This post could be considered a follow-up to my previous post on Making Sense of all the Madness that you see/hear around you. This one is called “When do you stop arguing?”
Let me put this in context. I have three friends on Facebook who are so-called Youth Wing Leaders in the BJP. Another friend is an active member of the RSS and a few other right-wing organizations. I don’t have anything against them – in fact, one of these people is a really good friend of mine and a very nice person. I myself don’t know yet what my political stance is, but I try to educate myself by reading everything I can get my hands on.
But here’s what happens (and increasingly, what’s been happening frequently!) My friends frequently post messages in support of their political ideologies and leaders. I think that is totally fine – everyone is entitled to their own political views and to express them. I don’t have anything against this per se, but sometimes it is so blatantly communal that I find my blood boiling. Sample this, from a recent post. “Beef-eaters are telling us we shouldn’t burst crackers that hurt animals. Beef-eaters are preventing us from celebrating our majority festival – Diwali”. So I left him a comment saying this: “No one is preventing anyone from celebrating Diwali. A comment by someone saying ‘don’t burst crackers that hurt animals’, while they themselves eat animals, is at the most, a hypocritical thing to say. People find it easier to sympathize with dogs and cats that they keep as household pets, as compared to chicken/beef/port that is processed in a factory far away from you. That’s it. Please don’t turn everything into a communal issue. ”
As I expected, it went from here into a completely illogical argument saying that Hindus are being targeted in India by the “sikulars and Adarsh liberals”. At this point, I gave up, wished him good luck and withdrew from the conversation.
Another thing that happens is posting of these photo-shopped images. In my head, I imagine thousands of bhakts across the country hunched over computers, carefully editing images and writing stories to go with them. And before we know it, it has gone viral and you have a bunch of people believing all kinds of things. Read this link for some laughs. And I’m not kidding when I say at least two of these images have popped up on my newsfeed.
Another friend is notorious for posting patriachal jokes, or simply stuff that is so degrading to women. Every time I see a “joke” being “liked” by 20-something people, it makes my blood boil. A recent joke doing the rounds was of Shahid Kapoor being so lucky because he married a girl so much younger than him. I don’t understand that at all – wouldn’t you be more compatible with someone of the same/close age and maturity? (At least in most cases) But, whatever, apparently I’m not getting the joke.
So here’s the question. Where do you draw the line? I’m not aggressive at all on social media, but lately, I feel like it takes all my energy to not say something. A part of me thinks it is important to speak up because it is essential to tell people that what they said is offensive or that another viewpoint exists. The other side of me wonders, why argue with someone who is so brainwashed?
Have you experienced this? What do you do?