Recently when Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel reportedly purported disinterest in expanding business to “poor countries” like India and Spain, it created controversy on social media in India only. No such acute reaction came from Spain, may be because its per capita income is 20 times and cost of living is almost 4 times than that of India’s; though they also have their 21% population living below poverty line.
But Indian’s response which ranged from abuses to well stated arguments, apparently lacked rationality and proper knowledge of Indian demography. The online army which responded to the CEO’s comments lives in the towns and cities whose origins lie in the Mughal and British Era, not the promised smart-cities. These cities including the National capital have their fair share of poor beggars who can easily be found knocking on cars’ windows on highways. May be they are not Indians to the online army.
Somehow, this kind of attitude is not new in India; the online army having the leverage of “hidden identity” is famous for saying most ignorant things in the most abusive language. These people are not always paid, sometimes they really feel and are conscious of what they are writing online. But that is all they do. They don’t want to look at India for other than its glorious ancient past and see everything else through that very lens.
India is a poor country, worse than Spain, with 28% population below poverty line from Indian standards alone. Majority of the population faces the ugly reality of lack of quality education, drinking water and food; there is corruption at every level and severe injustice–social and judicial etcetera. A World Bank Report released in October 2016 said, “India is by far the country with the largest number of people living under the international USD 1.90-a-day poverty line, more than 2.5 times as many as the 86 million in Nigeria, which has the second-largest population of the poor worldwide”. The online army is not interested in knowing the reality. It’s quick to jump in the “online battle” and doesn’t want to waste time.
Capt. Amarinder singh, the newly elected CM of Punjab wrote an Article in Indian Express (20/5/2017) titled “Major Gogoi deserves a distinguished services medal for using human shield against stone-pelters in Kashmir”,
and said, ‘I applaud Major Gogoi’. Major Nitin Gogoi is the army officer who decided to use a Kashmiri as ‘human shield’. No doubt, armed forces deserve respect and appreciation for what their job is about and what they do for their country and people. But India is willing to learn more from Israel than the latter wants to teach. New generation of the Jews–who were sent to gas chambers– have decided on the practice that it is inhuman. Let’s hope we learn that the easy way. Perhaps through the ancient texts we are very proud of and boast casually!?
Amarinder singh goes on to write that Mr. Gogoi “…only did what was absolutely correct, and possibly the only sane and logical course of action available to him, in the circumstances.” Using such arguments, British could defend their actions in Jalianwala bagh and the Nazis can be defended for using gas chambers. I chose these examples here as no sane person has defended their ‘right to mock human dignity’ like they did, in history.
The entire subject of humane behaviour towards fellow humans is being removed from our brains, just when we thought the world is getting smaller by coming together (globalisation?) in companionship. We have lost the reason and morality to be empathetic, even after having achieved excellence in “service” sector. It’s like as if the kind of compromises people have to make in order to bear the pain of being in service of other is being balanced out in rage.
And that rage is being spread through our words on social media, which is then forcing mainstream media to be angrier and as the end result the ignorant masses are further enraged over (sometimes even ignorable and minute) things.
In Public, violence has not stopped after Nirbhaya incident. It continued through the beating of people from North East, African nationals at metro stations, Dalits in Gujarat, Muslims all across the country…recently in Jharkhand and recent gang rape case in Rohtak. Increasing instances of such incident are as if they are trying to match up the growth of GDP in the country. Perhaps the root cause lies in the fact that India never cared to fix its problem of riots and violence, which has its origins in caste/class based and religious bigotry. And why would India care to do that, when the problem penetrates all the classes of Indian public whether it’s educated and well-off, the rich in media, entertainment and business or the poor in villages or the top level where politicians play their dirty games. They all fight at whatever space they could find.
Even former prime minister and now Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee said on 12 April 2002 at a public meeting in GoaTop of Form “In Indonesia, Malaysia, wherever Muslims are living they don’t want to live in harmony,” and “They don’t mix with the society [ghul milkar nahin rehte]. They are not interested in living in peace.”
He further said, “Wherever Muslims live, they don’t like to live in co-existence with others; they don’t like to mingle with others; and instead of propagating their ideas in a peaceful manner, they want to spread their faith by resorting to terror and threats.” However, after the huge controversy that followed, he claimed his remarks were not aimed at all Muslims but only on “militant Muslims”.
No wonder while travelling through Gujarat in February 2002, post-Ahmedabad violence, without any minister from state government accompanying him, the then Defence minister George Fernandes said: “I realized that our political parties do nothing beyond struggling for power”.
Can we please conclude this?