For most of us, it all started in 2013 when Narendra Modi was named the prime ministerial candidate for 2014 General Elections – the whole losing friends to political ideology bit. But back then, Twitter was still gaining popularity and Instagram was not here yet. So the name calling was not as fierce.
Now, of course, things are different. With misinformation and propaganda available on fingertips, almost everyone of us has had that one ‘woke’ friend who blocked us everywhere for ‘being a Bhakt and fascism enabler’.
These things will broadly fall into these five scenarios. Let us analyse them one by one.
‘You hate Muslims’
Apparently, asserting your identity as a Hindu is now being interpreted as you hate Muslims. When it is far from reality. Here is a sample conversation:
Friend: Why does Modi hate Muslims?
Me: How did you conclude that?
Friend: CAA is anti-Muslims.
Me: It does not affect Muslims. It is for persecuted religious minorities, like Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, in three neighbouring Islamic countries who are seeking Indian citizenship. It only fast-tracks it.
Friend: But why deny Muslims citizenship? Why leave so many Indian Muslims stateless?
Me: Who denied? CAA does not affect Indians, Hindus or Muslims.
Friend: What about Muslims from Pakistan? Why not give them citizenship?
Me: Why would Muslims face religious persecution in countries which identify themselves as Muslim nation?
Friend: Shut up, you Nazi.
‘Jai Shree Ram is a war cry’
You will always find your ‘woke’ friends speaking about incidents where the victim, usually a Muslim man, claims that he was attacked, beaten up and ‘forced to chant Jai Shree Ram’. Recently, one Arif Khan in Haryana was killed over old rivalry, but Twitter influencers including a Bollywood film scriptwriter who has worked with celebrities like Karan Johar, claimed that he was ‘forced’ to chant Jai Shree Ram. It turned out to be a case of old political rivalry where one gang took ‘revenge’ on him for beating them up few weeks prior.
Of course, Khan should not have been murdered and law should have taken its course, but ‘Jai Shree Ram war cry’ was a villain.
Here is how a sample conversation with a friend will go:
Friend: Hindutva terrorists are killing Muslims for not chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’.
Me: Lot of these news are fake. Also, aren’t you the one who also vehemently insists terrorism has no religion?
Friend: Shut up, Bhakt.
Why Mandir? Why not hospital?
Since the Supreme Court judgement, a lot of friends have been critical of Hindus rejoicing at the construction of Ram Mandir at Ram Janmabhoomi. An illegal structure often referred to as Babri Masjid stood where Ram Mandir was demolished by the Mughals. So when the decades-long dispute ended, the ‘liberal’ Hindus were upset.
Friend: Why Mandir? Indian economy is in pits, we need schools and hospitals, not Mandirs.
Me: Why not have them all? If Hindus want a temple, let them. Schools, hospitals can come up at various places in India. For one to happen, other does not need to stop.
Friend: Shut up, you Hindutva supremacist.
Mughals made India
Friend: Mughals gifted us wonderful architecture. Your hate for Muslims is stopping you from seeing the beauty they gave us.
Me: They also unleashed violence: rape, forced religious conversion.
Friend: They gave us Taj Mahal.
Me: They also destroyed and looted our temples. Somnath was looted by barbaric invaders so many times. How can you whitewash the crimes only for ‘beautiful structures’
Friend: Why do you only see negative things?
Me: Know Sis Ganj Sahib Gurudwara? It marks the place where Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded on Aurangzeb’s order for trying to save Kashmiri Pandits from religious persecution. It is not called ‘seeing negative’ but facts.
Friend: Shut up, you hater.
‘Modi sent people to graves’
One of the recurring themes these days is the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. No country in the world, including China perhaps, was prepared for the pandemic. The scale at which it has affected us is unprecedented. Of course, as the head of the nation it is indeed the prime minister who has to step in to assure the citizens that we’ll all be safe. Having said that, it is a collective responsibility as well. Everyone, including state governments, opposition leaders, corporates have to pitch in to help us all sail through.
Except, we live in such times that hate for Modi is so intense that some opposition leaders would rather have their people die by spreading misinformation, vaccine hesitancy instead of being united. Here is how conversations go:
Friend: Modi has sent people to graves.
Me: Second wave indeed catch us unawares. Everyone is collectively responsible for letting our guards down.
Friend: But Modi should have not ignored warnings.
Me: You went to Goa for vacation in February, just before second wave. Modi should have stopped you.
Friend: What about oxygen crisis in Delhi? Why didn’t your Modi do anything?
Me: Oxygen supply was ramped up on war footing. You do know that oxygen was being supplied to Delhi too but Kejriwal never arranged for transportation till court had to intervene and ask Centre to take charge?
Friend: Stop putting it on Kejriwal? Modi is the PM.
Me: Kejriwal and other chief ministers wanted more freedom and liberty to take decisions on how to handle pandemic and vaccination in their own states. If states want to handle it on their own and Centre has allowed it, state needs to take charge, unless they ask Centre to intervene again. Which is also what happened with vaccines. States wanted to procure them on their own, then they couldn’t and now Centre will procure for them. You cry ‘fascism’ if Modi does not let states take charge and also cry ‘fascism’ when he lets Centre take charge. You can’t play on both sides.
Friend: Yes, yes, you go drink cow urine instead of vaccine.
Me: How many Hindus do you personally know who consume cow urine? Do you know radical Islamist terrorists have used the ‘gau mutra’ jibe before carrying out terror attacks against Indians? How do you feel comfortable in speaking the language of a terrorist?
Friend: Shut up, you BJP IT Cell.
And that’s the way the cookie crumbles
That’s how it is. You try to speak to them logically, you get called names. There are gau mutra jibes thrown in when they have nothing to argue on. You get called a Nazi for trying to reason with them. And finally, you get blocked on all social media platforms so that they can then put up an Instagram story for their other ‘woke’ friends how they blocked a ‘Sanghi’.
They draw their primary information from so-called activists on Instagram and with attention span of a goldfish, most do not care to get into the depth of the situation. They perceive things because it ‘sounds right’ not because it is factual. That’s how you are losing your friends. To wokeism.
Btw, this ‘Sanghi’, too, never went to a Shakha.