Sunday, 4 September 2016

Saffron, lies and social media

We've all seen them - "Nehru died of syphillis, Indira flunked out of Oxford, Sonia the barmaid". Since we've flogged a dead horse blaming the British for our woes, attentions have now shifted to the Mughal era, a fresh villian, lots of juicy material. Images, videos 'articles' and tweets shared and reshared over Facebook, Whatsapp, Youtube and Twitter. Specifically engineered to the tastes of the Indian Middle class, these lies are designed to titillate, play to bias and foster hate in one fell swoop. The target audience, the disenchanted, conservative, conformist, underpaid Indian. Vikas looks at photos of Amreeka longingly, watches his neighbour pack his bags for the Holy Land and wishes it were him. 

Here is where Bharat's favourite Bhagwat steps in to convince the poor wounded fox that it is simply a case of khatte angoor. There is no better way to convince a man that something is good than to convince him something else is bad. The West is awful, they have no culture, they are immoral and by extension, we Indians are the bees knees. Behold, CULTURE (cue the temple bells). Great. Now to the next step. Give him a few villains. That's easy. Anyone not homogeneous. Anyone who has a better lot. Insert the slander, et voilĂ  - Traitors! How dare they forsake our holy ways. How dare they think different. how dare they have! (how dare they drink or travel or enjoy sex).
It only serves to strengthen step one.  Done and done.

Then there is the other side of it, the positive lies. Images of digs from Ancient Egypt and Greece repurposed as lost cities from ancient India, images of train stations and airports from Europe passed off as Varanasi, an image of an Air India cabin and its crew doing the rounds as as a train under Modi's leadership,  the 'science' behind brushing your child's face with a cow's tail. It only gets more bizarre as you go on. Each lie designed to boost Vikas's previously shattered pride and sense of self. 

Step three. Disseminate the diatribe:
Well, praise be unto God! these days you can tell 1,000,000 foot soldiers what to think at the click of the button. Irony of using western gadgets, apps and Internet be damned, the sheep are too stupid to make that connection. Every retweet and share is a game of Chinese whispers, because Vikas must add his personal view and then Vinay will read that and comment and it snowballs from there. Frenzied nationalists who will go to any length to protect God and country (and cow). 

You'd think it wouldn't work, these lies are too stupid to work, too easy to refute. True and true, but you forget two things. 
1. If it's on the internet it must be true
2. Repeat a lie enough and it becomes true. 

It is a propaganda machine at it's finest. Goebbels couldn't have done a better job. (I'm pretty sure there's a shrine unto him somewhere in the belly of Nagpur). And that my friends, is how you destroy a legacy. 

Lately, with the canonization of Mother Teresa, the guns have been trained on her with renewed vigour. It is not the first time, and it will not be the last. She is one of their best targets to take potshots against the evil that is Christendom. Their best bet at furthering the 'Vatican agenda' narrative. So now you have the champions of all things saffron quoting Christopher Hitchens. You can't script better humour than that.

One might wonder why the saffron brigade is going after people who are long gone. Well, they hold a grudge. It was men like Nehru and Patel who saw them for what they truly were and had the foresight and wisdom clip their wings. Their dreams of a saffron nation shattered and their aspirations to power snuffed out. They fear women like Indira, who for all her sins, was the kind of women these chimpanzees dread, besides, the heretic married a non Hindu. FOR SHAME! Mother Teresa, well, you can't have the country appreciate something that isn't dipped in cow urine now can you? But these are stories for a different day. 

Disclaimer: We do not own any of the artwork used. 


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