As a platform, Facebook is both a fantastic source of information and a huge time-waster. Besides, it cheapens us without us knowing it. I am copy-pasting a post and some of the comments under it. (There were a few sane comments too, which I’d ignore as they are not relevant to the point I’m trying to make.) I would request you to go through the text and then answer my question at the end.
Let me call the protagonists of this discussion as the Author, and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd commentator respectively.
The Author writes on his Facebook wall: “Saw an interview of Smriti by barkha on NDTV. Smriti simply swatted her off. All of barkha snide remarks supercilliousness [sic] leading questions were handled beautifully. Barkha looked totally pedestrian and outclassed. when she asked a question on bharat mata ki jai.. the crowd spontaneously roared the slogan. Just watch barkha at that moment. you can see her hatred for the slogan. flashed on her face. watch. Barkha, Shes [sic] dangerous. You could feel her anger at Smriti. And it happened at Amethi. No wonder there's a section of press out to smear Smriti. I feel she will make a great politician. watch her”
1st Commentator: Irani has married a person whose ancestors are [sic] from Iran and became his second wife. she is determined to have whatever she wants at any cost. Her children are half Iranians and she is the bahu(daughter in law) of Iran. That was the connection of Smriti has with Iran and it is appropriate to recollect her emotional bond with Iran.
2nd Commentator: So how does that in any way change the way she replied to the presstiute Burkha Dutt? [How easily we abuse highly qualified and competent people who have proved their worth over decades.]
Author: Q is highly prejudiced and shows. pity. Again a vilification campaign against smirti because she dared to oppose the prince how dare she.
1st Commentator: She is no doubt a daring personality. Else how would you explain her claims of BA degree, BCom degree in election affidavits and Yale University degree openly when she is just 12th class? She has taken real life as TV screen life.
3rd Commentator: She has exactly the same qualification as Sonia Maino Ghandy. Will anticipate a tip before service
Incidentally, I respect the 1st commentator as I have come across many of his insightful posts and comments on Facebook. The 3rd Commentator is a good friend of mine, and I admire many things about him except his acerbic tongue.
And this was my two-penny bit to add to the confusion:
“Just as a personal attack is obnoxious in politics, so is untenable glorification of individuals. I beg to differ with two of my good friends. Neither Smriti Irani's marriage, nor Sonia Gandhi's ancestry matters. What they are doing as politicians does.
“Dear Author, you have just called someone prejudiced, but this post in favour of a controversial politician and your joy in seeing Barkha Dutt what you consider “outclassed” and your presumption that she hates the slogan Bharat Mataki Jai, shows deep prejudices in your own mind. So, it might be good for you to remember the adage: "When you point a finger at someone, remember that four fingers are pointed at you."
“Once again, I have been dragged into an argument although I know these arguments are useless. Once people sell their soul to a political ideology (be it Hindutva, be it Communism), arguing with them logically is like arguing with a wall built with Ambuja cement :).
“I don’t see any point of continuing as your friend on Facebook, so I am unfriending you. Goodbye and Good luck.”
Incidentally, until today, I unfriended four or five people on FB only because I was uncomfortable with their reckless use of expletives. (I don’t think I am a prude, but there should be a limit to the cuss words you use in public!) I don’t think I have unfriended anyone so far because of political differences, because I genuinely believe that we ought to listen to different views and learn to live with disagreements. But is there any point in talking to this individual or others like him who dirty the Internet space with unsubstantiated opinions and hurl abuses at anyone who doesn’t share their views?
Have I done the right thing by unfriending this individual?
I’d love to hear from you.
Bengaluru / Friday, 27 May 2016