A top ten global social CIO, strategist, advisor, speaker, Cyber Security expert, data scientist, Gaurav Pradhan is a living example of how one can achieve anything if one has a will. From a fashion enthusiast to establishing his name as a brand, there is no boundary for Pradhan. This fan of PM Narendra Modi has thousands of fans himself from several top industries like IT, politics and media.
Gaurav Pradhan rose to fame recently during 2013. An NRI, he has immense love for his nation and is always open to do good for the country. However, with fame comes controversies and he is no exception. He has been given life threats, blamed, trolled, abused and insulted on several occasions and there were also rumors that he may lead the BJP IT department.
A data scientist by profession, this top CIO plans to bring a data revolution in the country. He has ground knowledge about every section of politics in India and by now, we all know how good he is with his predictions. Be it the US polls or UP polls, every time his predictions have turned into reality. No wonder, Prime Minister of India himself follows him on Twitter. With tens of thousands of followers and his tweets impressions touching 50 million plus, he is using the medium to garner support for issues close to his heart.
An IT geek, he was also a part of the team that invented SMS. He has taken several initiatives, broke a racket of fake voters by cancelling 90,000 voter IDs in Uttar Pradesh. He has contributed immensely to the ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ campaign in the run-up to the 2014 elections.
In an exclusive chat with Newsd, Pradhan talks about many things including his interests, his political acumen despite being away from India for so long, the problem with Chinese products in the Indian market and 2019 polls. Here’s what he has to say:
Q. You are considered a vocal supporter of the right wing. What made you support BJP?
No, I am not a supporter of BJP or any party. I support causes and for me, nation comes first. So yes, I do support Narendra Modi but not any party.
Q. But you are a vocal supporter of the right wing and BJP Ideology?
Ideology is a wrong word in politics. This is a fundamental mistake everyone is making and the so-called intellectuals in India haven’t questioned it yet.
Ideology never allows scope for questioning. It is rigid. It blocks scope for argument, dialogue and debate. Our ideology should be “Nation First” where as political parties, right or left group should have philosophy. When we say my philosophy is that of BJP or Congress, what I mean is that I have a swing to one side but I am open to listen to you. It is like what Gandhi Ji said that I keep windows of my room open so that I allow outside fresh air (ideas) to come in.
Nation building is collective effort, it is not the responsibility of one party or person. Now tell me should we have philosophy or Ideology?
Q. As an NRI, when did you decide to be politically vocal? Were you always politically inclined?
Well, I was always politically vocal but I became visible only since 2013 when the campaign for general election was going on. I am always a follower of Rashtra Niti, Rajniti in Indian term is not my cup of tea. But yes I have political views and I am always truthful to myself to put it without fear or favor.
Q. People say you have made many powerful people upset by accusing them. Some even left Twitter because of you.
I never accuse anyone, I only ask questions. These so called powerful people have all the right in the world to ignore me but my country’s constitution gives me the right to ask questions. Is that a crime? It is to be noted that my questions are always out of some very credible information.
Q. Despite being away from India for so long, how do you have so much of knowledge about every section of Indian politics?
Haha. You can say that my body was away from India but not my heart. Even when I was traveling world for last 20 plus years, I was always Indian first. In 1999, I had the option for US residency but we (my wife and I) refused it and were proud to carry our birth passport. I am a hands-on person, believe in ground research. I have walked miles to get to know the mood of the country. I don’t collect info or data sitting in my AC office. I have a flair for learning and have huge interest in data gathering and gauging the mood of the people. I am into all this because of interest and passion and I will keep doing this. I don’t even have any financial support and all I do is at my own expense.
Besides, I read a lot. You won’t believe but my first wife is my laptop, as my wife says. I always remain connected and keep reading on the internet.
Q. From Lok sabha 2014 elections to US elections to 300+ seats for BJP in 2017 UP polls to Geo Politics – you have made some wonderful bulls eye predictions. What you have to say for 2019 polls?
2019 polls will be a walkover for BJP. 2014 was a golden time for Congress to rebuild itself but they goofed up in arrogance. It’s all about a product (referring to Rahul Gandhi). If a product is not good enough, nothing can be done. A lot of congress people are good people, the problem is with few who don’t want to learn. Currently, the BJP is focused on development, growth and all. It will focus on political frame from mid 2018.
Q. You seem to be against Chinese products in Indian market. Do you think it is easier for Indians to avoid Chinese product considering we are the second largest market for China?
No, I am not against Chinese business in Indian market. I am against the illegal or ‘under invoice’ invoice method of business as I have seen Africa, Europe, US getting destroyed by cheap Chinese imports. In 2005, Downtown Johannesburg was a happening place with lots of local business. By 2010, I saw all local businesses shutting down and Downtown converting itself to storage area for imported Chinese goods. Today, it is more like a ghost town. I have seen this transformation with my own eyes hence I keep warning people.
Second point to understand is that in last 10 years our government handed over everything to China. From medicine to hospital equipment to auto to telecom to virtually everything. Today 90% of drugs ingredients come from China. We have to reverse this situation. This is why Modi ji talks about Make In India. On the surface, people call it jumla but I can tell you his government and departments are working on war footing to reverse the course. Now we as citizens couldn’t do much but atleast we can help in saving our small and cottage industry.
Q. When did you join social media? How would you describe your journey as?
I am on social media even before social media was born. SMS invention was social media of that time. Yahoo chat was big that time. However, I came in limelight since 2009. It is a great place to be but the most unfortunate part is that people use it to settle personal scores. Quite a few big handles have 100s of fake handles which are used to abuse people. I have been targeted many times by such handles. I know some who use SIMs not registered in their name for this purpose which to my understanding is a criminal offence.
I am of the opinion that social media is the fifth pillar of democracy. Many famous 5-star journalists have lost credibility due to their own wrong doings. Social Media busts fake stories in no time.
Q. How was your growing up years like? How were you as a child?
I was a very quiet kid, a kind of back-bencher but always ready to help anyone in need. I never liked bookish knowledge but I was hungry for experience. I wanted to learn things by experiencing things and not just reading. My first and last election in life was that of school captain. I also used to write poems.
Q. What keeps you going? How do you unwind?
Passion! A hunger to learn new things keeps me going. I always wanted to do things that people presume to be impossible. That’s how it is. That’s how I unwind. But now I have channeled all my energy to mySWADES, it is platform to connect nation and our focus is digital and fjnancial literacy.
Q. What is next on your agenda? Any plans to join politics?
Well, a big no to electoral politics. I know I can never win an election. Even my own family members won’t vote me (laughs). But yeah, I have some strength, which can be used to build my nation, and I am always open for such opportunity. If any government or department needs it, I will be more then happy to help but I will never knock any door or use any influence to get any post or job.
Today I am devoted to mySWADES. Our team trained close to 400 people from all walks of life on digital and personal finance with financial support from my followers. That’s my mission.
Q. Last question. Tell us a one secret about you, which your followers on twitter don’t know?
I met S Gurumurty ji last year. It was one on one meeting at his VIF office. I went to discuss many things with him except politics. The bottom line of discussion was what I should do if I relocate back to India. Interestingly, mySWADES was born in my mind during this meeting. When we finished our meeting and I was about to leave, he stopped me. Took out a off white silk Angavastra and said “I received it as blessing from math, looking for a deserving neck for it. I am happy to put it in your neck, that’s my blessing to you.”
Probably, I am the only person from Social Media crowd who received such blessing by none other then Shri S Gurumurthy. This is one secret, I kept away from public. Today happy to share it with photograph.