Adolf Hitler must be verily missing the opportunity of trolling the Jews. His theory of Nazism, Mussolini’s Fascism and Soviet’s Dictatorship are not defunct. They have been rejuvenated in ‘new’ India, obviously with the help of the Internet or nevertheless social media. Pardon my blasphemy but the year 2014 was just not a game-changing epoch in politics; it was also an event of systemization of Hindutva toadies aka Sanghi trollers. India’s rank on free speech index was at 134/190 nations then, and the year 2020 saw India’s rank shrinking to 142nd, below Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. But, as long as India is above Pakistan on such indexes, it’s not a problem. There’s no doubt that trollers have played a huge role in downsizing the quality of freedom of expression, other than intimidating and lynching activists, journalists and ordinary citizens. My article on YKA (April 2019) has some vital cursors to this reference.
I am sure you or your friends have experienced some amount of trolling from these toadies, whose characteristics involve hijacking the conversation from ‘real’ issues, diverting you from questioning the government, whataboutism, attacking your tweets, pictures, or comments with a bunch of slurs and casteist remarks, sexist attacks, doxing, debunking your sources, name-calling, body-shaming, intimidating, threating you or your family with death or rape and assassinating your character using memes or photoshop app. I can very much understand that these toadies lack empathy, compassion and basic decency. They rarely give any importance to the status of mental health of the victim, and to engage in any discourse with these Hindutva trollers is like playing a game of chess with pigeons. It’s obvious that they attack the dissidents collectively and resort to mass reporting of the dissents’ profile, as they see the apocryphal minds as a threat to their political philosophy i.e. Hindutva.
This is not to say that this trolling is something new. It is exclusive and altogether a sudden discovery because of the internet’s dissemination in society. But it has been exceeding in the offline world so far and yet continues to be. All those uncles and aunties have been CCTVs and gossipers hitherto, who are more than contented to receive employment on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere, along with their offsprings, for forwarding fake news, death threats, rape threats and abusive comments. Other than ‘useful idiots’ who often co-author with the paid trollers of Hindutva’s IT cell, it’s now a ‘national duty’ to silence, shun and shame the dissidents. Call it ‘new’ India — a land of mobocracy with absolute regards to Manusmriti — which has superseded ‘India’.
I am off from facebook (since May 2019), after witnessing unexpected attacks from these trollers who doxed me, for defending my Romanian friend’s decent criticism of the current governance. He had to leave India as he felt unsafe. No kidding. Since then my relatives have been stalking my twitter and lobbying with my parents to discourage me from speaking out. This time I won’t retreat, no matter to what extent the Hindutva trollers get into. Although a therapist and few other colleagues suggest that I should keep off from toxicity (social media), it would simply feed the intent, motives and agenda of the haters or Hindutva trollers. Nevertheless. The culture of democracy has been perilously degenerated. One must read ‘Free Voice’ to decipher this degradation. However, it does make sense to take some break but Buddha’s teachings on reaction and response has taught me the art of disengaging with the trollers. I authored a blog on mastering this technique, which you must read.
I have learned that we feel low, toxic and useless, when we acknowledge and validate what trollers have to say about us. I know it may sound ideal to ignore them, but this is not to say that you should not report their profile. You should. I do too, and at times the trollers do lose the opportunity to grill me again. After seeing how facebook managed to keep hate videos (refer Ankhi Das episode), I have realized that the crony nexus between the current government and social media applications is not surreal. The book ‘I am a Troll’ has also lucidly explained the dark networking of Hindutva trollers.
In today’s era, our mobile gallery is filled with more screenshots than memories. It’s a legitimate weapon to post the screenshot(s) of abusers and shame them publicly. If you can figure out the abuser’s employer or any family member, tag them. Do not fear. Fear is a choice and let not these Hindutva trollers transform fear into a reality. It does not matter how many support your struggle against these Hindutva toadies but you should stand with yourself. The African proverb is timely here: Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter.
Giving back sarcastic replies can also help you towards the disengagement process. In any way, if you engage with these Hindutva toadies with reliable and verifiable facts and references, they will eventually end up citing back with sources from OpIndia, Zee News, Republic TV, etc. This won’t help you learn either, if you think social media is a platform of decent discourses in today’s epoch. The backfire effect that takes place between you and trollers will eventually strengthen trollers’ P-o-V, and ultimately you will feel low, drained and tired. You can’t change their thinking, when they have not read their own religion thoroughly and would [often] end up tagging anonymous handles like True Indology who has been exposed for falsifying history to suit the current landscape’s sociopolitical ideology.
When the engagement gets too bad, don’t forget to do what Sanjukta Basu suggests:
And this statutory disclaimer actually helped me to bring a sanghi to basics, aftermath seeing a series of casteist and abusive remarks. This is Savarkar Syndrome:
All the best for your journey, folks!
Let’s defund the hate and fight the statism of Hindutva trollers together.