Remember back in the days, we had walkmans for music, an alarm clock to wake up, and a newspaper for news? Look how far we have come! All of those things are now in one pocket computer we call a mobile phone. These mobile phones have empowered us with internet on the go, and we in return have decided to make the internet the new “hanging out with friend”. Heard of things like “cause pages” and “online petitions”? The internet is now a protest ground for the digitally-abled. Gandhiji sat shirtless under a tree and starved for days to express his opinions. Fast forward to today, when the internet is used (very ignorantly) to propagate any protest at the click of a button.
This is great, I’m not complaining. We are finally using the internet to make a change in society, rather than wasting our bandwidth on cat gifs and unwanted nostalgic and sentimental posts. But are we really putting our money on the right horse? Or are we just going where the arrow is pointing?
I write this post with two major triggers… First, I feel like the youth (also includes me, AKA internet circus team) is always coming together to solve all the non-issues. I would have taken time to explain how the whole Jallikattu protest was a complete drain of the youth flair. But I came across this article by Karthik Shankar from Youth Ki Awaaz. He has literally stepped into my head and penned my thoughts word to word. Check out this article here.
Now coming to the second, more original thought. While scrolling down my facebook timeline yesterday, I noticed a friend of mine gave a ‘one-star rating’ to Times Of India’s Facebook page. The one-star rating was not a surprise to me. At times, I feel like TOI is running a parody of a newspaper. If you don’t believe me, check out this article where Newslaundry has (with no effort) broken down a TOI article like an English teacher from school. The one-star rating brought me much joy. Finally! That’s how you get those “journalists” back on track. As I began to read the review written below, It was impossible to put two-and-two-together. I went into the TOI facebook page only to find a mind blowing 50 thousand one-star ratings. They have de-activated the reviews, so you can’t see them. (screenshot below). All the reviews were the same, a variation of “How could you forget Kannada?” Now my curiosity had reached its zenith. I quickly dropped a message to a friend who had reviewed the page to find out what was going on.
As it turns out, TOI made a video, to celebrate International Mother Language Day (Yeah! There is day for everything)(link here). The video had people saying they are proud of their mother tongue in their respective languages. Amongst the 120 odd languages in India, it covered close to twelve. Unfortunately, they missed out Kannada. Clearly, the local sentiment was stung. A digital revolt broke out, every warm-hearted, state-loving patriot joined forces to give TOI’s facebook page a one-star rating. A community joining forces to prove a point, beautiful! But is this what we are becoming as a society?
Now let me say things that will make (some of) you guys hate me. Putting it bluntly, your language does not need validation from a “newspaper”. Why can’t we stop showing our rage on communal non-issues that don’t play any relevance to social development? If these 50 thousand people came together to fight against a cause that could actually make a difference, how amazing would that be? Imagine those many people fighting against rape, murder, molestation… you know, the list of things that need our attention are just too many. A badly produced internet video not mentioning the language you speak is not really number one issue on the agenda!