poor Bollywood general knowledge.
Among ministers and politicians, the names appeared were only of BJP persons – Union minister Piyush Goyal, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, loud mouthed Sambit Patra, Amit Malaviya (the BJP IT cell man whose fake tweets are by now a legend), and Shejad Poonwalla (who calls himself proud Indian Muslim by faith, Hindu by culture, Indian by ideology). Others “worth mentioning” are Poonam Mahajan, SG Suryah, Giriraj Singh…
I installed Koo on my Samsung mobile phone, which was released in June 2017 – not a good one from today’s standards, but for my use it is good enough. I installed Koo app by “offering” my mobile number (I had to, unlike Twitter, where either phone number or email id is enough). I one-time password was immediately recognised and I was on Koo.
While I was browsing through Koo, I found a few major issues, all of them technical: One, that my mobile got heated up for unknown reasons; Koo crashed thrice, and though I was not “pushed out” of the app, when I tried to get out, I just couldn’t – I had to “close all” option to get out!
So, what is the moral of the story? Technically, nothing wrong in installing Koo, provided you have a phone that permits it, it doesn’t get hot (no double meaning here!), the app doesn’t crash, and you can easily move out of the app without using the “close all” function. I am not such a big nationalist, hence I was not much concerned about whether the app had a Chinese investor.
Nor am I much concerned with its “insecure” factors, about which some experts have reportedly drawn attention to. So, install it, if you want to follow and see what not-so-top ranking politicians, or an avowedly extreme right-wing media (Republic TV) have to say.
Two hours after installing the app, I decided to uninstall it. Reason? As I said, my mobile would unusually heat up. The app would crash. It stopped heating up after I uninstalled it. Nor – as I have said – am I such a big nationalist that I should promote the app just because it supposedly an Indian startup. Capitalists, American or Indian, talk of being “nationalist” because that suits their economic interests. I wouldn’t mind using an app, whether Indian or foreign, even Chinese, if it works well and serves my purpose.
The developers of the app say they are “proud” Indians; maybe, but that surely doesn’t impress me. Let them first ensure that top Indians, ranging from Prashan Bhushan, a known Modi critic, to top Modi supporting academics supporting Modi (Arvind Panagariya or Sujit Bhalla, who are on Twitter), join in to provide some facade of objectivity; lest it would be seen as a right-wing (extreme?) app.
Post-script: I would have liked to continue with controversial Koo – dubbed nationalist – had the developers allowed me to do at least on my computer, as Twitter does… But they don’t seem to have be allowing that. So, let’s hope for the best, and good luck and sorry to Koo developers!

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