If there’s one thing far, far more unforgiving than the Indian summer, it’s social media. Make one tiny ill-thought-out comment and chances are you will be paying for it for a very long time. There are enough instances of famous personalities being mercilessly trolled for airing ignorance, bigotry and other unforgiveables. Take the example of veteran choreographer Saroj Khan whose recent comment on the casting couch has trolls tearing her apart on Twitter.
What did she say?
Talking about the casting couch, she says, “Yeh chala aa raha hai Baba azam ke zamaane se. Har ladki ke upar koi na koi haath saaf karne ki koshish karta hai. Govt ke log bhi karte hain. Tum film industry ke peeche kyun pade ho? Woh kam se kam roti toh deti hai. Rape karke chhod toh nahi deti (sic)
The comment may have been honest, but was certainly not the smartest and the resultant backlash sent Saroj reeling. She apologised soon after. While being famous has its perks, it also means everything you say and do is closely monitored. Famous people are mercilessly trolled for saying the wrong thing. And it also exposes the ‘not-so-nice-side’ to the person.
Ignorance on display
Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb — who till now was praised for his political acumen which guided the BJP to a great victory in the polls — few days provided fodder for a million jokes after claiming the Internet existed in ancient India. He had said, “How else could Sanjaya of Mahabharata sitting inside the palace update the blind king Dhritarashtra about the Kurukshetra war?” Twitter exploded with sarcasm. Writer Arnab Roy tweeted, “If the Internet existed during the Mahabharata then Drona is the first documented victim of fake news.”
Responses came from as far as the US of A. History professor at New Jersey’s Rutgers University, Audrey Truschke, asked, “This raises a few questions. Why didn’t Abhimanyu ask Quora how to escape the Chakravyuha? Why did Sanjaya narrate the Kurukshetra War when Siri could have done it? Also, Krishna really should have streamed the Bhagavad Gita on Facebook Live.”
Biplab isn’t the only politician who has been demolished online. Turns out, politicians are regular targets not just for their blunders or facetious claims, but also for being pretentious. Case in point is Shashi Tharoor. A few days ago he tweeted a new word – lalochezia, immediately causing the trolls to draw their guns. And, enough can’t be said about cringe-worthy grammar from so-called writers. Chetan Bhagat had tweeted rather carelessly, “Did you ever, as an Indian, saw the Taj as a ‘Muslim’ monument’.”
According to Tinu Cherian, social media expert, “Celebrities and public figures should be extremely careful about what they air on public forums. Insensitive or careless comments can easily invite a deluge of criticism.”
What was that!!
Even Sanjeev Kapoor, India’s most famous chef, was trolled for his tweet about Malabar Paneer. “Malabar Paneer – a wonderful Malabar dish that has the flavours spices and offers several gastronomic opportunities.
The food is generally fresh, aromatic and flavoured.” His tweet was immediately met with jibes. Restaurant consultant chef Madhu Menon tweeted dryly: “Sir ji, please give the recipe for Lucknow style Avial also.”
Insensitivity, however, launches trolls into the stratosphere.
Actor Rishi Kapoor is infamous for his blunt remarks and blunders on Twitter. But, he’s also notorious for going a step further and hurling abuse on Direct Message. Shivani Channan, a writer on dalit rights, became a victim when she shared a meme featuring Rishi and his family. The actor’s vicious responses have seen him being blocked by innumerable Twitter users.
Writer Amish Tripathi, too, had rubbed many the wrong way some time ago when he tweeted about the Rohingya crisis. “Perhaps it’s best if the richer West/Arab world take the Rohingyas. We are a poor country. We should use our limited money to help our own poor. Farmers r suffering due to drought. Many poor are w/o basic needs. Education & Police are under-funded. Our money should be spent there (sic),” he had tweeted.
This predictably evinced a tonne of responses. One of them being from poet-politician-journalist Pritish Nandy, who wrote, “Sad you think so. India should shelter anyone in distress. That is the culture and values we grew up with. That is why the Dalai Lama came to India. That is why Mujibur Rahman sought our help to free his nation.”
Saroj Khan in casting couch mess
Veteran choreographer Saroj Khan when asked to comment on Telugu actor Sri Reddy stripping in protest against the casting couch culture in Tollywood, the award-winning choreographer dismissed the brouhaha over the couch, with, “Yeh chala aa raha hai Baba azam ke zamaane se. Har ladki ke upar koi na koi haath saaf karne ki koshish karta hai. Govt ke log bhi karte hain. Tum film industry ke peeche kyun pade ho? Woh kam se kam roti toh deti hai. Rape karke chhod toh nahi deti (sic).”
Her answer was brutally honest, but the backlash sent Saroj reeling. When we called to ask her about it, she said, “No one bothered to ask what the question was. All of you only saw my answer. Anyway, I am sorry and I apologise and don’t want to repeat anything.”
Shobhaa De on Indian Olympians:
Goal of Team India at the Olympics: Rio jao. Selfies lo. Khaali haat wapas aao. What a waste of money and opportunity. She also tweeted a photo of an overweight police man saying, “Heavy police bandobast in Mumbai today!”
Mumbai police responded:
“We love puns too Ms De but this one is totally imisplaced. We expect better from responsible citizens like you.”
Amish Tripathi on rohingyas
Tweet: Perhaps it’s best if the richer West/Arab world take the Rohingyas. We are a poor country. We should use our limited money to help our own poor. Farmers r suffering due to drought. Many poor are w/o basic needs. Education & Police are under-funded. Our money should be spent there.
Pritish Nandy responded:
Sad you think so. India should shelter anyone in distress. That is the culture and values we grew up with. That is why the Dalai Lama came to India. That is why Mujibur Rahman sought our help to free his nation.