We have been receiving an unending stream of election based news on WhatsApp these days and not surprisingly – it being the election season, and since I am involved in the process that is a good reason for me to offer comments and an analysis and state my opinions on the information being propagated on social media, especially the terribly fake information that the BJP is anti-Christian because for the first time in the history of Independent India, since 2019, a Christian has been selected by the BJP government in the Centre to head the Ministry of Minority Affairs – happily I can now declare that everything we read on social media against the party and its religious stand is fake, is false, Quod Erat Demonstrandum, (Q.E.D or ‘quite easily done’ for those that remember their Algebra classes).
But in other respects there is reason for us to concede to the things we read and hear on social media – the rise of India in the international arena, the free Covid-19 vaccines that India gave to the countries that could not afford to buy these vaccines, the earthquake in Turkey and Syria and India’s spontaneous delivery of support material and free aid like only the Christians countries do when any devastation affects any country. Such factual reports are admired and we salute those who provide us these clean facts of the day while trampling on the fake and fallacious stuff which is just another kind of bad weather – an extended winter.
The news spreading on social media during the past three months seems to me to have become a real school of stultification for journalism. Social media can be bad for journalism and make no mistake it is a hazard for journalists as well because that is how journalists will one day be regarded, as disciples of fake news, if they fail to find a way to prevent its spread and to clarify the difference between fact and fake news.
Forgive me if it hurts the finer feelings of anyone but for the present day posts on social media against the BJP all I can say is that they are bristling stiff with deceit and misguidance, and anyone who is compromised by them must be forgiven with a most forgiving heart because the opinions and the beliefs they hold are the vilest even if they be among the holy. It is hard to hold in respect those that believe that the BJP is anti Christian because when confronted by someone who proves them wrong and who clarifies their misgivings by presenting proof such as the one mentioned above (a Christian as the Minister i/c Minority Affairs) they shake their heads and refuse to let go of their misguided beliefs – they refuse to entertain the truth. They have buried themselves, as it were, inside the world of fake news.
Fake news is inherently bad; it goes against the nature of humanity, against the survival of the species and in our case against the survival of the people of Meghalaya. No matter how much people hate one another, one thing they never do is propagate fake news, and there is a reason behind it. As a community there is a single task that we are concerned with and that is to do that which is good for the survival of the Khasis, the Jaintias and the Garos and fake news has the frightening ability to bring this down.
We may not have feelings of love with one another but merely because nothing in us is older, stronger more inexorable and unconquerable than this instinct to preserve the three main communities of the State, we inherently strive to avoid fake news in politics – we try to stress on our strengths, on our programmes being better than that of the other parties, because this tripartite instinct constitutes the essence of our communities and that is something we know deep within our being: it is only the outsider who tries to uproot it; and we try not to let that happen.
But strangely one party has a leader who is all bent on undoing the unity that the three communities possess by relying on fake news to break down another party. Notice that every party is essentially identifying its plans and programmes for the people instinctively but this leader of a new party is acting in a manner as if the party he leads does not belong among us, but seeking to divide us with the usual myopia from such a close range.
There is every reason for us to become suspicious of this party and the method its leader is employing and therefore it is the common appeal by one and all that we should immediately abandon this party because of its fundamentally flawed tactics – the anti Khasi anti Jaintia and anti Garo tactic. Fundamentally politicians seek to preserve the self and it’s not as if they intend to harm anyone as much as they seek to preserve themselves, but when one acts with the sole intention to retain power or to get back the power they once had even at the cost of the community we must condemn, we must dispose of them once and for all.
In politics time is needed and time flies during an election, so instead of concentrating on oneself or on ones’ party the bad politician begins to think about the opponent asking oneself how one can hurt the other the most, instead of what should I do to get ahead. This is the revenge that a bad politician seeks upon those that he knows are ahead of him in the polls, and right now this strategy of using fake news and false propaganda is directed only against one party – the BJP – because it is way ahead of the party the scheming politician belongs to. All he can do is find ways to pull down the BJP, but try as he may it’s not working, because there are those in the BJP who are debunking this fake news and false propaganda regularly and intellectually, in their party’s interest and unknowingly, in the interest of the three communities.
For those who have eyes and can see, this is the truth behind the false propaganda we are seeing on social media – essentially the tactics adopted only by those with that wicked instinct of an “Outsider” party that has no real development plan for the State apart from gaining wealth and power for the individual. So my friend, continue to pursue your bigoted desires and perish in the process, because in spite of your cynicism we will continue to promote and benefit one another and as for you, you will still be entitled to your eulogies.
My friend, leave aside the hope that the leading party in the race in this election is vulnerable to your onslaught because it will get you nowhere. Concentrate instead on the strengths of the plans and policies you have for the State, if you have any, and keep the public focused on the strength of the policies you rely on so that the public might be well informed of what you really intend to give them because as of now what they see is your divide and rule strategy.
Here in beautiful Meghalaya, with its hills and vales and rivers and lakes what different and pleasant matters we normally think about so please do not indulge in corrupting the people with fake news and false propaganda, hatred and mischievous delights the kind that can bring misfortune on all of us just because of your lust to rob and dominate and whatever else is called evil. To be sure we have had many elections in the past and never was there a time when we indulged in fake news and false propaganda because we inherently knew it was on the whole extremely foolish and we never held in esteem such vulgarity of the spirit.
(The writer is the spokesperson of the BJP in Meghalaya)
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