I am not that active on Facebook, though it has got nothing to do with Cambridge Analytica or my friends putting up pictures of their wedding, honeymoon, and then babies. Actually, those images bring smile to my face. This has often led me to wonder why such behaviour by many on Facebook irritate others.
What irritates me on Facebook is not baby pictures, but political talk. I think Twitter is better place for that. Political debates on Twitter can be toxic, but strangely I feel at ease talking politics there, with a name that did not read “Amit Kelkar”. Maybe because of that only. A different name made me a different person, maybe! With my real name, I avoid debating politics or ideology on social media, lest things become too heated.
I can be bracketed into what is commonly defined as “right-wing” in such debates. In short, I like individual freedom, especially economic, but I have a strong sense of belonging to the Hindu culture. I am not willing to be pushed into being ashamed of my culture or identity because some agenda driven talking heads want me to. However, I oppose any draconian step by the state to curtail individual freedom in name of culture or religion.
To explain my political and ideological stand better, let me give an example. I don’t think eating beef should be made a crime as per the law of the land, for food choices primarily fall under individual freedom. I will, under no circumstances, support any hooliganism or violence over beef eating, and I will demand that such hooligans be put behind bars if they barge into someone’s private property and beat up someone for eating beef.
However, I will support community driven attempts, including attempts like calls for economic boycott, which discourages beef eating. This goes without saying that the attempts I will support should not be in contravention of the law of the land. For example, call for an economic boycott of a restaurant that serves beef is entirely legitimate. Furthermore, I am not willing to hang my shame due to reports about gau-rakshaks breaking laws, because firstly, I’ve already demanded that a law breaker should be put behind bars, and secondly, I believe that these stories about gau-rakshak violence are often those incidents where cattle smugglers – incidentally majority of them belonging to a particular community – are painted as victims to push a particular narrative.
Now with such a stand, I should not fear putting across my thoughts in public, especially on social media, for there is nothing illegitimate or hateful about them. But I avoid. Because there are some self-declared liberals in my social circle on Facebook, who will vitiate the atmosphere and try to provoke me into saying something outrageous, so that they can shift focus away from my original arguments. It is very challenging not to get provoked, and very taxing to survive such people. Hence, I thought it better to avoid talking politics on Facebook.
Earlier this week, when I logged into Facebook – an activity that is becoming less and less frequent due to toxic liberals – I saw an article shared by a liberal ‘friend’ of mine on my timeline. This article was from the website The Wire and was titled “Once Upon a Time in a Land That Was Secular”.
My liberal friend had shared it with his comment “Fantastic! Couldn’t agree more. This is exactly what all of us should be doing.” In the comments section on his wall, other liberals were agreeing religiously, or should I say, secularly?
Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link to read the article to discover that feeling that binds all liberals together. I was aghast.
The article was basically a call to liberals to abuse and humiliate anyone who dares to have a dissenting view. The trick that liberals use to further this abusive behaviour is of using labels. The article had similarly painted any dissenting view as “bigotry”, but it betrayed its real message – that anyone who holds his Hindu identity close to his heart has to be abused and humiliated, even if that person is someone from your social circle.
The article was written by someone who incidentally did not use his real name, and perhaps that is why it was easier for that person to give a call for abuse and silence of dissent. But what was shocking was the way everyone on Facebook was furiously agreeing to this.
It was not just my liberal friend and his Facebook wall, when I checked last, that article was ‘liked’ by over 13000 people on Facebook within five days of publishing. Frightening number of people cheering crushing of dissent.
The article did not made any elaborate arguments or used flowery language – small mercies – but gave a story about how the writer and his other liberal friends threw choicest of abuses on a friend called Gopi back in 1992 when Babri Masjid was demolished. The writer took pride that this abuse is something that kept “bigotry” of Gopi under check. Then the writer continued the story and talked about another friend Jyothish, and rued that he and his liberal friends failed to abuse Jyothish in a similar fashion, due to which Jyothish these days is sharing “Sanghi” messages on Facebook and WhatsApp.
The pro-abuse article, stinking with pompousness and self-conceit, argued:
“For too long, we have allowed our uncles, aunts, cousins, friends and coworkers to get away with bigotry because we did not want to upset relationships. Our silence is encouraging them. It makes them believe that it is okay, it is acceptable, to display bigotry. Our passivity, our silence, is not merely harmless inaction but it is outright complicity.”
Nice attempt by the writer to camouflage his own intolerance with colourful though simple words, but in simpler language this is what he had written – abuse and attack anyone who dares to differ from our point of view, even if it means spoiling some relationships or backstabbing a colleague. We must push these people into silence, or they must pay a heavy price for dissent.
