Social Media Warriors…Think & Act!
–Vikrant Hemant Joshi
Day in and day out I am on social media. For some it is representing their favourite party for which they go all out, for some it is keeping themselves updated, for some it is removing frustration from the challenges they face daily and for some it is making the right kind of the noise so that it can attract the attention from the establishment. But for me, believe me, social media has proved to be a blessing! My blogs, my father’s writings have literally travelled the space and thanks to this social media, ‘recognition’ which is the most important criteria for any artist, we have been fortunate to receive it. Whatsapp, videos, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and so many other platforms have emerged as the new media, and I won’t be wrong if I say today the mainstream media be it Television or Print, has taken a back seat, as compared to the social media.
But now this ain’t the place for discussing the reach and numbers. I am here to tell you what is hustling me! Yes, day in and day out on social media especially related to Maharashtra politics, I feel there is a war kind of situation. And the war participants are declared very openly. It is BJP versus ALL. The kind of venom that is spread by so called ‘influencers’, even if you read it for 10 minutes your blood boils. Do we need this? Yes, it might be some kind of income for some, but hello, can anything and everything be said just because there is freedom? There has to be some logic, some kind of discipline or rules which need to be set. Everyone comes here with a preconceived notion, he is Bhakht, he is a NCP person or he is Sena premi or a Congressi. Problem comes when neutral people like me, Anjali Damania or even Niraj Gunde and so many others like us are just doing our jobs of ‘alerting the system’ . We are often prey to these cynical dumbos. Boss, let us do our jobs without any hindrance and don’t typecast us. We are crusaders for the right cause. And mind you, those who say we don’t get affected by the trolls, balls! Everyone does. Who likes their inboxes full of threats and abuses?
Sharing an example of Sunday with you all. There is this one BJP motivated twitter handler called ‘Lakhoba Lokhande’ aka Limaye. Last week this Lokhande tweeted something really foolish which I am sure even the BJP guys would not have approved. He said something nasty against Shahu, Phule and Ambedkar. OK, this Lokhande is a Brahmin and his one tweet was enough of a backlash for us Brahmins for the entire day! Obviously sentiments were hurt and why not? The cyber department on receiving a complaint of some Sainiks has issued a notice to Lakhoba to which he didn’t pay attention. Neither did he inform anyone nor did he reply to the notice. Then this Lakhoba was arrested and frantic calls were made to Fadnavis to save him. Heard there was a coup to keep this Lokhande inside for good a month or so by even putting atrocity against him, but it is learnt DF saved the day for him. As Lakhoba and family were waiting outside court premises with police in tow, a mob of 60 to 70 sainiks attacked him and blackened his face for his hatred tweets. Lakhoba should have understood in the name of freedom of speech anything said or written on social media cannot and will not be tolerated. Who is this Lakhoba to say anything against Shahu Phule or Ambedkar? In fact those crying foul that BJP karyakartas were present when the mob attacked him and they didn’t do anything, I am told Lakhoba’s parents and In-laws were present at site. The mob was so violent that they wanted to attack the parents too, but it was these BJP karyakartas of Pune who saved the oldies.
Similar case happened with BJP office bearer Jiten Gajaria. Some MLA threatened him of ‘Lakhoba style consequences’ if he does not stop hurling tweets against this MVA government. Now all this was discussed on social media and the BJPian warriors were on a rampage. Then in the evening this Kirit Somaiya drama happened. Every BJPian be it a MP or LoP, or even a corporator from the state was tweeting in Somaiya’s support. Nothing wrong as Somaiya is doing the unbelievable! The risk and the pressure this man is handling and exposing every minister left right and centre, salute to him. But my one question to the entire BJP. Bhai, Somaiya has 40 police personnels protecting him and plus he himself is so well prepared that it is not easy to touch him. But your one tweet in support of this Lakhoba and Gajaria would have made a huge difference to people. Except for Fadnavis and later Shelar, none of you guys thought it important to even mention it once. Silent calls and back door inquiry does not work for social media warriors. Fadnavis was the only one who stood for him when Lakhoba needed the most.
In a similar case last year One of the warriors was in trouble and he called Chandrakant Patil and said boss, help us or we might get arrested as we are in the list which ‘they’ have decided to attack now. Dada said to him, aree nothing happens, stay inside for 2 to 4 days, we will help you get bail and when our Government comes, we will take our ‘badla’…What the hell? This Karyakarta slammed the phone. Imagine Fadnavis had done this to Lakhoba. This is the difference between him and others. I had written a blog in May somewhere titled ‘BJP 2.0’ wherein I had demanded a change in leadership of the State President as the need of the hour for the BJP. We need someone like Rane or Padalkar.
See, social media warriors, except Fadnavis if you think people are going to save you, time for a reality check ! Either you should be financially very strong to enter this fight or you should have the muscle power to not care about anyone coming to your house to blacken your face. My second advice to the Maharashtra BJP now. In order to stop this gundagardi and attacks on your people, apart from changing the State president, one more thing you can do. Join hands with the MNS in the open. At least your karyakartas will get spared as the MNS guys are equally strong and match to the Sena and NCP and for me are the real torch bearers of Marathi Manoos. In NCP or Sena or even Congress every leader comes to your rescue. In the BJP there are few , but majority ones are confused and still waiting for the Government and then we will do this and that. Believe me, apart from the top 2 leaders of Delhi and a little bit of Fadnavis, no one knows what and when things will move as per what you think! So warriors sincere advice, respect your freedom and everyone. Criticism should be issue based, and not ideological or person based. No one will attack you then.
Vikrant Hemant Joshi