Won’t let bulli deals bully me
I woke up yesterday morning to find myself tagged in a couple of tweets regarding bulli bai deals but I didn’t pay too much attention. You can call it my privilege or simply that "duty called" at that time, I had chores to get done at home and pending work to complete from office.
Post lunch, I found myself scrolling Twitter again. A legal journalist on my feed had written about how devastated she felt when she saw her name being part of that auction. It was then that my mind went back to the tweets I was tagged in that morning. I confirmed with a couple of people and found out I was indeed featured on that app. Someone also sent me "proof" in the form of a screenshot of my face and Twitter handle plastered on that website. That person warned me it that looking at it might be triggering. I saw it and felt nothing.
I discussed the incident with my husband. By then, the website had been taken down and FIRs already filed. Some influential people seemed to be spearheading the investigation. I got in touch with activists who were part of the investigation to keep me in loop on whatever was going on.
Emotionally, I refused to be triggered by a bunch of trolls whose very intent was to rile me and others like me. I had already branded them nincompoops for picking on me just because I had a Muslim sounding name. At that moment I also realized my privilege. These trolls probably failed to affect me because I know I just happened to be an accidental victim of their hate propaganda.
I am not a fan of the ruling dispensation nor do I identify as an activist. My goals for the last couple of years has been pretty self-centric. Keep work going - keep house running. Having been on this medium (Twitter) for more that 12 years, I thought I had seen it all and with age and experience, very little shocked or surprised me.
Yet I find myself penning my thoughts at 11 pm on this night. I haven’t discussed this with my mother yet. I wonder how the other girls must have discussed this with their families. Were their families supportive or cautionary?
This whole day I have seen news trickling in about suspects being nabbed. Young adults in the ages of 18 to 21. Pawns or as some would day themselves victims of hate propaganda. An 18 year old woman who thought it was okay to auction off other women on the internet because their political and/or religious ideology did not match with hers. Foot soldiers of kingpins who don’t have any ideology except lust for power. She and the other 21 year old engineering student who somehow convinced themselves that what they were doing was “for the greater good”. In the coming days more details will be out. We may find out their source of brainwashing (there are plenty doing it openly these days). Why they thought that treating women as pieces of meat, would tarnish their confidence. Intimidate them. Disgust them. Send them undercover. Silence them.
I was an idealist in my youth but much more pragmatic with growing age. The accused may have been nabbed in this particular case but I don’t see our society turning into an utopia where minority harassment and misogyny are not commonplace in the near future. Has it always been like this and now we are just experiencing this because everyone has a phone and internet to express their opinion, while there were no tools to map individual opinion before ? Is lack of accountability giving such anti social elements the false bravado that they will get away with anything? I don’t know when or if the tides will change. Will it get worse before it gets better?
However, I do hope that somewhere, sometime we find our way back to the country of Tagore’s dreams: Where the mind is without fear and healthy difference of opinion on political thought process is encouraged and appreciated.
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action –
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake