2 Years of Trolling : Achhe Din for Bhakts on Social Media

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

It was unfortunate to hear the legal brain of the government Mr Arun Jaitley expressing helplessness on the issue of online trolling of people on the day when the prime minister was holding a meeting with his party’s ‘social media volunteers’ in Delhi. Why did the senior minister whose articulations are used by the government both inside and outside parliament to ‘legitimise’ all the acts which remain indefensible. Like a ‘successful’ lawyer, Arun Jaitley bring issues of the past government to justify his position in parliament as he has all the information available now. We have not seen other ministers speaking in Parliament. Outside the parliament it is the prime minister who ‘market’ his party and as the ‘Economist’ rightly put him as, ‘ India’s one man band’.

This government promised to work for a corruption free India. It campaigned through its troll and demonized all the previous Congress regimes, particularly Nehru and his family. It had a special taste for that. Many complimented the government that while inflation might not have been under the control, the ‘corruption’ has really been ‘controlled’ as suggested by Arun Shourie. One does not know whether Vijay Mallya of Rs 9000 crore fame or many other members of that fraternity who have betrayed bank and have made them virtually bankrupt are called corruption or not. Rajasthan’s Royal man LalitModi is in London and we don’t know when will he be brought back to India. In all we have been told that Industrial Houses in India own more than Two Lakh crore to the banks but we do not see any effort by the government to bring that money. The ‘Kaladhan’ fame Baba is on not just land grab everywhere but also getting huge promotion everywhere as government spending millions to promote his Yoga. Baba has been a businessmen and should behave like that but he continue to serve the interest of a few cronies who work behind him while Baba use a fairy cocktail of religion with business and politics to get things done as he wishes.

The government which is pretending to fight against corruption has not only allowed Vijay Malya to go but also is the toast of many in the film fraternity, a large part of who work on black money. The Bachchans of Boforse and Panama fames are back in news but every body know that he wont be called corrupt. Arnab Goswami and his gangs are ready to take every one on except their own Jains and Bachchans. We all know that nobody is guilty unless pronounced such but it is also a fact that if an accused is the host of various government programmes, can any investigating agency truly carry any work of investigation against him.

The spate of violence against Dalits and Muslims in India saw the worst kind of justification. When two Dalit children were burnt alive in Faridabad last year, our Minister made very insensitive remarks. For the entire year, the government and its minister tried to justify the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq for allegedly keeping ‘beef’ in his refrigerator. Arguments were given that it was not beef but mutton but that is where we mistake. What if beef was there?Cant an individual eat food of his choice at his place?

For the whole year the controversy regarding beef was kept deliberately. The more people wrote against it, the better it was an opportunity for the Hindutva trolls to make threatening remark to others. It is well known factor that beef business in India is not the domain of Muslims alone but Hindus too are engaged in the export work.

The entire year, we saw the government, attempting to muzzle the voice of freedom. Universities were targeted and demonized. Rohith Vemula’s death jolted the nation but soon the Sangh Parivar jumped into the fray and painted it according to its own version. The spin masters re-wrote stories through social media and confused people. The best way for them is if they fail then confuse people and divide them. There was justification for everything as no attempt were made to pacify the students. The scholarships have been reduced. NET regulations have been changed to suit the interest of Sangh Parivar in the appointments of teachers at various universities. Now the working hours have increased and teachers are supposed to behave in a different way than academic. May be they can also define the ‘dress code’ for teachers?

Fire of student unrest, which started from FTII to Hyderabad Central University ultimately, engulfed JNU too. Students are being punished just because they organized a political meet or hold a different view point. Entire institutions are being threatened and no efforts were made to reach out the students and academics for a negotiation. Rather, the members of the ABVP were let loose at every place to threaten and intimidate the opponents and file criminal complaints against every one. The university administration everywhere is using ABVP students as a cover up to hit at the other students. Now the students in BHU are being targeted simply because they demanded access to library. Can you imagine a Vice Chancellor denying them access saying that they should ‘study’ and not come to library? What is study without library? The day before several students have been arrested because they were sitting on hunger strike against this draconian decision of the Vice Chancellor.

