There’s a huge divide in India right now. Those who support Prime Minister Narendra Modi and everything he and his government stands for, and those who hate him and all he touches. The former are derisively called ‘Bhakts’ (worshippers) by the latter and the latter are called libtards (liberal retards) by the former. For this post, I’m going to stick to calling them just that, though neither term reflects my opinion. There are a few in between these two positions who supported Modi because he seemed like the more incorruptible and capable candidate, though they did question his ideology and even his governance. And it’s these middle of the road walkers who this post is about.
In recent times, the middle grounders have lost their voice with the din of battle between the bhakts and the libtards. The bhakts have their army of goons who threaten anything from rape to death to those who disagree. The libtards aren’t winning the battle of hearts and minds either in their refusal to accept anyone who may have voted Modi as an example of a half decent human being and therefore, not worth acknowledging.
Recently though, there was an event which shocked even the most placid middle-grounder. Hafiz Junaid, a 16 year old student, was lynched by a mob after a dispute over a seat on a train and while being accused of being anti-national and eating beef. Mob fury has been on the rise since 2015 and has received only mild outrage but the gruesomeness of this attack, the heartbreaking image of the boy dying in his brother’s arms, angered Indians and the world, lay people and celebrities, pacifists and activists alike. And one film-maker was prompted into action. Saba Dewan called for a peaceful protest in Delhi, the nation’s capital. She created a Facebook event for the same and overnight, it became a nation-wide movement. Calls for #NotInMyName protests sprung up from every corner of the country and overseas too. And the middle-grounders participated.
I’m no activist. I am a well-entrenched middle grounder. But there are causes that I’m passionate about and even working on right now. And I’m also a student of digital marketing. It seems strange to study this case as a student of digital marketing. It was not for profit and the film-maker wasn’t looking for any personal gains through it. But it shows that social media can be used for social good – for a cause and purpose better and larger than posting pictures of a night out, documenting daily trivialities and even assuaging your own conscience with armchair activism. A call for action can and will be heeded, provided the content, delivery and distribution is powerful enough. With my mix of television anchoring, journalism, digital marketing and entrepreneurship experience, I hope I will play a small part in the greater good.