The article betrayed a thought process, which has evidentially become very popular with the liberals, that verbal abuse and organised attack is justified, if you, in your mind, think that you are doing it for some noble cause – in this case, to check bigotry.
On what moral grounds then the same people have problems with “trolls”? Trolls also abuse and aim to push people into silence because in their mind they are supporting a noble cause – love for their country, self-respect of their social group, and so on.
However, the biggest issue with the article that has found so much love and acknowledgement among liberals is not justification of verbal abuse, but support of silencing of dissent. If someone has differing political or social ideology, label them as “bigot” and “Sanghi” and then you are free to abuse them, even if they are your colleagues and relatives. This is basically a ploy to push people into silence and win the narrative war.
And I realised that, well, this is exactly what they have done to me. I don’t use Facebook for politics because I have been pushed into silence. And now they are openly saying that more and more people must be pushed into silence. They are justifying this intolerance and organised attack by painting dissenting views as “bigotry”.
This talk about bigotry is bunkum, and I will tell you why. The writer of the article talked about 1992 Babri Mosque demolition, and he declared that any support for the act of bringing down the mosque has to be “bigotry”. I am pretty sure that the writer will not find it bigoted when Amnesty India person declared support for attack on Brahmins and forcibly cutting off their janeus.
My liberal friend, who had shared the article, had justified it and thus I am sure that the writer of the article will justify it too, because one thing you can be assured of in the liberal circles is lack of plural thoughts – all of them have to think in the same way.
Anyway, coming back to what my liberal friend said justifying violence against Brahmins; he argued that janeu symbolised the caste oppression and thus it should go. He further said that janeu was just an inanimate thing, why should cutting it be seen as an act of violence?
Back then, I had retreated from that debate, which incidentally happened on Facebook. But today I ask him; If cutting janeu and attacking Brahmins is justified, why should demolishing the Babri Mosque be not?
Babri Mosque was a more inanimate thing than janeu. It was not even operational and no prayers were performed when it was brought down. Nobody died under the debris after it was pulled down. On the contrary, forcibly cutting off a janeu can cause physical harm to the one who wears it. Furthermore, if janeu symbolises caste oppression, Babri symbolised centuries of mass murders, rapes, plunder, humiliation, and persecution of Hindus. Why should eradicating one symbol is acceptable but another bigotry?
This is just one example. My point is simple – everything that these liberals argue as being “bigotry” can be equally applied to everything they say and practice. They are as much bigoted as any “Sanghi”. And even as they flaunt their bigotry, they have now declared that they will push you into silence if you speak up your mind.
And I realised that I what The Wire article argued in the aforementioned paragraph was actually more applicable to the right-wing in India.
For long, we have allowed these “liberals” to push us into silence. We don’t debate them on Facebook or in family WhatsApp groups because we fear we will upset them and it will have a strain on the relationship. But just read what they are celebrating and sharing. They don’t even value that relationship.
Whether you are uncles, aunts, cousins, friends or coworkers of such a liberal, for him, you are just a bigot who should be abused. A bigot who has to be shamed into silence. All for having a contrary point of view.
Coincidentally around the same time I came across this incident where liberals were laughing and condoning abuses, which included rape and murder threats, to a Sadhvi because she said “bigoted” things. How long will it take liberals from justifying verbal threats of rape and murder to cheering actual rapes and murders? Your liberal friend on Facebook is dangerously close to that now. Political violence is now no longer a strategy acceptable only among communists in Kerala and Bengal. Your Facebook friend will support your murder too if he thinks you are “bigoted” and “Sanghi”.
Through this article, I call up my fellow right-wingers to stop caring about relationship with these liberals, for they don’t care about you. Have some self-respect. Kick these haters out of your life.
I have especially seen a few people on Twitter who believe in dialogue and reaching out to the other side for a meaningful debate. My advice to them is – don’t waste your time. Liberals are not interested in listening to your voices. They are interested in your silence, preferably as a dead body.
Did you just think I overreacted? No. This is what The Wire article concludes with:
“Call them a bigot and tell them that they are a cancer that needs to just f^%k off from your life. This is a war and it is high time we draw those lines and take sides.”
I want to say thanks to the anonymous writer, you have shown the direction a right winger should take.
High time these liberals are called bigot and treated as a cancer that must be fu*ked out of our lives. This is a war, and we must treat it as a war.
On my part, I’ve decided to block my liberal friend on Facebook, but not before I’ve called up for a weekend hangout. There, I’m gonna show the bas***d what piece of sh*t he is, and literally throw him out of my house if he continues to paint his bigotry as liberalism.
Can’t wait for the weekend.
And a wholehearted thanks to The Wire.
The war has begun, and you’ve gifted a soldier to the right-wing.
a Pune based IT professional with keen interest in politics