Farmers are dying of hunger and it is not that they are dying just because of this government but the process of their death has escalated and no serious effort was made to meet their demands. The fact is that the corporate and their cronies create this crisis so that the farmers are compelled to leave their work and then the corporate take full control of our agrarian sector, which they are dying to do so for years.

There is more funds at publicity then for the farmers. There is more encouragement for the trolls then to guide them to speak politely and counter your opponents through argument. Can any one abuse to his political opponent and the government say it is helpless. Why the government is so keen to defend the ‘defamation’ law but not really interested to protect people particularly women getting abused in the worst form including threat to public rape and molestation. Can such people really be fit for being part of any political discourse?

The violence against the African nationals has increased during the past two years. In fact the ambassadors of the African nations virtually boycotted the Africa Day celebrations organized by the government. After the killing of a Congolese national, there was attack on a Nigerian national in Hyderabad and now come the news of assault on about 7 African nationals in Delhi. This is a serious issue and the government cannot allow a free for all situations in the streets of national capital and elsewhere. It is not that such things are happening for the first time but unfortunately the rowdy elements have been encouraged after this government assumed power. The remarks against Dalits based on their caste and color is now order of the day on tweeter under the ‘freedom of expression’. The new phenomena are not to feel bad about a cultural practice or historic wrong but justify all the sins of the past under some pretext or other and glorify your own myths carefully crafted against others.

After assuming office the Prime Minister has visited United States several times. He has visited Europe and travelled to Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and Middle East but does not seems to be interested in Africa. Last year, we had a big Indo African summit and the Prime Minister of the country did not utter a word about the person who founded the strong Indo African ties, the first prime minister of India, Jawahar Lal Nehru. People in these countries still remember Nehru for the statesmanship hence despite caste and racial prejudices in our society prevalent, the leadership of those times had never ever supported such prejudices and the world believed in them. Alas, the situation today is different. The government’s minister and a former General suggest that it is minor incident ‘blown’ out of proportion by the media. One does not know how media which is virtually procured by the ruling party, can ‘create’ obstacles’ in the path of ‘development’. Yes, while people might have been suffering with various complexes but such incident of racial prejudices were not those common in India as they are being witnessed today. I do not say that people have turned communal and racist all of a sudden since May 2014 but it is certain that racists, caste mind aggressive brahmanical forces have definitely taken it on their ‘hands’ to ‘protect’ India and abuse any one. We have not seen an unambiguous condemnation from any minister or senior leader about these incidents, which can create a healthy environment. The African leaders and community today think that it has become highly difficult to live in India with growing racial prejudices. What has government done to stop such things and assure the leadership and common people in Africa that we are determined to protect all the citizens living in this country irrespective of their caste, color or nationality? What is the message going world over that we are a high risk country for Africans. The Western world is already speaking against communal polarization and risk for women tourists. Is not it a shameful thing that a country which claim to have the ‘biggest’ ‘civilization’ is being reminded to mend its ways? The leadership of the day has to be clear to its supporters or opponents that respect freedom of expression, right to choice but no authority to physical threats, intimidation and sexist abuses opponents. It must send a clear message that it respect national and international laws and want its law enforcing agencies to work without any prejudices.

No saner political party will ever justify their supporter abusing their opponents. A political discourse is based on ideology and not on intimidation and life threats or vitriolic misogynistic behavior. Politics means you engage with your opponents too and don’t treat them your enemy. Never have we seen such abusive environment, which we are witnessing today. And rather than speaking a single sentence against such trolls we are told that some people are defaming the government and creating obstacle in the path of ‘development’. If you speak more the leaders are threatening to break our neck as they are trained for the same.

