The tweeple versus sanity
Ah political trolls on social media. Gotta love em.
A few days ago, BJP supporters set in motion their dream to make history in 2014 by doing something that has long been thought impossible; they made the Internet even stupider than it already was; a staggering feat when you consider that this is a network of people that spent the previous week hosting an impromptu Alok Nath cultural revival.
Before we go further, I would like to pause this piece here to wave goodbye to all the BJP supporters who have already set off for the comments section (in a rath) to shout at me for being a Congress agent who was paid in 2G spectrum left on my dresser by Rahul Gandhi as he left my flat in Adarsh society in a damaged Aston Martin whose accident Manmohan Singh confessed to. I just want to say, you are all wrong, I am not on the Congress’ payroll. For starters, they don’t pay half as well as the ISI.
Earlier this week, social giant Twitter appointed Raheel Khursheed, formerly of Change.org as its head of News, Politics and Governance in India. I assume this is an important job because there is a comma in the title. Khursheed’s Twitter (@RaheelK) bio describes him as an entrepreneur dreamer photographer foodie Simply Complicated n Complicatedly Simple gal #YOLO “equal opportunity offender”.
I’ve followed him over the last few years, and in his personal capacity as a tweeter, I’ve found him to be forthright, clear-eyed, and opinionated. And that last one is what galls BJP supporters, because Khursheed isn’t a huge fan of the right-wing in the same way that Narendra Modi isn’t a huge fan of Rahul Gandhi. BJP supporters want Khursheed fired effective two hours ago, arguing that he will misuse his personal political views to shape social media opinion against BJP supporters, which is the sort of argument that probably makes complete sense in your head when you’re a BJP supporter.
There are few things in India as tedious as political supporters with Internet access; they’re like IRCTC with voter ID, and this applies to parties across the board. But to watch an online right-winger at work is to witness trolling as performance art. It’s like watching a Roger Federer set, if Roger Federer had been dropped as a baby into a vat of bad grammar and viral meningitis. Anything perceived as anti-NaMo is attacked with the sort of righteous, praise-the-lord-and-pass-the-ammunition fury that only the truly ignorant are capable of. Example:
Not sure what to make of Modi’s apologetic blog-post
Dei Congi, RaGa ass lick.
Me: Wonder what Modi’s stance on the AAP is
NaMo and me.
Will live under the sea.
When we do shaadi.
I will make him tea.
Heart Made of Emoji.
Me: Anyone want to get a drink?
Wen Alok Nath born, doctor say “Badhaai, Babuji paida hue hai” LOLJK, Im in ur house, ur family is die #Pappu
The right-wing’s delusional trolling of Khursheed goes beyond politics though, highlighting a more entertaining problem; the Indian attitude to business decisions. A publicly listed company with worldwide presence just appointed one cog in a gigantic global enterprise that operates according to strict corporate protocols.
And yet, the instant assumption is that Khursheed has accepted his position of influence with the sole purpose of abusing it to push anti right-wing propaganda. Because when you do business in India, you can’t fathom any reason why someone would accept a post other than to misuse it for personal gain. “What? You just got a plumbing contract for the local church? Accha, my uncle Ramesh is a sweet guy, and he’s looking for work. See if you can bribe some cardinal and make him Pope Ramesh no?”
What exactly do the BJPtards think Khursheed is going to do? Write a program that turns every pro-Modi tweet into “Vote Gandhi 2014”? This is not your uncle’s ball-bearing business. It’s Twitter, an information service currently locking horns with the f****ng NSA. I don’t think they’re feeding Khursheed confidential right-wing user data like it’s a grape in a harem.
Asking Khursheed to step down because of his personal views is ludicrous. It’s the equivalent of the Republican party saying Mark Zuckerburg shouldn’t run Facebook because they saw him shaking hands with Obama once. Or that whoever runs Cadbury should quit because he personally likes milk chocolate more than dark chocolate, which means he’ll purge the company of all dark chocolate enthusiasts. Fully-formed adults have personal opinions, often passionate and articulate ones. But they also know how to separate their professional life from their personal prejudices. But then that is not something one expects a BJP supporter to understand.
Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can contact him on www.facebook.com/therohanjoshi