Thursday, August 4, 2011

VENOMOUS THOUGHTS THROUGH THE INTERNET

B.RAMAN

One has reasons to be concerned over the ill-concealed irrationality of a small number of people, who have been exploiting the advantages of anonymity and wide dissemination for irrational and venomous thoughts provided by the Internet, to indulge in a vicious campaign against those with whom they are in disagreement.


2. One could see from the nature of the campaign and the language used by those engaged in spreading venom that they are or must be from the right of the political spectrum. They do have a legitimate grievance that the traditional Indian print and electronic media does not give them time and space for giving vent to their point of view. One could understand their attempts to use the Internet to propagate their point of view and to counter that of those who, according to them, monopolise attention in the traditional media.


3. While one cannot object to the attempts of the rational elements on the right of the political spectrum to use the Internet for propagating their ideology, one has to be seriously concerned over the emergence of a group of apparently irrational elements on the right of the political spectrum, which is seeking to distort and venomise the political debate by using language, arguments and tactics, which are not dissimilar from those used in the past by irrational elements such as the Nazis and the Fascists.


4. Their language, arguments and tactics are also not dissimilar from those used by some of the contemporary irrationals such as the jihadi extremists and the right-wing extremists and the Neo-Nazis of Europe.


5.These irrational Indian elements belonging to the right of the political spectrum, whose hatred of anybody whom they don’t like, has to be seen, read and felt to be believed, have been misusing the Internet for carrying on an indecent and vicious campaign against certain individuals whom they do not like such as Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress ( I ), Barkha Dutt and Sagarika Ghose, the TV journalists, and others.


6. The worrisome depth to which their campaign has sunk has become evident from the vicious comments and wishes being disseminated by these elements through the Internet following reports that Sonia Gandhi has been taken by her family to the US for medical treatment. They do not conceal a certain venomous glee over the indisposition of Sonia Gandhi.


7. Their obnoxious campaign is directed not only against Sonia Gandhi, but also against Barkha Dutt for favouring the right to privacy of Sonia Gandhi and her family in the matter of her indisposition. Some might rationally disagree with Barkha on this point, but what one has been seeing is not a rational disagreement, but an irrational wave of attacks on her, including expression of wishes or curses that Barkha herself should develop the same illness as Sonia Gandhi for defending the latter’s right to privacy.


8.Obviously, people, who are indulging in the spread of hatred and venom, constitute a small minority, but that is not a valid argument for ignoring their activities. As I had argued on many occasions in my past articles, history is replete with instances when irrational minorities prevailed over rational or moderate majorities because of the failure of the majority to confront the irrationals with determination and solidarity. We saw such instances in Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan and Mao’s China.


9. The antidote to this lies not in imposing curbs on the use of the Internet in order to prevent these elements from misusing the Internet, but in exposing the activities of these elements, in standing in solidarity with their targeted victims and in finding ways of using existing laws against hate-mongering through the conventional media against those indulging in hate-mongering through the new media of the Internet. (5-8-11)


( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre for China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com Twitter @SORBONNE75 )

40 comments:

ambi said...

point to ponder is mr raman which side started it? n who provoked the other side? who exploited the other side, n pls keep ur tojo n nazi bullshit to u only. we r proud indians. even when kashmiri pandits were forced out from their home land, there was no opposite reaction in other states. or when bamiyan buddha was demolished, muslims were so scarred in buddhist majority ladakh region. buddhist youth were going mad in anger, but their elders stopped them from harming muslims in those areas. we r rational people with our heart n mind in proper place. so kindly dont give much pressure on your brain and mind. future of india is safe in the hands of indian youth. we know what to do. pls dont be much concerned. just relax.

highly intellectual people like u have got the country to this stage.

No Mist said...

I dont think your approach is the right one either. Pointing fingers and demonizing the right will only make them more committed and more importantly, vindictive.

