I am a regular internet user like all of you. I blog, read ebooks online, chat with my friends across the world, check updates on Facebook, watch videos on YouTube and go through tons of articles and comics, like I’m sure most of you do. Whenever I finish reading an article or comic or watching a video, I have a habit of going through the comments on them. I just like getting to know other people’s way of looking at them and what they feel about those. It used to be an activity that kind of opened my mind to multiple perspectives about the same thing. While I may not necessarily agree with all of them, I at least got to think why others may have felt differently from how I felt.
There have always been some people of course, who brought in a highly negative mood into the comments by being extremely harsh or insulting. But I could live with a little bit of negativity, provided the majority of the comments were from level-headed human beings talking sense from their point of view. However, for the past couple of years or so there has been a highly ‘intolerable amount of intolerance’ over the web. And sadly, I can see that the root cause of it in this “educated world” has been racism and a stupid belief that we are way too superior to others and no one has the right to say anything against what we say. Sexism comes as a close second, from the side of both genders, but it definitely loses out to racism.
Today I went through a Buzzfeed article shared by one of my Facebook contacts on the advantages of using a bidet over toilet paper. Sure, the article contained sarcasm, which I must say wasn’t used as a weapon to hurt any section of people. But of course, we are waiting for a reason to be offended, aren’t we? So obviously in the comments section there was an array of comments from representatives of the toilet paper-using section of people against the bidet-using section on the lines of “How dare some bloody Indians who do not even have toilets and poop on the streets give us, the superior race, advice on how to clean our butts?” For sure, there were replies to those comments from the representatives of the highly sanskaari Indian population who got so offended and ended up saying proudly “We do not poop on the streets, but on fields. But even there we do wash our butts with water”, thus proving we are clearly superior to them. And in the middle of all this westerners vs easterners fight, there were a couple of people from the same country fighting because apparently one was black and one was white. Their fight went from whether to use a bidet or toilet paper to whose name had a superior meaning and whose parents had better sense, to who was better – black or white.
Now you might have a smirk on your face thinking “Haha, at least we Indians stick together.” No, my friend, not at all. From Buzzfeed I came to Sahil Rizwan’s Vigil Idiot comic review of the movie Chennai Express. It is a comic strip with stick figures, for the love of God. I mean, how can people possibly fight over a comic strip with stick figures??? It is meant to make people laugh, and probably help people out by telling them which were the shitty movies they could avoid. But no! We have to fight everywhere. In the comments section of the above-mentioned review there started a fight on the lines of “These bloody South Indians are so black and full of bull shit. Their heroes are so aged and ugly looking. And they take our good looking North Indian girls as heroines and drool over them, because clearly there is no good looking girl in South India. I wish all the South Indians were dead.” Jump in the highly offended South Indian with comments “You bloody North Indian swine! You are all so white because your ancestors made out with the British rulers, instead of fighting them. You are nothing but a bunch of assholes with a huge amount of superiority complex. I wish I could shoot you dead right now!”
And there I was thinking, “All this – over a comic strip with stick figures!”
I thought perhaps the separation would end with “North India” and “South India”. But would it? Of course not! In multiple comments sections I have seen Malayalis fighting with Tamilians, Punjabis fighting with Biharis and every sub-section of “North India” and “South India” having a fight with every other sub section. When we are done fighting with people from other states, we turn to people from our own states. Now on what basis do I fight with people from my own state?? No sweat! We can have a fight stirred up with someone from another religion on the lines of “You are all terrorists because you are from a particular religion” and “You are all extremists and non-secular shitty jerks because you are from another religion” and “You are all manipulative and cunning idiots here to convert us to your religion”. An advantage of this fight is that you can bring in politics here as well, because where else in the world can you relate political parties to religion? The age old two birds with one stone strategy!
If that is not good enough we can resort to the latest trend of joining the pro meat ban or against meat ban sects and abusing each other. And if we are left with absolutely no reason to fight, and can’t think of anything at all, there’s always the “Who is a better superstar” fight – Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan, Mammootty or Mohanlal, Pawan Kalyan or Mahesh Babu. Even on something as trivial as this, the amount of hatred that you can actually feel when you read through the comments is tremendous. There is no decent discussion. You disagree with me – I immediately start abusing you and your entire family. Trust me, it makes me scared sometimes. I mean, people who can write with so much hatred against another human being might not just stop at writing, they might start acting on that hatred. Worse yet, they have started acting on that hatred already.
It worries me that far from being a means to connecting people, internet has ended up being a place that instigates more hatred, thanks to all of us. Some days I just feel like closing my browser and shutting down my laptop in an effort to shut myself against all the negativity on the web. But that is not going to help, is it? Because ultimately, the hatred that we see on the web is nothing but a reflection of the hatred that is around us, in the real world – the same hatred that leads to never-ending wars, communal riots, acid attacks, murders and innocent infants washing ashore on beaches!