There are two worlds made of silicon. The online and the offline world. Both are run by the same set of 206 bones, and both are fairly overpopulated with thoughts and ideas, which no one asks for.
.It is the overbearing reach of the former, which threatens to become a problem for the latter. This is to say, that the online hatred originating from the online world will soon percolate into the offline world.
As India progresses with democracy, it will become far more important, than it is today, to understand and accept views of all kinds, without labeling the other party a hate monger, rioter, prostitute, or a boot-licking stooge. To be excruciatingly correct, there is hardly any effect of the online silicon world on the offline silicon world.
Those who wield some influence online will disagree, but statistics point out in the opposite direction. That is the case for now. It is most likely to be falsified in the next ten years. That is when we have to prepare.
Why? Because, in the next ten years, the distinction between both the online and offline worlds will fade before ten year old kids differentiate between love and infatuation.
A recent unfortunate incident that happened in the physical silicon world, and later transcended into a mud-slinging competition in the virtual silicon world is what forces me to write this piece.
On the 26th of this month, a dentist Dr. Pankaj Narang was attacked by a mob of 10-12 people, after a minor scuffle over some issue.
The dentist later succumbed to his injuries, but the social media was already aflame with rumors and bickering of all kinds.
While some said the doctor died as he was lynched by the mob after his small son threw Holi color on some Muslims, others said that it was a cricket ball that caused the outrage and the attackers are Bangladeshi immigrants who were upset about India’s victory over their nation.
A third claim paints now deceased Dr. Narang as the good samaritan who tried to stop young bikers from excesses on the road and in the heat of the moment, slapped a biker, seized his motorcycle and the keys.
Some stories claim he ran around the neighborhood, pleading for his life, asking to be forgiven, while other claims say he was killed in front of his young son.
While a doctor lost his life, a child lost his father, a mother lost her son, and a wife lost her husband, the social media celebrities, who reside in palm-sized self-appointed abodes, as guardians of this galaxy, took to fighting each other and play the blame game.
Little do they realize, they are doing the same lynching, except that there is no blood here to act as proof of the injury.
A few people, as is the ritual, were made the scapegoat, and labeled ‘communal’, ‘jerk’, a ‘hare-brained vitriol’, and ‘what happens when gutter comes to life. Utter shameless creature.’
BJP SM supporters like @bhak_sala tried to communalize tragic death of Dr Narang.
Will action b taken against him? pic.twitter.com/eVxTuBjInL
— Ankit Lal (@AnkitLal) March 27, 2016
FIR shud be filed against @bhak_sala for trying to instigate Communal tensions. #BJPPolarizingDelhi pic.twitter.com/6eSrkKBpRk
— Mehul Choradiya (@ChoradiyaMehul) March 27, 2016
This is one side of the debate led by intellectuals, newspaper columnists, comedians, and well-read people, who sometimes head the social media teams of national parties. This is the side of debate where people want the dissident to be persecuted for voicing his/her opinion.
This is the side of debate where you dare say anything that the other person does not want to listen to. This is that side of the argument that makes you a villain, a vamp, the greatest ever to have lived on this planet since the early humans learned to make fire.
@sareen_prashant This @bhak_sala guy is what happens when gutter comes to life. Utter shameless creature. @manabhardwaj
— Pepe: The Rare Frog (@NotThatLebowski) March 27, 2016
@AnkitLal @ChoradiyaMehul @bhak_sala मुल्ले के लंड की पैदाइश हो तुम सबके सब रंडी की औलादों
— Kattar_Hindu (@AdityaSSingh1) March 27, 2016
The other side of this internet is no less. Choicest of abuses, in the crude mother tongue, is a common defense mechanism used by this other team. The moment you call out their bluff, be ready for a volley of slang that you could only imagine cultivating in your dreams.
If you are ‘lucky’ enough, there shall be a hashtag to popularize you. But the juggernaut does not stop here. It is then followed by digging of the past, relations, your affairs with the maid, your bank account number, your bra size, sexual preference, and whatnot.
So far as media houses were concerned, they posted a varied account of the same. Some reported communal angle, some denied and some believed the DCP’s angle of not calling it communal riots unless this happened!
Massive row over DCP’s clean chit. Police chief miffed with DCP who ruled out ‘communal angle’ in Vikaspuri murder https://t.co/EQsnmepFtH
— NewsX (@NewsX) March 28, 2016
What people from either side always forget is that ‘my-spouse-is-not-me’ applies, and the political inclinations of the husband need not be true for his wife, or vice versa and applicable for any relationship.
With such language being used, one has to thank the stars of this nation that these people do not have any say in the day to day politics and offline matters, or else there would be tension prevalent 24×7. Everyone here seems like a miniature version of that news anchor, famous for holding weekly outshouting contests.
The only difference is that the latter rakes in a huge sum as his salary. And he is doing his job, openly and shamelessly. He is not wrong. Others? Well, they need to peek inside themselves and wonder what in the devil’s lounge are they up to.
The reason I am naming a few because though this actually no holds importance or influence any event in the real world today, the situation may be different, like I said, in ten years. And ten years is not that far away. For now, this virtual world is at best contained within wires, and at times trickles down to television channel debates.
The problem is alarming even now. Learned journalists, who lead reputed news websites fall prey to the ‘this article will get us clicks’ virus, and give importance to debates from either side.
In my opinion, it does not warrant such attention. Sure, as long as it is just plain humor, with or without any intention, it is good. Enjoy all the frolicking in the sea as long as you wish to. I do too. Guilty as charged. And herein lies the segregation. That, it is for fun. And that we need a sense of humor today, more than ever.
As for the truth, like always, it will not come to the forefront. The truth, like always, will not be the first bother of the netizens. Even if the ‘fact’ comes out in the public domain, the right party will use to as a catapult to further their position, while the other ‘accused’, will get down to the ‘where were you when so and so happened’ routine. Unfortunately, neither helps.
It’s ironic that almost both the parties on the internet, the left-wing and the right-wing, the biased and the neutral quote Voltaire, who perhaps said ‘I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.’
Mr. Voltaire, if you could kindly turn in your grave. Now, please!