Can any democratic country allow the kind of training Bajrang Dal ‘volunteers’ are having and shockingly the governor of Uttar Pradesh Ram Naik justify that. What if some Muslim organisation is engaged in the same king training to protect the ‘nation’? Why has the government allowed such things to happen? Is national security endangered because of ‘external’ terrorism or minorities inside India or the activities of Hindu fanatics do not fall under that category of ‘threat’? Moreover, if any other minority group organizes such a camp, how would media make an issue and what would be the reactions of the ‘loudspeakers’?

Two years have passed. The paid media is doing its duty in the service of the master. There is little difference between Doordarshan and other private channels. In fact, Doordarshan seems to be better than those mercenaries who are making ‘news’ inside their studios. It look everything in India started two years back and all the predecessors were either corrupt or anti national. Speaking against the government or the party it heads has become the ‘anti national’ act. India is Indira has now converted into India is saffron or India is Sangh and Sangh is India. Whatsapp, Facebook are crowded with stories, which are being ‘constructed’ and meant to create confusion and division among people.

The dismissal of Uttarakhand government through dirty tricks was the worst that this government could do. It passed the Uttarakhand bill in the Parliament just a day before when the Assembly under instruction from the Supreme Court voted for Harish Rawat led government. The president of India failed but the Supreme Court and most importantly the High Court of Uttarakhand’s judgment on the issue as extraordinarily historical and a lesson for the government at the center to stop meddling in the internal affairs of other parties or to dislodge the governments of the opposition parties.

Assam’s victory has emboldened them further. With active media support, they are ‘determined’ to term it the ‘biggest’ victory despite dismal performance elsewhere. In Tamilnadu the BJP fielded 235 candidates and 232 lost their deposit. In Kerala they got a seat for the first time and in Bengal a few more so there is noting to boast too much.

The BJP and the Hindutva can console itself that India is getting ‘Congress-mukt’ but that is an illusion. One should never write an obituary of a politician or political party till it is buried completely. Secondly, Congress is the main opposition party in many places including the BJP ruled states. Third, a non Congress opposition to BJP will be more dangerous and detrimental to Hindutva than Congress party which can never afford to antagonize its upper caste vote bank. Congress survived because it provided a coalition of different castes and communities but now completely in the grip of brahmanical elite. In fact, Sangh is engaged in same identity politics, which it often condemned. The people of Kerala, Tamilnadu, Pondicherry and West Bengal have clearly rejected the ‘achche’ din sarkar which was not even remotely in picture in these states but media started ‘celebrating’ achche din and also pointed out if ‘elections’ are held today NDA would win over 342 seats. What can you say about these shameless mercenaries who masquerade as journalists and opinion makers. They will continue to do so and bombard you with their ‘opinion’ and corruption. This is the biggest corrupt practice in Indian political history. We must ban all political poll surveys and exit polls. These thugs want to confuse people and divide them. We can not defend these paid opinion makers in the name of ‘freedom of expression’. The election commission and political parties must wake up against these monster pollsters who are being used by moneybags to influence public opinion in India.

The scenario is changing in India. India cannot survive without coalition politics. It will have to be a coalition of Dalits, aadivasis, shudras, Muslims and other minorities. We must remember that Hindutva ascendency in power is basically brahmanical attempt to protect its citadel, which Congress failed to protect as it was losing shine. The war in India is open and unambiguous. It will be a war between the Manuwadi forces and all those who do not believe in it. So, a coalition is the need of the hour. People will respond. Bihar responded to the call and Uttar Pradesh goes to poll next year and it will probably decide the fate of India. If the Dalit Bahujan forces failed to unite and organize themselves, you will only find trolls of hate stronger and more intimidating. Right now they are celebrating ‘achche’ din yet uncertain of their future because of the rising Dalit assertion everywhere. It is time to get ready for Uttar Pradesh’s battle for 2017 as there lies the future of India once, that is controlled, by the Dalit Bahujan forces, we will definitely have ‘achche din’ in India in 2019.