World-views and Credulity

India’s multi-linguist, multi-religious, multi-ethnic, society is once again subjected to severe stress. The strife in Assam’s some districts between Bodos & Muslims began a month ago. Adjoining Myanmar had witnessed clashes between Rakhine Buddhists & Rohingya-Muslims a month earlier to that. Since 2 months the cyber space was flooded with alleged pictures, either as it is or morphed, of  *massacre of Rohingya-Muslims; when in fact they were of totally unrelated incidences- such as Chinese Earthquake victims or Indonesian Tsunami victims or of Tibetan protester, who had set himself afire to highlight Chinese repression in Tibet . These pictures or even video clips later went viral and even became part of SMS & MMS doing rounds on cellular network. These in turn apparently incited Muslims to turn violent during a meeting organized in Mumbai to condemn attacks on Muslims in Myanmar & Assam. Media was attacked because they felt it had ignored this issue. Police too were viciously attacked. Then Maharashtra Navnirman Sena took out a rally to express *solidarity* with Mumbai Police and Media. When social tensions mount, one inevitable fallout is the debates between Secularists, who are dubbed *Pseudo* by their detractors, and Hindu Nationalists, who in turn are called *Communal*.

One such a debate took place on the internet group, where a member circulated a message, which he had received on his Rotary group. It was *scholarly* titled: 10 Shades of Indian Secularism. The First Shade said: ^^In India, with 80% Hindu population, and the only homeland of Hindus in the world, the birthdays of great sons of the soil, Shri Ram and Shri Krishna, are not compulsory central government  holidays, while the birthday of Saudi Arabia born prophet Mohammad and both the birth and crucification day of Bethlehem born Jesus, are compulsory holidays throughout India. This seems in sync with the secular hypothesis that Ram and Krishna are imaginary comic characters while Mohammad and Jesus are actual historical characters. There are only 2 Hindu holidays out of compulsory 14, in contrast with 4 Muslim ones^^. It had some obvious errors. The member, who circulated it would have noticed these himself had he given it a careful  scrutiny, such as one would give to news that doesn’t agree with one’s viewpoint. Unfortunately, such scepticism is reserved only for disagreeable world-views. Whereas agreeable news can get away with murder with not even a eyelid batting. I wrote out a reply to state how facts contradict the claims made in the aforementioned message.

^^

The “Rotary” message indeed speaks for iteself. It is short on facts and long on fiction.
1. India is not the only homeland for Hindus. Nepal is too and until 2006 it was the only *Hindu Nation* in the world.
2. Krishna Janmashthami is a Gazetted holiday as are Mohammed’s & Jesus’s birthdays. See links here [http://www.india.gov.in/calendar/calendar.php] and [http://scm-bps.blogspot.in/2012/01/list-of-government-of-india-gazetted.html]. For Hindus, Ram and Krishna are Avatars of God, if not the God *herself*. Christains and Muslims hold Jesus & Mohammed as prophets but humans none the less. Birth dates and birthdays matter to Humans (refer General V K Singh date of birth controversy], but not to GOD, who is in any case *omni potent* & *omni Present*. The birthdays of Buddha & Mahavir are gazetted public holidays too. I am sure that even the gentleman, who wrote the message, would not grudge these ancient gentlemen Bharatiyatva. He may even hold them to be Hindus, but in his eyes they won’t rank anywhere with Shri Ram & Shri Krishna. Buddha & Mahavir are to be included in the Hindu pantheon, the former even as reincarnation of God,  only to be ignored and neglected. 
3. There are 5 Hindu gazetted holidays against 4 for Muslims.
In the *FIRSRT SHADE* of Indian Secularism itself there are so many glaring mistakes.
Here is a clue for futher study for those interested: Like CrPC, IPC and Government  of india act 1935 [many provisions of which found their way into our constitution], even the *Government Holidays* we must have inherited from the Colonial Administration. Why not check which were the gazetted and restricted holidays at the time of independence? For Starters, 15 August and 26 January won’t be there.
Before, *rotating* a message it would be beneficial to check the veracity of it, otherwise it would be *Misinformation and Prejudices* IN and the same garbage OUT with added *Ignorant Endorsements*. Please see my post here [http://searchlight-is-on.blogspot.in/2012/08/what-is-agreeable-news-is-not-perforce.html] in this context. Usually I may be branded as *Secularist*, but in this post I have pointed out possible fallacy in the claims of a secularist regarding Narendra Modi.
Would someone care to check out the remaining 9 Shades? If the member who circulated the message takes the lead in such an examination, it would be a right step in making the debate here more informative and raise the standard.
^^
I would like to repeat here, because it is relevant and has become urgent due the havoc Cyber-Propaganda can wreak in real life, what I said in an earlier post.
There is a need to understand the sociology of social media. Like in real life, birds of same feathers congregate together in cyber-life. But, unlike real-life, the members of “congregation” often do not know each other, do not know whether someone is who says who he is, and of each others intentions. The benefit of face-to-face meeting, where body language can offer many clues to what is unsaid, is absent. Nor does one know anything about the reliability and dependability of a source- a trust or lack of it that one develops in real life through interactions over a period. This makes it easy too to “infiltrate” such groups and subvert them. Another difficulty is the short attention spans of social media participants, who are mostly in the “breaking the news” mode. Add to this the fact that almost everyone accepts a message uncritically and credulously if it agrees with one’s “worldview”. A “worldview” that is the fulcrum around which one’s social media group revolves. Any news within this world becomes an  “instant hit” and a “gospel truth”, which is obligingly regurgitated without end. Short attentions spans love pictures too. Ain’t a picture worth more than a 1000 words? Yes, it is; and one has seen above with what effect. This is a challenge that has to be met. It is not insurmountable. Intellegence agencies would find many among the internet community who would be willing to collaborate for free to take down such plots before they can do damage. What it needs is some imagination and participatory work ethic.

O O O O O O O O O O O O O

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: