Perhaps, the biggest bane of our times is the Twitter activism or the social media activism by privileged individuals, who instead of using the resources at their disposal for alleviating the problems bedevilling the country, indulge in exploiting the miseries of the less fortunates so as to ridicule the government.
While the country is reeling under the double whammy of migrant crisis as well as expanding coronavirus outbreak, some left liberal vultures have indulged in scavenger activism, feeding on the dead bodies of the poor and helpless migrants, as a cover to slam their bete noire-the Modi government.
Privileged left-liberal journalists are deviously portraying themselves as the hapless migrants who had endured considerable hardships and travails to reach where they are. A Twitter campaign #MeTooMigrant has been launched by these bunch of elite individuals where members of the coterie recounted their story of migration and identify themselves as “migrants”, notwithstanding the conspicuous privilege that oozed through their tales of migration.
The Twitter campaign comes on the heels of the migrant crisis that has suddenly erupted in India after the extension of coronavirus lockdown. The issue came to the fore when migrant labours, most of whom are hand-to-mouth labours surviving on their daily wages, having lost their means of earning due to the coronavirus lockdown, made a desperate call to the government to arrange for their travel back home.
Heeding the appeals made by the migrant workers and in view with the threat posed by coronavirus, the central government along with the state governments had decided to run trains to transport the workers back to their native places. While the 85 per cent cost of the travel was borne by the Centre, along with providing food, water and other essential items to the migrants during their journey, there were some cases where the state governments, especially non-BJP governments in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Kerala, had made the beleaguered migrants pay for their travel.
In addition, the death of migrant workers crushed by the barreling train in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad exacerbated the gloom surrounding the migrant crisis in the country amidst the pandemic. The tragedy of the migrant workers, who lived thousands of kilometres away from their native houses and barely managed to eke out a living, was put to use by elite left-liberal journalists and political analysts who unabashedly attempted to hijack the issue of migrants by deceptively projecting themselves as migrants.
Controversial journalist Rohini Singh, who is often mocked on Twitter as an arm-chair critic perennially wallowing in whataboutery, dishonestly associated herself with the migrants by claiming that she too is a migrant as she left the city of Lucknow a long back for her studies and ever since has been in Delhi.
Another journalist associated with the left-wing rag ‘The Wire’, Arfa Khanum Sherwani, notorious for shielding the Islamists and peddling anti-Hindu propaganda, also joined on Twitter to declare herself as a migrant who had left her hometown Khurja 20 years ago and “gave her best years” to Delhi
In fact, propagandist Congress masquerading as an “unbiased” political analyst, Gaurav Pandhi, who has a chequered history of sharing fake news and making misleading assertions, quoted Rohini to assert how he has been a migrant who came to Delhi from Chandigarh more than a decade ago and since then has been there.
Another nondescript journalist, Mitali Mukherjee, also shamelessly trivialised the migrant worker’s ordeal by equating her privilege with them. Going generations back, Mukherjee claimed that her forebears had been migrants who had come from Bangladesh and Pakistan and settled in India.
The story of how she had been a migrant ever since she left her hometown Lucknow was shared by ‘journalist’ Stutee Mishra who claimed she had left Lucknow 6 years ago and studied and worked in Mumbai and is currently in Noida/Delhi from the last 2 years.
By claiming themselves to be migrants, the left-liberal journalists are not only distorting the meaning of migrant workers, but they are also minimising the sufferings and tribulations endured by the migrant labours, who travel to distant places to mitigate their financial woes and lead a dignified life. In the face of profound economic challenges, the migrant workers see no option but to leave all their loved ones behind in search of a steady source of income. However, the bird-brained left-liberals believe that the luxury of hopscotching from one city to another in search of better education and a better job prospect can match in gravity the immeasurable hardships borne by the migrant workers.
The luxury of shifting one’s location for higher studies or for a higher-paying job may technically be called migration but it cannot certainly be equated with the trials and tribulations suffered by the low-wage migrant workers for whom earning on a daily basis is not only a necessity but a stark reality.
There is a popular notion- “noblesse oblige” which means “privilege entails responsibility”. However, for the Indian left-wing ecosystem, it has a distorted connotation. They want to continue enjoying the privileges that they had inherited but they don’t want to acknowledge it publically. Nor do they want to discharge their responsibilities. All that they care is to preserve their privilege and elitism. It is to this end that they indulge in scavenger activism and deceitfully champion the cause of migrant workers.