I had hoped you would try to teach them the value of dissent in democracy. It would be much better if they are taught the value of vote by experienced people like you. We do not have many people like you. Please consider it.

Sriram said...

All I can say Mr Raman is "Welcome to the internet". It is pretty clear to everyone that people like you, Dutt, Ghosh etc are pretty new to the harsher, sometimes nastier, politically incorrect, hard-hitting internet that has been present since its inception. That you people are finding out now, does not mean that you're correct or that they're :) I hope you understand that you're new to the ways of the internet and find out just how widespread this phenomenon of people using the anonymity of the internet to bring out their innermost feelings is, rather than rant on how hindutva/nazism/fascism etc is out to get/denigrate democratic freedom/values. I hope you find there is more to it than what yo've experience :)

Sriram said...

To explain it better, pleaes take a look at the comic from XKCD - http://xkcd.com/386/

Vivian Richards said...

Another silly blogpost from India's great "Strategic Analyst".

The authors incompetence and hypocrisy is the only thing that becomes obvious from a reading this post.

Mr Bahukutumbi Raman must not be under the delusion that his age and experience alone will provide him the legitimacy and clout to influence opinions. His articles will be judged for the content, facts and perceptions in society. So obviously People will find fault with all the garbage he wants them to believe in.

Like the idea that internet "hatemongers" need to be identified and prosecuted. This is a joke. Mr Raman is living in an age that has been long gone. No one believes in his idea of India anymore. It is people like him who have failed India. It is his batch of government servants who are causing pain and suffering to the common man on the streets of India today.

If anything, Mr Raman should be ashamed of talking about perfectly rational and sane Indians in this manner.

Krishna Kacker said...

What we are viewing is the growing intolerence to a view different from ours added to the feeling that we and we alone have the right views on any subject.This is a very dangerous trend as the rants of a few repeated a hundred times starts looking as the gospel truth.
As in the case of the print media, some sort of regulation on cyber media also will have to be imposed.Sooner this is done the better.It is for the cyber specialists to devise ways and means to do so in such a way that normal proper expression of different view does not get scuttled in the process.
Hate normally produces even more hate;nobody seems to remember that if the principle of an eye for an eye is followed, all would be blind!!!

Paresh said...

If these pseudo-secularists/nationalists can openly spew venomous thoughts against some eminent personalities through the print and TV media, the common man has no choice but to retaliate through the internet - the one tool accessible to him!

Raj said...

I respectfully and strongly disagree with the author's views on 'hate spewing' and how to deal with this so-called 'hate spewing'(which he is entitled to). Most 'rightists' on the internet are perfectly rational people - very conscious of propriety and respect. Tweeter limits one to restrict his/her views to 140 characters - sometimes, the message does appear to be brusque. But, the messages are not venomous.

duvijan said...

Why is my account blocked for commenting against your blog ? Are you afraid of the public opinion ?

duvijan said...

The use of the word Right Wing Terror and Hindu Terror . This is an absolute insult to sentiment to millions of Hindhus. Just because of political correctness and the argument " Every religion is same" , jihadi ideology has no sanction or equivalent with any of the Philosphies or Scriptures of Sanatan Dharma for which no voices are raised. there is a genuine anger against so called intellegentia who cannot feel the pulse of people. Why dont you write a single article and misuse of media by forces ?

Esoteric said...

You have just suffered from rightophobia!Be that as it may...

Since Sonia Gandhi has no responsibility but enjoys political power,there is no case for her 'right to privacy'.All leaders incl politicians,businessmen etc must inform stakeholders in this case Indian citizens; where are they headed,what treatment is being provided,what is the medical condition.This is the practice in all western democracies that India is supposed to be similar to...

I must add,there is speculation whether there is any surgery at all..

skiran said...

I think the writeup above is an unnecessary overreaction. There are people who abuse anonymity from all sides, including those from 'left wing'.

