#IdiotKapilSibal, this is how one was supposed to respond on Twitter with respect to the recent act of the current Minister of Communications and Information Technology.
Residents of the virtual world were being called upon in cohorts to flaunt the words in their Facebook statuses, ‘Kapil Sibal is an idiot’.
In midst of the mayhem regarding soaring charges of corruption, Anna’s dreadful proclamations and the FDI fiasco probably this was the last of all the fireballs that the UPA pundits expected of coming up. Newton went on to state famously in his third law of motion, ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’. Definitely there must be some action on part of virtual behemoths that has irked Mr. Minister so much!
Let’s first focus on the litigant’s appeal, the 38 million Facebook users in India most of whom are crying hoarse these days from what they sense is the vicious cycle of emergency ready to cast a spell on their freedom.
Freedom of Speech is endowed on one as a liberty by virtue of Fundamental Rights, but how does one differentiate between the prominently highlighted, F-word (err, that wasn’t an intentional double meaning innuendo), a reference was being made simply to ‘F’reedom and ‘F’oul-Mouthing.
The series of scathing remarks appearing at a regular frequency on Facebook, directed at specifically those representing the Congress was in bad taste indeed. Morphed photographs of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh in an embarrassing state, Rahul Gandhi being declared a rapist, and most blasphemous of them all was a post which declared that Sanjay Gandhi was in fact the illegitimate son of Indira Gandhi. Such otherwise encomiums were showered with ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’ at a pace never seen before, yeah ‘viral’ is after all the buzz word these days.
Well, if Mr. Sibal is asking for the internet content to be reviewed he might sound archaic for sure but then doesn’t one need to introspect what it is that is being considered for scrutiny! Don’t we belong to the nation that has been into lampooning at the politicians through the graffiti in Newspapers or those illustrations that appeared towards the year’s end or near the festival of Holi to add on to the fervor of the celebration? But humor was never relegated to such stooping low levels when brandishing attempts are directed at the ruling party, the insouciant internet users more than happy to promote it as well without caring to even clarify. Alas! You see no such application is facilitated out there in this regard!
Hilary Clinton is being vociferous these days as she exclaimed at the recently concluded conference on digital freedom in The Hague that countries should not gag the internet voice. Fair enough! Seems a valid conjecture after all it is a flat world reclaiming the glory of the past ever since the Berlin Wall came down.
Those that were quoted as examples in Ms. Clinton’s speech included Russian blogger, Aleksei Navalny who was sentenced to fifteen days prison for labeling the Putin’s party as the ‘party of swindlers and thieves’ in the wake of the entire federal state protesting against the alleged rigging of the Presidential Elections. Then there was mention of the Syrian blogger, Anas al-Marawi who received flak for criticizing the President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Where do we go from here?
With the recent London Riots attributing a lot of action on the streets by hoodlums to the online lumpen, appointing a watchdog for the dotcom world seems a practical idea to some extent. For a nation like India that is at the brink of another General Election, the public should be wary of the propagandists. Did anyone pause for a moment to reflect why all the slugfest was launched specifically against the Congress politico?
One can’t deny from the fact that Mr. Sibal might be delivering the duties of being the patriot of one of the oldest parties of India but his contention doesn’t entirely form the crux of bin-liners.
Why does one have to take the route of obscenity and morphed pics to assert a point?
If it is truly about ushering an idea or raising your voice against the State why not follow the footsteps of Rousseau, Voltaire and Emile Zola who brought a revolution through their writings. Perhaps the right-winged middle class that dominates the social networking sites would find it almost impossible to tread on this path! After all ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ in a mere ‘scrolling’ act is way too simpler than causing the grey cells into a state of substantive activity.
Peter Nelson said, “One of the problems the internet has introduced is that in this electronic village, all the village idiots have internet access”. So next time before declaring anyone an idiot, remember the other four fingers are pointing at self only!