Cyber bullying has reared its ugly head again as young student Gurmehar Kaur was made a target for vitriolic attacks on social media channels. It reveals the ugliness to which young women with opinions are subjected.
Gurmehar had made a video which propagated peace and condemned the violence on campuses in Delhi, like the recent bout in Ramjas college. In her video she states that her martyr father was not killed by a specific country but by war. However, as always the misogynists of our society tried to suppress her voice and turned a simple tweet into a national issue.
She was trolled by ex-cricketer Virender Sehwag and actor Randeep Hooda and within minutes was deluged with hate messages. Our ministers, quickly condemned her and decided that this was not her opinion, and instead ‘her mind was being polluted’. Some went ahead and tweeted a collage of her with an underworld don hence, painting her with the same brush.
Matters went out of hand as she started receiving rape and death threats, when she had to finally withdraw herself from the protests. It was not about her video being right or wrong anymore, the entire episode was blown out of proportion and she was branded as an anti-national.
It is sad that we who claim to be a nation which allows individuals irrespective of gender, caste and age to express their opinion can at times be so intolerant. Unfortunately, technological development and social media now allows bullies and intolerants who do not agree with you, to threaten you within your home.
Gurmehar is not the first young woman to be attacked in cyberspace. More often than not, when women express their opinion or present their case which is different from the popular opinion on channels like Twitter and Facebook, they are viciously trolled.
Actress Soha Ali Khan was trolled on Twitter a few months back when she expressed her disappointment on Raghuram Rajan’s announcement to exit as RBI Governor. The actress had lashed back at her detractors and had firmly stated that like every citizen, she was entitled to an opinion.
Both Sonakshi Sinha and Sonam Kapoor who had taken to social media to express their displeasure against the week-long ban on the slaughter and sale of meat were trolled mercilessly on Twitter.
Every year Durga Puja is celebrated with much fanfare. We pray to the goddess and praise her for her power and wisdom. Then why is it difficult for a woman to express her opinion in this country? Why should she keep quiet just because she is a girl? Why should she take abuses lying down and cower?
Most importantly, why can’t our society move away from the patriarchal mindset that tries to control every aspect of a girl’s life and threatens her that any deviation by her may have chilling consequences?
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Top image is a screen grab from the video