Please ask yourself:
1) Why wasn't there a break from discussing wild allegations of Sai Baba when millions were mourning his near-death or death? Why were the same TV divas you mentioned continued to talk about his wealth when his devotees were in mourning state? Wasn't that insensitive?

2) Why was privacy right not granted to Anantha Padmmanabhaswamy temple's trust? After all it was their wealth which was unearthed. 24 * 7, 'not so right wing' anchors went on talking about what needs to be done with that money. What right did they even have to talk about someone else's money? I mean non-public money?

3) When the same TV divas you mention went on showing 24 * 7, Nityananda videos, which were his PRIVATE affair, even if true, did anyone raise voice? Did you raise voice against his violation of privacy? The same channels went on mocking, abusing & insulting him as 'sex swami' for months.

Do we have a different set of rule for Sonia Gandhi and one for Sai Baba, Hindu temple trust or Nityananda? How about the countless MMS videos, terrorism victims, abduction cases, rape cases, that the same channels go on showing, without validating? How about the legal rights of politicians like Yeddyurappa and Modi, who were pronounced guilty by the same media channels, using their kangaroo court system?

In an open media like Twitter, people tell the same TV divas, their high level of hypocrisy openly. If someone abuses, that's plain wrong. But if someone shows the mirror in a civil way, we don't need to over react.

take care,
- Kiran

nationalizer said...

sir,

1. what do you mean by anonymus? Should we all give you or Barkha our personal address and phone number?

2.We are not driven by any organisation ,not rss in particular, we neither endorse them nor do they endorse us.Then why blame rss for us, and we for rss?we speak our mind out.

3.As far as the abuive lingo use, it has been used by almost all people when the personalities which is opposite to thier ideology dies or falls ill. This is common man s place and donot expect queens english here.

4.We expect some brilliant analysis from former RAW officer like you !

Vinay said...

Dude, are you trying to get more traffic to your site by publishing a meaningless one-sided opinion.

I don't care about right or left, but why follow different rules for different people/politicians. Hiding deserving information of a person ruling the country in name of privacy, while blatantly live telecasting mumbai terror attack.

This makes me feel, the so called media deserve more shit than what they actually get. Reason? They are politically motivated mouth pieces.

I will fight for anyone with right to free speech(venom or what ever you call depending on person speaking out)

Esoteric said...

Skiran- Yes,agree with your thoughts.Must say you are hardly anonymous with photo and all:)

Forget twitterati...The key point is corruption is NOT acceptable.Congress must choose new leadership and new political base as corruption as a system is not okay anymore.Rent Seeking has to give way to Rent creating.

...and old guard has to pay karmic dues..one way or the other.

Divakar S Natarajan said...

@divakarssathya divakar s natarajan

@SORBONNE75 I am unfollowing U. We r not on the same wavelength.Yr silence n th face of a 20 yr long atrocity is appalling.

Unfortunately, in the above context, your "analysis" seems like good old fashioned sycophancy. It is this kind of sycophancy that is the psychological stuff of fascism.

If the most illustrious people to whose defense you have sprung, need another fly swatter they are fully capable of getting another.

durgesh said...

Sir, i always look forward to your views on the strategic affairs but this is hardly a strategic affair. Moreover the star journalists whom you have named here are targeted for their hypocrisy and not for any other thing.

For you to see http://gadgets.ndtv.com/shownews.aspx?id=GADEN20110170068
In this video NDTV has posted an ailing Steve Jobs but they were preaching to respect the privacy. Now if this does not expose their hypocrisy to you , I am not sure what will.

chai said...

This Sonia songs even after you have retired? and even after all that this family has done to this country. Not even a hospital after 60yrs that can treat her own cancer?

I sometimes wonder Mr. Raman, is this all you got in your gray cells?. What made you into IB? What is the use of all this if you cannot sense the nerve of people around you and you still want to stick around with singing lores to the first family?.
Sit in a dark room, shut off from civilization and challenge your intellect. You will know the answers.

