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Will we, won’t we?

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In this era of identity politics and fake/paid news, the argumentative Indian is drifting herself back into her not-so-open-to-arguments shell.

I am practising abstinence from WhatsApp but I like to keep the updates whatsoever. I have seen WhatsApp’s changing utility over time. Friends discussing plans to meet up at a place, or those morning, evening, night doses of forwards — WhatsApp has been a one-stop solution.

But today, you can easily relate our once innocent friend being drifted into an online ‘war’ (with the least clue about who is fighting whom). It has become that child who is made a scapegoat by parents for blurting out emotional tensions.

A clip and a queen

My father, who happens to be an active user of social media, recently received a video clip. It related to the ‘history’ of the legendary queen we suddenly claim to know all about. The content, which had everything except the history, was a blend of provocation, false claims and made-up truth. On being asked, the serial forwarder defended it: “If we ourselves won’t preserve the culture of India, who else will?”, while he took a sip of tea probably, ‘broadcasting’ the message to a group of 50 others. Was the clip a legitimate one? No. Was he actually interested in knowing the truth? Obviously not. Clearly, his view was a reflection of most Indians who dwell in this closed shell of the post-truth era.

First, our culture doesn’t base its roots on forwarded messages. Secondly, it has never commanded us to prove its legitimacy. It stands for itself.

India has had an era of social reforms back in the 19th and 20th century. The problem is that people tend to forget about the notion of social reform — that it is a continuous process and not a one-time happening. Our failure to understand the concept is clearly visible when we limit social reforms to a particular period. Today, there’s a dire need for a reform — to wipe out the perils of blind adherence and mindless extremism — and no! we won’t be led by the likes of Raja Ram Mohan Roy or Jyotiba Phule because we are in a crowd where each one needs to be a leader. The change has to come from within.

bhoomikeshwala09@gmail.com

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 7:37:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/will-we-wont-we/article21381827.ece

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