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    2017: When outrage became our national past-time


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    If you started counting the number of things Indians were outraging about at 11:30 PM on 31st December 2017, you’d be well into the New Year before the list was completed. That’s because 2017 was a breakout year, where social media increasingly set the agenda in real life and we collectively jumped from one outrage to another.


    Facts were twisted, spliced, made into WhatsApp videos, packaged as viral posts on propaganda websites, as those who benefit from spreading falsities continued their merry ways with little disdain for the consequence of their actions. And often this systematic outrage was part of well-orchestrated campaign to peddle political agenda.


    Sample some of the topics from 2017 which generated fury and tonnes of coverage - Rajput royals and a little-known organisation losing their cool over Padmavati, political parties and their supporters convinced that EVMs could be hacked by Bluetooth, outraging over the celebration of festivals like Christmas and even the choice of destination of Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma’s wedding.


    The problem wasn’t that particular interest groups raised hell about issues that ‘affected’ them, but them getting a modicum of legitimacy by those who claim to be serious newsmen, who instead of calling out the stupidity gave tacit support to them when it suited their agenda. And make no mistake, all the meaningless outrage and insinuation weakened the institutions which we cherish and are essential in binding together this vast country of a thousand contradictions.


    Thus, when the judiciary is called anti–Hindu for banning Diwali fireworks; when EC is called biased for not going back to old ballot system; when a modicum of doubt is raised about integrity of an ex- PM; when art surrenders to alter of rabble rousers, it hurts us, it dents what we hold dear, what some of us like to call the ‘Idea of India’. We seem to have become a nation dominated by WhatsApp canards, a land where hate could be normalised by using the instrument of outrage.


    A murder of a migrant labour can somehow be justified as retribution for love-jihad, lynching of alleged cow smuggler can be passed off as some holy deed. Whether Tipu Sultan’s birthday should be celebrated thus gets prevalence over farmers’ death, systematic rotting of infrastructure in major Indian cities, becomes a boring topic to discuss compared to Rahul Gandhi going to watch Star Wars. It as if someone has cast a spell to put the entire nation under a massive brain freeze, stalling the age-old ability of the argumentative Indian.

    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/column...t-time-2571851

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