SK Sahoo said...

I respectfully disagree with you. It is very clear from your posts that you are politically biased. You mentioned the names of Sonia Gandhi, Barkha Dutt and Sagarika Ghose. But, you willfully didn't mention about Modi, Advani etc who are foulmouthed by your so called "left liberals". Your political bias and hatred against nationalists is evident from the post. I don't know why, but my guess is you have been fed with the black money of the corrupt govt. This is sad story of India. India have been attacked, invaded, looted and raped by foreigners due to Mir Jafar and Jaichands like you. I have nothing personally against you. I am a normal highly educated common man and I am not even associated with any party. I commented because I was very disappointed after reading such a biased article. And less said about the media the better. It seems to me that they have become the most corrupt among the four pillars of democracy.

P.S. - You also mentioned about "a small number of people". I don't think that is true. You can just find that out by reading these comments. It is the opinion of the majority of the common people (atleast online people). Just browse any article on corruption and terrorism and you'll realize what is majority opinion and what is minority opinion. I only wish if all those people would actually go to vote in stead of just commenting!!!

Admin said...

Sir, how come you forgot to mention that Barkha Dutt is the best journalist in the world?

How dare you do that sir?

Your next weekly pay packet is not reaching you now!

jT said...

He is speaking about the irrational elements of the right who use language and ill feelings to influence the general public, and is not criticizing the rational elements who have a right to express themselves.

InstantKarma said...

The universal law of Karma applies to all, Mr. Raman.

After the CWG, 2G, Adarsh, ISRO, Tatra truck, Bofors, Swiss bank and other scams, one knows that all the money in the world cannot stop cancer. The cancer of corruption has been the Gandhi family gift to India.

A disappointing post from you.. One would expect a man of your stature to comment in an even handed way about extremists on both sides. Perhaps you have been affected by the selective secularism in this country.

Indus said...

1. A small fraction of the reaction has been extreme, and a small fraction has been extremely mild, the bulk of them are rational, and some exceptionally good. This pretty much follows the bell curve in nature. Nothing to do with right or left wing.

2. See where the country is today and ask who has been leading India during this time frame? 85% congress.
Has the media brought them to task? Hell, no.

3. Have more distinguished civil servants (excluding you and v few) done anything to improve governance in their area? Hell, no.

4. Has anybody even had the decency or moral fiber to ask these questions? An old ex-serviceman and a yoga teacher have. that's about it!

5. Instead, to turn around and attack a section of the population for venting their frustrations is saddening and shocking, respected sir. Angry words on the internet don't hurt, corruption in the form of congress and its double-faced media partners do.

Let's prioritize, sir.

Sarang said...

Sir,

Probably you do not understand the mood of the common man on the street. HE IS ANGRY!

These feelings of extreme frustration at the UPA Govt. and its pure ARROGANCE is what leads to these 'venomous' thoughts from some.

I do not appreciate the venom being spewed, but I certainly feel the common man's ANGER.

Aryzul said...

Why don't you write an article on misuse of Sahayaks in Armed Forces

http://indianmilitarynews.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/armys-practice-of-soldiers-as-personal-assistants-slammed/

Terror attacks in India can not be stopped till inteligence agencies like RAW, IB, NTRO, NatGrid and what not. are eployed to protect privacy of Gandhi family and serve only its political master by generating various kind of secret kind of survey to fix opponents be it RSS or someone else.

Now you got scared of this handful (you call them minority) of guys on internet who refuse to sell their opinion to Congress. Have guts have a referendum on Anna's Lokpal bill. Present day Govt will be knocked out in 5 minutes and not only that we want all the money to be recovered from them and people like HR Bahrdwaj be arrested for releasing Quotrochi bank accounts.

