The Social Media Musings of this Autumn

Last few days have been hectic for the people of sub-continent, well it always has been like that. Being from Kashmir has always been a tough job to be on Social Media as along with Kashmir, you have to keep an eye whats happening in India and Pakistan which Kashmiris manage quite well. First of all let me start from the Hometown where the talk of the town is the most recent BOPEE Scandal involving its former chairman and some agents who sold the Entrance Question Papers to some wealthy people in order to get admission in the prestigious medical colleges of J&K. As the scandal was about one of the most important exams in any medical students life or for that matter the parents hopes, it naturally had to get over the top reaction from the general public. Naturally the students who had been burning the midnight oil for qualifying the most prestigious exam would have been most aggrieved and the mental trauma is understandable and so of their parents also. Well its not the first time that medical entrance has been plagued by this BOPEE scandal, similar thing happened in 2003 BOPEE exams. Same level of hue and cry was raised and same tone of reaction was aroused in general public and what happened to that case, need not to mention. But in this case another thing was added which was not only discussed in social media circles but in newspapers also. A section of public including a well to do journalists looked like they were more interested in the name of the BOPEE ex-chairman than the grievous crime itself. When i saw the discourse of this scandal involving Mr. Mushtaq Peer, i was confused that are people discussing the scandal genuinely as should be the case, are people discussing the scandal because it just involves Doctors ( as it has fake glamour attached to it ) or people are discussing it because the surname of the accused person is Peer. And to add insult to the injury big columns were written discussing that the said person has Peer as surname and also attached his name with the fake Peer who would love to proclaim his name as Syed Gulzar Ahmed Bhat involved in the infamous Sex Scandal. With such discussions, Kashmir earned a distinct title of distinguishing crimes based on his or her caste. No one can give a satisfactory answer that how does a crime committed depend on ones caste, whether he is Bhat or Peer in Kashmir. Further more the Chief Minister of J&K went a step further in this tragicomic situation, he said that the accused Ex BOPEE Chairman is a Muslim, no wonder what happens to the secular state at that time. The prisms with which these so called intellectuals see the picture seems to be biased. Few years back i read a book on Kashmir written by David Devdas in which he pointed out that Kashmiri politics is also caste based and gave his explanation. Well to my knowledge and  understanding of nature of Politics in Kashmir, i couldn’t understand on what basis he said it. Did it matter for the common masses that Muhammad Abdullah was a Sheikh or Peer, Maqbool Bhat was a Bhat or a Peer, Yusuf Shah was a Syed or Bhat and so on and on. Not justifying the crimes committed by the so called upper caste including Peers in any way but a place where society is divisible at many junctions, having this kind of notorious discourse whether the crime committed by peer or a non-peer is beyond any logic of understanding. Castigating one community alone is not going to solve any-ones problem, the rot runs deep in the society as corruption or any vices has become more and more part of this fragile society from bottom to top.

Now opening a window to the Pakistan where there is usually a bad news coming in every day. Few days back a riot took place in Rawalpindi involving two sects of Muslims on 10th Muharram where many died and dozens got injured. On the social networking sites, people were more interested on who actually were responsible not for breaking the law of land but just for they get some brownie points in criticizing the other sect tarnishing all the values of humanity if ever it was present. There were proofs given by people who actually were sitting some thousands of miles away from Rawalpindi on who were the perpetrators of the riot. Whosoever were the minds behind the riots, how does it matter with which sect they belong to ? More icing on the cake when twitterati began giving suggestions to stop these kind of riots in future by suggesting to ban Ashoora and Mawlid processions . Wonder, how will it help in country where Masjid and Imambargahs were not spared of bombs by terrorists, so how does these kind of shallow ideas emerge from anyone’s mind. I have never participated in any Mawlid or Ashoora processions but banning any religious procession is strictly against the tenets of freedom of speech and religion. And the irony is those demanding ban on religious processions were, are and will be the most iconic voices in portraying the Islamophobia in West, a simple case of one bigot calling a other bigot, a bigot. If anyone doesn’t give right to express his or her own opinion in his or her own way, never expect that this person will give you to raise your own voice tomorrow on any other issue. Now it has been a routine on social networking sites to discuss religion freely with the availability of Sheikh Google. Come Muharram – discuss Shias, Come Rabiulawal – discuss Barelvis and Sufis, Come the stupidity and abuses by the family of Saud – discuss Wahabis and Come some unusual Fatwas – discuss Deobandis. You will get bundles of Fatwas of Shirk and Kuffr from those who even don’t know you and will be targeted in groups as if the only thing left in their life is to prove that they all along are right, rest can and should go to hell. Some of us hold our head so high that it gets impossible to argue but little they know that this arrogance can also fall just like the Tehelka Head.

Coming to the Indian Media where the most covered news this time is the Tehelka scandal involving Tarun Tejpal. A magazine which began with humble origins with the motto of crusade against the wrongdoings finds itself entangled in the web of accusations which are very gory. And many media houses and political parties grinding there own axes against the Tehelka Magazine. Well the idea of Tehelka was shattered long before and some shine it had left, also is now faded. Being an avid newspaper reader, i remember that day when Tehelka became a print newspaper ( don’t remember it was weekly or fortnightly) and i bought it for ten bucks few years back and also remember the scold i got from my grandfather when he asked me why i bought a newspaper for ten bucks !! Such was my trust with the brand of Tehelka but it soon started to fade out. The Tehelka is all there, it has fallen in this season of fall, leaf by leaf in front of the 24*7 circus of TV News channels.

