Category Archives: Social Media

Yes, there are Hindutvavadi trolls on the Internet and elsewhere, but

In the morning I was reading this blog post on Kafila in which the writer attempts to explain why he signed a petition against death penalty for Ajabmal Kasab, one of the main accused of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. He wrote the blog post in response to a recent list of signatories released by the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena and due to that many people on Twitter and elsewhere approached the writer, asking him why he signed the petition, and also called him “traitor”.

From the credentials it is not clear whether the above-mentioned blog post was written by Shivam Vij (whom I’ve mistakenly ended up following on twitter) or Dilip D’suza (because I saw this name cropping up on my timeline);  these individuals have a certain type of “reputation”, but nonetheless, I believe in the central philosophy of the blog post – that we should oppose death sentence. But that’s another issue.

Unlike many on Twitter and blogsphere, I know that Hindutvavadi trolls exist. I myself have seen their unreasonable arguments – if at all you can call them arguments – and they can be really vicious, especially when they start making personal comments. In most of the cases though, the people of the above-mentioned “certain reputation” blow the degree of the problem out of proportions. Even if somebody asks them a few questions in quick succession, questioning their opinions and claims, they term him or her a troll, and block him or her.

Trolls can come from any ideology or opinion. They’re all over the Internet. If you ask my opinion, even people of the “certain reputation”, as mentioned above, can be termed as trolls by a section of people holding another, contrarian opinion. Most of the people running secular shops in the media, publishing industry and academic circles can easily be termed as trolls because they not only mob people having different opinions, they keep repeating the same stuff to make it seem real. So in most of the cases it is just a matter of perception. Interestingly, the word “troll” is mostly used by a certain section that feeds on fear mongering among minority communities. It is rarely used by the so-called Hindutvavadis.

Civilization and democracy cannot be selective

Last night suddenly there was a tweet from someone with the Twitter handle @NilimDutta (retweeted by @Vidyut) that the Dispur police had assaulted him and his family, and his ankles had been fractured. People quickly started retweeting and forwarding his tweets to influential people like @BDUTT and @PritishNandy. Whoever was online at that time pitched in and some people even called up the Dispur police to know exactly what was happening. Even the Minister of State, Home Affairs, @SinghRPN, pitched in and told people that he would look into the matter.

While all this was happening, a certain section of tweeple started tweeting about what a nefarious character @NilimDutta is and how he has multiple cases of fraud and cheating registered against him. None of these people, not even once, expressed shock at how the entire thing had been handled by the police. And many of these people wield ideological influence over their followers.

Without using the exact words, what they meant to say was, there was no need to reach out to him, as he more or less deserves what he has got.

My wife also told me (by no means she supports such tweeple) that @NilimDutta is a known “secular”, even to the extent of supporting the notorious Owaisi brothers of Hyderabad. Hence such an attitude for him.

Whatever is his standing in life, the way he is treated by the police, throws a reflection at our own attitude, not only towards our opponents, but also towards ourselves. What sort of society do we envisage for our country? That the police can enter someone’s house at 9:40 PM (as far as I know he is not a fugitive), break his bones and terrorize his family, and as long as it is happening to someone we dislike we can wallow in the cushions of schadenfreude?

Such tendencies, sadly or happily, come with poetic justice. Sooner or later, they catch up with you. Goon mentality doesn’t discriminate. A law based on lawlessness is unhealthy for not just our opponents, but also for ourselves, and also for our loved ones, our near and dear ones.

So at such moments we should keep differences aside, and focus on the bigger issue. If he is a criminal, as many claim, he should face the law, but certainly not in such lawless manner.