In India, more than being a liberal – where you are willing to accommodate dissenting voices – it is important to appear a liberal – where you shout every hour that you’re liberal and thus drown out the dissenting voices.
This shouting is a form of virtue signalling that helps people with otherwise sad credentials to aspire for respectability in a particular social circle.
And a lot of so-called liberals indulged in collective shouting yesterday after mobile wallet brand Paytm released an ad that hurt their guilty conscience.Continue reading
Recently an interview of filmmaker Shirish Kunder, known for making comedy movies like Tees Maar Khan and Joker, was being shared by a few “liberals” on Twitter. Kunder, who was often target of their ridicule earlier, has suddenly become a role model for them because of his frequent anti-Modi and anti-BJP jokes and tweets.
One paragraph from his interview caught my attention. The same paragraph was shared by the so-called liberals too with much enthusiasm. In his interview, Kunder claims that no one was attacked online for cracking jokes against Congress leaders.Continue reading
Barkha Dutt, the celeb journalist from NDTV, has written a book and it’s getting negative reviews (one star) on Amazon, by scores of people who have most probably not even read a sentence of it. It’s silly, but it’s not unprecedented.
Barkha is blaming it on “bhakts” – a term she and other “liberal” commentators use very liberally to describe people who support Narendra Modi. And the truth is, most of those giving one star and negative reviews to her books are indeed Modi supporters.
So this is all about Barkha vs Bhakts? Or rather just about Bhakts, who last month, angered by Aamir Khan’s comments on “rising intolerance”, raced to uninstall the Snapdeal app and give it a bad review on app stores?
Can we simply close the case because these Bhakts appear as an organized gang of online goons? Gundays harassing a “liberal” law abiding citizen Barkha?
At the outset, let me make it clear that I’m making a distinction between what is being labeled as “trolling” and criminal online behavior such as cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, hate-mongering, etc. However, this distinction is NOT made by a league of critics (most of them journalists) who are on a mission to purge the social media by launching a War On Trolling, much like Junior Bush launched War On Terror and declared that “if you are not with us, you are with the terrorists”.
When the alleged force feeding of a fasting Muslim man by a Shiv Sena MP happened, I felt that the religious angle was a spin given to the incident, and that the media was needlessly playing it up. Media showed it as an example of communal bigotry, when it appeared a case of hubris and hooliganism.
However, there was one benefit of doubt the media and the possessors of moral compasses could be given – the victim i.e. the canteen supervisor, in his complaint, had claimed that his religious sentiments were hurt. Continue reading