Friday, January 28, 2011

The age of digital intolerance

A storm has been brewing on the digital world specially the twitter for a long time. What would have started as a one-off case is now being seen more as a pattern. Actually not even a pattern but a methodical madness. It's been seen increasingly that people from the so-called 'right wing' have been getting into ugly scraps with media people, analysts and others. Some call this group as Internet Hindus and others call them RSS Storm Troopers. I object to both because both are highly biased and grossly generalised. So let's call them Right Wing Twitterati for simplicity.

B Raman, ex-civil servant and one of the leading analysts in the country, recently wrote this piece after his showdowns with the RWT - . Why has the digital world come to a point where a senior person has to write such an article. Let me make it clear that one ideological grounds, I have nothing common with him. I disagree with most of his analysis and am sure he too would never be comfortable with the ideological spectrum I represent.

It;s not only about B Raman but Sagarika Ghose, Barkha Dutt, Ranvir Shorey, Nikhil Wagle and many others have had their fights in the past. To be honest many of them actually enjoy provoking and then crying 'victim'. If you actually see the tweets from some of the people mentioned above, you will realise they have indulged in greater intolerance and provoked people. And when people have responded, they have gone on to brand the reaction as right wing attack. While I have no love lost for any of the people mentioned, I do feel that the RWTs are giving them a chance to brand them. If one stops for a minute and thinks, one will realise that Manish Tewari has been one of the most abusive people on the twitter. But his language was never questioned and nor was it called the Slave Brigade Crusade. Why the double standards on same problem? The people who are the Crybabies have to introspect and answer that. People like Sagarika, Wagle, Barkha, Nidhi should also respect the digital medium. On TV they were the kings and the queens, people had to lap up whatever they offered. But on digital world, they are nothing more than commoners. So when Sagarika calls someone a right wing jerk, she sould be ready to be called a media concubine. Similarly if Barkha questions someones integrity, she has to take the Radia potshots and Barkha should remember that the first case of online intolerance is creditted to her. No guerilla warfare please. Its the crazy internet jungle.

Coming to the RWTs, I have always maintained that RSS suffers the most from its fringe elements because already biased media loves to potray the loonies are the rule rather than exceptions. In one twitter exchange with Nikhil Wagle I asked him if he thinks RSS is all fanatics or would he also recall people like Atalji, Nanaji Deshmukh, Bhideji, Rambhau Mhalgi.. all great thinkers and people with extraordinary integrity. When RSS has lakhs of such noteworthy people, why should we give our opponents the chance to strengthen their biases and remember us only for anarchy? RWTs have to understand that you never win an argument by shouting, you win it by sheer strength of your content. Arun Jaitleyji famously says if your message is powerful, no one will ignore it. So rather than getting personal or abusive, letshave the right amount of ideological conviction and reason in our tweets. As far as frustrations and anger over biases goes, I will use one of the lines I like in life - Gussa badi kameeni cheez hain, sahi waqt pe istemaal hua to kamaal nahin to sirf bawaal.

And what do I tell to people like Mr. Raman or Sagarika or Barkha or Nikhil Wagle? Well, just one thing, the RWTs are not some aliens. They are a passionate, patriotic bunch of our own people. We talk about Aman ki Asha and Global Village but if we cant co-exist with our own people inspite of ideological differences, then we all are equally intolerant. And it wont be long bfore this intolerance reaches the real world too.


  1. When do we get to see a journalist take up the case of ABUSE BY NON RIGHT WINGERS?

  2. Bravo Jiten

    Must say th best answer to this absolutely childish incident.

    If you disagree with someone you either unfollow,block the person.

    As somebody rightly said "why are people so angry?" Find an answer to that and you will understand it.

    I took to the internet, when I realised that there is no forum, where I can voice my objection,vent my anger.

    The blame lies with the sham democracy we live in today. We can accept lying,cheating,conniving government at the same time we will not allow the opposition to come to power till the time it is whistle clean.

    India today has classes & masses, these so called articulate class people are in complete disconnect with reality, they don't know (or want to know) why elections are lost, how. Some analysis by supposedly right wing bloggers are horrendous.

    I am hurt by being labelled as a storm trooper or an Internet Anarchist, practice what you preach.

  3. very apt, because this is not a fake, regulated environ from which the mediaratti are used to operating from, they don't know how to deal with it.

    when it's a level playing field, those that come up with rational arguments are bound to prevail, and these fakers are not prepared for it.

  4. Branding, name-calling..etc are what kids do. What's the difference between B.Raman and his critics? If he calls his critics "RSS guys" and compare them with 'Nazis' and 'fascists' without even bothering whether they acknowledge it or not then they will surely come back to him with similar words like "Sonia's man".

    Before he "brand" others he should be ready to get "branded". His holier-than-thou attitude is also responsible for his misery.