Virtue Signalling is a term used to describe the statement/action of a particular person, who issues a statement aimed at ‘flaunting’ how morally upright he or she is compared to others. This is often done to appear politically correct and win ‘liberal’ brownie points.
Such instances of virtue signalling regularly surface on Twitter, and yesterday was one such day when the virtue signallers descended as a swarm with their full might.
On Wednesday, Congress got into a bit of a swamp after social media became rife with reports of Rahul Gandhi’s name entered in a register meant for non-Hindus before visiting the famous Somnath temple in Gujarat. Later the Congress clarified this ‘gaffe’ by causing extra confusion, and then took things to the next level by calling Rahul a “Janeu dhaari Hindu”.
So the question was — does it matter in politics what religion Rahul Gandhi follows? The virtue signallers were ready with the answer:
Faith is a deeply personal matter. How does it matter if @OfficeOfRG is Hindu or Muslim or non-believer? It is his business & no one else’s. And is this the most important issue in the Gujarat election? One man’s faith or the lack of it? #SomnathTemple
— Zakka Jacob (@Zakka_Jacob) November 29, 2017
Is Rahul Gandhi a Hindu? The only correct answer is: It Does Not Matter. #RahulGandhi #Hindu
— Seema Goswami (@seemagoswami) November 29, 2017
Repeat after me if you can: Religion should be kept out of politics.
— Nitin Pai (@acorn) November 29, 2017
The biggest problem with such statements is that, these same virtue signallers don’t shy away from bringing in religion when they find it convenient.
Take the case of the same Zakka Jacob who here is clearly seen analysing elections via a religious angle:
Also lowest turnout inside walled city. Chandni chowk, Balimaran, Matia Mahal…Muslims not enthused. Will only help BJP. #govote
— Zakka Jacob (@Zakka_Jacob) February 7, 2015
Also Seema Goswami had herself accused PM Modi of not taking proper care of Muslim sentiments:
May be a good idea to wish Indian Muslims as well, no? https://t.co/hH9OplIKvy
— Seema Goswami (@seemagoswami) June 16, 2015
Apart from religion these people also can’t stop talking about caste, which is another identity like religion:
This so shocking. No matter how good the social indices, caste remains a huge prob in TN. https://t.co/b3DNM4vSpf
— Zakka Jacob (@Zakka_Jacob) March 14, 2016
Caste chauvinism disguised as Hindu nationalism disguised as patriotism. That’s perhaps behind a politician’s call to rename a road.
— Nitin Pai (@acorn) May 17, 2016
Hypocrisy aside, which is an essential ingredient for being a ‘liberal’ in India, these people were questioned as to why they can’t stop talking about caste, but have a problem the moment religion is mentioned:
What about caste ? Notice how these religion tweets carefully avoid identity politics – just Anti one kind of identity politics https://t.co/3AaAmmaYzu
— Abhijit Iyer-Mitra (@Iyervval) November 30, 2017
Thanks to the identity politics promoted by people of certain ideology, everything matters! Religion more than most other things….. https://t.co/dWrzfmAQTK
— Gappistan Radio (@GappistanRadio) November 29, 2017
People desperate to point out to you that your arguments are result of you being upper caste Hindu male will desperately be telling you today that one’s religion is immaterial in shaping one’s sociopolitical views.
— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) November 29, 2017
People further highlighted not just their blissful acceptance of ‘caste’ being an essential part of Indian politics, but how religion indeed has been an essential part of Indian politics. Users pointed out how for dynasty loyalists, it doesn’t matter when Rahul Gandhi is involved:
People outraging over it should know that Manish Tiwari from Congress accused the government of not rescuing Father Tom Uzhunnali from ISIS because of his religion. He of course returned safely. So stop this bull shit idealism. Politics in India is like this. Accept it! https://t.co/OSGGQUFA3O
— Rahul Sharma (@Biorahul) November 30, 2017
This template is good. But then why is BJP asked before every elections how many tickets it has given to Muslims? Surely religion of every politician is his business alone and should not matter for public? Or is this convenient rule only for Rahul Gandhi? https://t.co/wVFvEPONfx
— Akhilesh Mishra (@amishra77) November 29, 2017
there are religions that support things expressly forbidden by Indian law. If upholding the constitution is primary responsibility of a politician, it is imp to know the faith he/she believes in and the extent to which he/she believes. e.g. catholicism and abortion. https://t.co/PzqnUwLGmE
— mayurwrites (@freentglty) November 30, 2017
Use religion as a basic unit of welfare delivery. Build an educational regime that privileges or discriminates based on god one prays to. Pass religion based laws. Interfere in temples. And then keep asking – Why should religion matter in public discourse? Bloody hypocrites.
— Prasanna Viswanathan (@prasannavishy) November 29, 2017
Such a glaring disparity in what these Virtue Signallers practice and preach, itself goes out to prove that neither politics nor caste are issues which can be alienated from politics. Religion, like caste, influences people’s worldview and any attempt to say that it doesn’t matter is an attempt to brush uncomfortable issues beneath the carpet.
Repeat after me if you can : Religion should be kept out of politics when it gets uncomfortable. https://t.co/nDgkWU5voQ
— Nandini (@_NAN_DINI) November 30, 2017