Now moving on to the biggest news this week is that of successful talks between the Global superpowers including USA with Iran. The Iranians celebrated it with fervor in view of easing of sanctions against them on the issue of nuclear energy. The success can be attributed to the new moderate President of Iran, Mr. Rouhani along with his Foreign Minister. But the successful talks have made some angry which include Saudi Family and Israel. Not to forget to mention that what murky things Iran is doing in Syria has nothing to do with the Common Iranians who are suffering due to the harsh sanctions against their own country. A common Iranian and the Ayutullah regime are two separate entities. Long before if u would be discussing Iran with anyone, two separate views emerged, one being blinded by his pro-Iran regime loyalties and other being blinded by his anti-Iran stance with both having shades of sectarianism associated. When confronted with own middle-path unbiased views, none believed, each giving its own version. The truth being mixed with the tales of Iran by the Iranian Press TV and the Pro-American Media including CNN and FOX. That is what happens when a country lives in isolation for more than three decades which makes it difficult to tell people the real picture.

And the social media musings with its fallacies go on………………….

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Rivaling The Agonies

Social networking has definitely revolutionized the way we think nowadays but it has its own negatives. One of the most distasteful phenomenon in the social networking sphere especially on Twitter & Facebook is that everyone carries his or her own measuring tape for grief. Not only has everyone the measuring tape but each one cries out loudly that he or she has the most accurate one & everyone should believe it. Our sense of outrage is getting disgusting day by day by comparing one grief with another grief & with just a click, we go on a rampage, which we consider as not our birth right only but a biblical duty also. Let me give you few examples which happened recently starting with Malala Yusufzai shootout. First of all hats off to the girl who braved all odds for the education of girls by fighting with pen against the terrorists present in Swat valley in Pakistan. After she was shot in head & is recuperating now in a London Hospital, various kind of absurd theories & words were linked to her name. Some ridiculous conspiracy theories propped up like Malala is a CIA agent, or she was not actually shot in head and also that the CIA shot at her so that a the US army will get a genuine reason so that they will attack Pakistan. Well hats off to these disgusting conspiracy theorists who in spite of appreciating & sympathizing with Malala were & are more keen to exploit her name for their own murky reasons. Ask the terrorist apologists why you doing so ? They reply back that USA does drone attacks in Pakistan & the drone attacks kill innocent children which are not given much attention so why Malala be given this much appreciation ! Poor minds co-relate two things for which Malala is herself not responsible & it seems from their language as if Malala herself was leading the drones which killed the innocent children. Yeah ! That’s what they try to imply. Now come to another incident of recent Connecticut shootings in a school by a mentally challenged person. Well from last few years these kind of uncontrollable shootings in campuses are on rise as it is said that easy availability of guns is one of the reason. Whatever the reason, this tragedy too had to bear this barometric comparison on Facebook & Twitter by the dimwits. Those little kids killed in Connecticut shootout were again compared with the innocent kids killed by the drone attacks in Pakistan & elsewhere done by the USA. Well like all cryptic logic of the apologists, this too had no merit. The apologists through their myopic vision implied that  the little kids killed got the punishment of the drone attacks done by the USA, which has no validity in religion & is beyond the sphere of humanity. In both the above incidents the apologists demanded that the media should not over hype these issues which looked quiet illogical. As Connecticut is in USA itself & Malala was shot in the Militant infested Swat area in Af-Pak so it was bound to get international media attention. And from last hours another horror has struck Pakistan which is the killing of health workers who are related to the anti-polio campaign as Pakistan is one of three countries where Polio is not eradicated. The reason given by the terrorists is that some health workers allegedly work as CIA agents. Well if we look back to last year incident of Abbotabad in Pakistan where Osama Bin Laden was captured, the homework was done initially with help of a doctor & his team who were doing a vaccination campaign in the area but were focussed really on the compound of Osama. Now giving that as pretext & attacking the health workers indiscriminately by the terrorists in their latest round of attacks is a bizarre & a cowardly act. The terrorists think by crippling the polio campaign which in turn will lead to more crippled children are doing some heroic jobs. Little do they know how many curses they are getting for doing such a inhumane act in the name of religion.

Well lastly another incident happened in Delhi, India where a girl was gang-raped in a moving bus which has shocked the country. In India rapes occur every 22 minutes according to an estimate and the news items related to rapes are passed as one of the news but this time the media & civil society is on some action mode, maybe the incident happening in the capital city is the reason. It seems the incident is not going to cool off soon. But looking on the flip-side on the social networking sites, instead of some constructive conclusion, the blame-game of ‘My grief bigger than your grief’ has started. It should be noted in last two decades numerous cases of rapes & mass rapes have been done by the security forces in Kashmir  & North-East which is shameful as no justice has been done who had done & perpetuated the heinous crimes. As soon as the Delhi Gang-rape news went on air, the other side talked of the old wounds which had been inflicted & thus the story began. The dramatic comparison of two tragedies not only started a war of words but each one took extreme position in order to highlight the crime. No one can deny the fact that the crimes were heinous in nature but is it right to compare two crimes at this time or any time ? If conscience is left in us, we would never use the tragedies for our own self-interest. It is time to empathize with victims & rise above all petty interests but alas! All the people on social networking sites act as saints unfortunately leaving no space for constructive debate and for these social networking saints no grey areas are there, there is either black or more black & no white. May we stop comparing the tragedies of our time with the previous tragedies & look forward to embalm them. Let sanity prevail…