I am now a regular user of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, especially the latter. Not to boast or anything as such; but I have now reached 1906 Tweets, have 90 followers, 1184 likes; and follow 179 people. Trolling is a very common experience for most Twitter users, especially if the topic happens to be social, religious or political in nature. However, at times it can be very distressing too – especially if it gets personal. People have been trolled to the extent of harassment – as with the case of young Gurmehar Kaur, a very bright student of Lady Shriram College; I have already covered that in my first social issue blog https://ashwinkumar1989net.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/right-wing-nationalism-in-india-and-its-side-effects-on-women-safety/.
In comparison to what this brave girl had to undergo, my experiences of being trolled have been very mild. However, I would still like to share them; so as to throw some light on the resurgence of right-wing trolls in Twitter (particularly in India) here, and also for people who have recently started using Twitter to get an idea – as to the levels of trolling they can experience. The first such person to troll me was $@$h@ 🇮🇳 (@sasha786sharma). All I had done was done was post a Tweet saying that the ‘bhakts’ (right-wing nationalists) either don’t understand English or are deliberately ignorant, because there had been a lot of posts insulting/trolling Gurmehar Kaur even after she had requested to be left alone. For this tweet, I got a string of Hindi expletives from this Sasha guy – I blocked him right away, as I don’t like my timeline to be ruined with such language.
Next in line was a girl who mocked my Tweet, saying that it was “hilarious” that a guy like me whose English is not very good, should criticize others. For those who don’t know me; my family, relatives and friends consider my command over English very good. Also, this girl had used the typical SMS lingo. Thus, I was hurt; but retorted in a fitting manner – stating that she had revealed her ignorance by using SMS language. She could give me no answer for the same 😛 . By the way, I follow leading journalist of India Today Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai on Twitter. He had posted about the then upcoming Delhi Municipal elections. I made a comment saying that BJP had not done much work as far as the Delhi municipality was concerned(which was true), but AAP had done some good work by means of Mohalla clinics – for healthcare; and also contributed to water supply and education.
For this, I got a very lame comment from one of the ‘Bhakts’ – “Dream boy, eat samosa.” I retorted that it was typical of a Bhakt to call names rather than reply with reason. He continued to show his lameness by replying that “We Bhaktas can understand your Burnol.” I gave a parting shot, saying that he was the one in need of Burnol. After that, I muted him. I am very thankful for Twitter for providing this option, which ensures that you won’t get any notifications from such a person – without letting him/her know that s/he has been muted. Talking about Mr. Sardesai, he provided a link to one of his articles – in which he felt that there was a need for death penalty for the rapists of Bilkis Bano. Some bhakt commented – “Congrats for shedding anti-nationalism!”
I felt that it was irrational and illogical to call Mr. Sardesai an anti-national for just his views on the Bilkis Bano rape case, that too without reading his article properly. Rather, it reflected the mindset of the Bhakts – anyone who has a different view as compared to theirs, is an anti-national! :O So, I commented in turn – “Bhakts don’t bother to read properly. No wonder we are a 3rd world country.” I had posted only the truth – India is indeed a third world country – a developing nation, with poor people accounting for at least a half of the population. However, my comment provoked outrage from a bhakt – kannan (@0kannan). He commented that Mr. Sardesai and I were “third grade” persons. Wow, so much anger for posting the truth! I reported this Kannan guy for abuse, and blocked him. I also blocked Prabhakar.R.G (@Gowducheruvu_PR) for liking that guy’s comment.
Renown South Indian actor Siddharth had recently Tweeted, saying that hate should stop on social media – including being called ugly names like “Bhakts” or “libtards”. Now, “libtard” is a word coined by bhakts to mock liberals – combining the words “Liberal” and “Retard”. As I have mentioned before, ‘bhakt’ denotes right-wing nationalists. They think they are true patriots, but often they often spew a lot of hatred and jingoism – as I had described in the article about Gurmehar Kaur earlier. One bhakt Raghav
(@Raghav_BJP9902) took deep offense to Mr. Siddharth’s statement and Tweeted saying that “I am proud to be a Bhakt. I work hard, pay my taxes and vote for Modi. If you don’t like it, get lost.”
Now, we liberals work hard, pay our taxes and love our country too – though we don’t stoop to the level of hatred and jingoism being expressed by the bhakts. I thus commented – “Being a bhakt is great, for it has brought the GDP down to 6.1%, with rising unemployment and focus still on cow.” I was sarcastically referring to the GDP shrinking from the previous year, with increasing unemployment as against the promised job creation (when the BJP government came to power in 2014) https://thewire.in/142168/q4-gdp-growth-india/. I also referred to the increasing focus on cows, with the beef ban being imposed. For this, I was called a “Congoon” by (Amit Rakshit @AmitBest1) . By the way, I am not really fond of any particular political party in India; though I support the BJP the least of all because of their conservative, right-wing, and divisive agenda.
By calling me “Congoon”, this bhakt Amit was calling me a goon and a Congress guy(though, again; I am not really fond of the Congress party either). What offended me the most was being called a “goon”. I reported this guy for abuse, and blocked him. Then, (Deepak #Hindustani @iDeepakKapoor) came up with a highly obnoxious insult – “Ashwin, you are a product of caste based reservation. Don’t bother troubling your brains, for you don’t have any”. What the hell! I came up purely on merit, was not eligible for reservation at all (since I come under the “General” category);and I am a successful HR professional working for 3.5 years. What knowledge does he have about me to make such a stupid comment like that? I reported him for abuse, and requested Twitter to suspend his account – so that other people wouldn’t be troubled by him. I also blocked him, obviously.
Initially I would be very angry and upset whenever I got trolled. But now I realize that – it means the trolls can’t stand my views, and are therefore exposing their ignorant and depraved mindset in public. All my fellow liberals (and others as well!) who have got trolled – please continue to post your views in Twitter without fear! More power to you! Getting trolled is not a bad sign for you at all! It only means your views are being recognized! Keep in mind that Twitter has the mute, block and report options to take care of such trolls!