I wish, If Anna's lokpal gets throgh, I will be first one to launch a complaint against PM.

duvijan said...

to be blunt ! just hold a mirror on all these comments from perfectly rational people , i for one to reveal my position is a Aerospace Engineer working in Germany for UAV programme and am 28 years old. I am sure there is a wide spectrum of comments coming from all sections of society. Please dont call our Rightful criticism as "Venomous Thinking". There is a huge conspiracy going on

1. National security is compromised because of PMO is subservient to Sonia Gandhi.
2. Cabinet Ministry is subservient to NAC and the members are clearly biased headed by a Dictatorial SOnia
3. No accountability in any of the government actions
4. The socalled Honest PM is nothing but a Silent endorser for Insitutionalising corruption.
5. Now the media uses the myth and equates Jihadi terror with our HOME MINISTERS and UPAs new invention "Saffron Terror".
6. Rahul Gandhi says Hindu Terror (a non existence ) is far greater than cross border terrorism.

Sandeep said...

"They do have a legitimate grievance that the traditional Indian print and electronic media does not give them time and space for giving vent to their point of view. One could understand their attempts to use the Internet to propagate their point of view and to counter that of those who, according to them, monopolise attention in the traditional media."

Dear Raman Saar,
The complaint is NOT that "traditional Indian print & electronic media" is not giving time and space"; Issue which you fail to highlight is that the paid writers of 'traditional Indian print and electronic media' are writing baseless and obscene articles denigration hindu faith.( e.g. News titled Is Sai Baba alive? Barely - By Soumita Majumdar & KV Ramana/DNA-Daily News & Analysis, 22/04/2011); Did Sathya Sai Baba die before April 24?- Source: KV Ramana, DNA 28/4/2011)

And selective moralists like your good selves have no problem with it.

Raj said...

I respectfully do not agree with the author's views that the messages from the 'rightists' in the twitter have been venomous. They are just views of ordinary web users - some humorous, some sarcastic, some witty, some angry, and some plain dumb. I have also noted that a tweet in poor taste is quickly and often rebuked by a fellow twitter user (who might otherwise have political views similar to that of the previous twitter user).

The solution to the problem of 'expression of venomous thoughts' is appropriately retorting and debating on that particle internet forum itself. If an article espousing 'rightist' views are published in a right-leaning newspaper, every attempt should be made a 'left-leaning' newspaper to have somebody with known 'left-leaning' views write a counterpoint article.

NB: Suppression of contrary views/opposition is the cardinal feature of fascism.

Dr Satya Saraswat said...

Mr Raman why do you give character certificate to Ms Barkha Dutt on regular weekly basis. If a person of your intelligence can't make out what she stands for then i can call it just RAW Koaboy's intelligence. Her integrity vanished when she played for Pakistan in Kargil and Mumbai(26/11). Her venomous attack on Narendra Modi and Hindus has been persistently bitter and irrational. She has different yardstick for hindus/BJP and another one for Muslims and Congress. She cherry-picks issues which suit her agenda. The minutes shreds of integrity vanished with Radia Tapes. Her Freedom of Speech was different for S Swamy and MF Hussain. And if Brown Sahibs can't make the distinction then the situation is definitely worrisome.
Although i am much junior to you in world matters but i recommend this link , especially chapter 9. http://www.voiceofdharma.com/books/hibh/.

AJ said...

I for a minute don't believe this has anything to do with not having an outlet in the mainstream media. For instance, right wing Congress(I) sympathizing people have long run Internet campaigns against BJP leaders such as the various "I hate Narendra Modi" and "I hate L.K. Advani" groups on Orkut and Facebook, even though similar views are frequently voiced through the mainstream media in more diplomatic language.

What I believe is happening is one of two things - a) That the government has been backing off Article 19(2), after seeing how the restrictions enabled by the constitution were used against Hussain (as if Rushdie and Nasreen didn't matter!) or b) That the ISI's friends in the Indian government are enabling media and Track 2 collaborations with the ISI to promote the ISI point of view, by limiting how often government agencies take cognisance of hate speech.

Indus said...

