Controversy, Controversy and more controversies. Every day there is something new that, defines and segregates our countrymen, into categories of Anti-national/Patriots. As if our regional identities, our religion, caste, gender, race; were falling short of being our Identity.
The most recent to join the list is a girl from DU’s Ramjas College, Virender Sehwag, Randeep Hooda, BJPs Kiran Riju, Javed Akhtar and as I write this, probably a hundred more famous names. And no, not all of these are on any ONE side. Same as the people who are reading this. If you’ve been reading any of my political commentaries over the years, you’ve already placed me in one of these two sides. Correct ?
Anyways, my point is, how do we deal with a controversy?
How do we understand what’s going on? Does flipping a few “News Channels” or scanning through news articles work? Or just the trending Hashtags gives us, the super intelligent and opinionated folks, the complete picture?
Or our FOMO-self pushes us to believe any kind of Fake news that comes our way?
Going back to the controversy. What did the lady in question, Ms. Kaur, actually said?
I don’t know about you, but I understood what she said. Did you? If not, what was it, that you did not agree with?
If I go by what actually escalated the issue, the line, “Pakistan did not kill my father, War did” is what made Virender Sehwag tweet a response to it. Whether Sehwag saw this whole Video or just arrived at his joke by just one of the many placards this lady put up, is something we’ll never know. But going by how others also made a joke out of “______ did not ______ this, _____ did” format, I assume (apologies for my non-data driven assumptions), others followed suit.
Take the case of Kiren Rijju, for instance, without even watching the video in question he issued a statement! That’s the state of our country’s ministers.
Another factor to consider is, Gurmeher Kaur, has been campaigning against ABVP (the student wing of BJP) against their violent protests at their campus, with the hashtags #StudentAgainstABVP and #DUfightsBack!
Is the outrage from Right Wing more because of this reason? Someone digging up an old video to actually manufacture this controversy?
The fact that this is an old video, which created the controversy, speaks volume!
And no, I’m not putting Virender Sehwag as part of Right Wing. I’ve loved him as a cricketer and will always do.
So, what exactly did Sehwag Tweet?
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) February 26, 2017
Now, Sehwag on twitter is funny. Not funny enough to get an entire click-bait article every time he tweets, but funny!
Now, I don’t agree with his stance on what Gurmeher shared in the video. But that’s my Point-of-view. Just as him not agreeing with her, is his. Just as Gurmeher is free to have her opinion, Virender Sehwag is also free to have his own opinion. Just like you and I should be. Should is the operative word here.
What followed with Sehwag’s tweet, or maybe emboldened by it perhaps, was how Gurmeher was abused and rape threats were made to her. One shouldn’t say that Sehwag was responsible for it, but when someone of his stature makes a statement, it lends a certain legitimacy to the hate campaign. Just as his brand endorsements would do.
The metrics on whether sales of Boost (which he used to endorse) varied due to his presence or not, is the answer to whether he had any effect on the abusive trolling that ensued.
Even Randeep Hooda joined in by sharing one such tweet (along with an Emoji) which celebrated Sehwag’s earlier tweet.
— Randeep Hooda (@RandeepHooda) February 26, 2017
I’m not saying that celebrities should not share their opinions. I’d be a hypocrite if I say, Aamir Khan was okay to share his opinion on Intolerance, but a Virender Sehwag or Randeep Hooda are not. The use of “Freedom of speech” shouldn’t vary based on which side you’re on. Sure, I’d like to reiterate, this speech, when used to incite violence or racism, needs to be stopped.
The biggest problem with all of this is, the original message (the one in the video) where GurMehr Kaur talks about growing up without a father and how she managed to give up hate. She now considers herself a soldier just like her father was. She urges the leaders of both the nation to “Do their Job” and resolve the conflict and stop the War.
What a nice message!
But how many people, including the celebs, took the time to go through the message in the video, before reacting to it?
Why do we only get fixated on “what we don’t agree” and not come together for what we do? None of you want peace with Pakistan? None of you want kids like Gurmeher to have their soldier fathers with them?
Don’t stick to the narrative which the party you support shares. At least understand what the issues are, what was the entire message.
If Sehwag, Randeep or others, react without watching/understanding the entire message, they are at fault. If not, then they probably understood something, which I did not!
What did YOU think of the video?
An old video becomes fodder for controversy when the girl in question is campaigning against ABVP?