Two of our Jawans are beheaded by Kashmiri terrorists and news is deliberately hidden from the public. Shameful! But u cant hide it from the internet. Another reason why there is so much Indian frustration online and most of it is based on real events on the ground, unlike that Oslo killer's self-deluding fantasy.

Anil said...

Sir,

With due respect, I disagree with your analysis. You have not tried to understand the issue well enough.

Admin said...

How come the worthy publisher of this blog did not get the time to put out a post on beheaded Indian soldiers?

Waiting for permission from his recupirating mata?

CM said...

1. Calling them fascists - check.
2. Comparing with WWII and NAzi germany - Check
3. Highlighting the dangers of ignoring the right wing minority - check

Followed the script to the hilt.

The disjunction between those who hold positions of power and the masses is quite evident here.
The voices of these "fascists" are getting louder and louder and it is now quite impossible to ignore this. Ignore these at your own peril

Men of integrity stand for values and intelligent acquaintances. Not for people with questionable character and lack honesty and sensitivity.

Your support of Barkha Dutt who
1. Messed up in Kargil
2. Messed up in Mumbai 26/11
3. Has her hands dirty with Radia tapes

is quite perplexing.

Can you explain your stance on this and why it does not affect your conscience. ?


Introspection is the needed her. Not name calling and arm-flailing.

powerslave said...

Raman saar points taken however how about using the same yardstick for venomous outbursts by elected folks on public foras ? Case in point why don't I see a blog post from you on Digvijay Singh's consipiracy theories and even insinuations against the police or other law enforcement agencies (eg. Batla house encounter). All in all when the common man sees an elected representative go unchecked for his irresponsible and snide remarks in media and other public platforms how can one expect the masses to respond in a more civil way ? Let the one's in power first behave responsibly and then we shall talk about the responsibility of the powerless.

--Naveen Negi

kabalan said...

dear Raman. recent cnn ibn survey shows rahul is the most preferred candidate for pm post with 19% followed by mms and sonia at 10% each, narendra modi at 4th position with paltry 5% votes.

with paid surveys like these how do you expect the common man to remain a mute spectator forever ?

" They do have a legitimate grievance that the traditional Indian print and electronic media does not give them time and space for giving vent to their point of view "

so mr raman u urself have acknowledged that the so called venomous propaganda is due to biased media. so why not concentrating on the cause which is media sycophancy rather than the hate speech which is just a symptom ?

EjazR said...

Sir a very timely article on the rise of the loony right in India. Though a microscopic minority, it should be put under the spotlight and debated forcefully by the moderate majority so as to expose their irrationality.

These elements hurt the centre right more than any liberal leftist could and the time to tackle this menace is now.

Nomad Lama said...

people like your Kinda IQ heads our strategy and internal security. Now wonder Terrorists are having an upper hand here in India in a casual way.

EVen a middle school boy now knows the sauce that Barkha and Sagarika and sonia holds.

Please Google for Chetan Kunte Episode. I mean how can a person be so stereotype. Threatening to Sue a poor guy for the very base of profession you are in "Freedom of Speech"

kittoo said...

Oh its ok for B.Raman ji as long as you criticize BJP/VHP/RSS etc. That is just and fair. But you cant criticize Congress! Look at so much that they have done for minorities! So what if what they have done is anti-national and detrimental to Hindus? So what if they have treated the nation as their fiefdom? So what if they have treated Hindus as second class citizens? No sir, these these things do not matter for the great strategic thinker B.Raman. You just cant criticize Congress. You cant lament on the state of your country, civilization or religion, even if its clear who made the condition so.

Rejo J Thayyen said...

You have raised a very valid point about the irrational behaviour of certain quarters of netizens. I feel, most of moderate Indians will agree with this view point. People who are unable to make an entry into traditional print and electronic media have found internet as a good tool to propagate their venomous point of views. This is high time that we should start thinking of ways to free internet from this group of hatemongers.