Hindu Vivek Kendra

Shekar Gupta trolls Anumpan Kher

Author : Ashok Chowgule
Publication: Hindu Vivek Kendra
Date : April 12, 2016
URL : http://hvk.org/specialarticles/shekar/shekar.html

It all started with the following tweet by Shekar Gupta:

Shekhar Gupta @ShekharGupta 8 April 2016.
So patriotic.  Anupam Kher and others marchng to NIT Srinagar.  Why not a padyatra with BMKJ in Bastar? More Indian soldiers being killed there.

This was pinned by Shekharji on his twitter account at least till 12:30pm (India time), 12 Apr 16, when I started to write this note.  A pinned tweet means that the person thinks that it is the most important tweet till the time when he pins another tweet.  That is, for at least four days Shekharji thought it was his most important tweet.

The most obvious response to this tweet is why does Shekharji not organise the padyatra himself, with or without chanting the Bharat Mata Ki Jai (BMKJ) mantra as the yatra proceeds to Bastar.  And many people responded saying so.  One does wonder why it did not occur to Shekarji himself that this would be an obvious response.

However, the tweet was meant to provoke Anupam Kher, and I am glad that he did.  Anupamji tweeted:

Anupam Kher @Anupamkher
Aur aap sirf lecturebazi kariyee!! Aap bhi Kuch karlo Desh ke liye.  Ya sabkuch hum jaise se he karvayoge?
(Why are you giving only lectures.  Please do something for the country.  Or do you want get everything done through people like us.)

To which Shekharji responded as follows:

Shekhar Gupta @ShekharGupta
Sir, I serve our country as hard-working journalist, not activist, actor or padyatri.  Desh aap ke haath mehfuz hai.
(The country is safe in your hands.)

I do not think Anupamji meant to provoke Shekharji.  But I am glad that the latter got provoked.  Having got himself into a hole, instead of trying to extract himself out of it, he decided to dig further into the hole!

Anumpamji could respond in the most obvious way possible, which is:

Anupam Kher @Anupamkher
Sir! We all work hard & serve our country.  But being an actor, activist or padyatri should be none of your business.

Shekharji had another opportunity to extract himself out of the hole.  Instead he decided to dig even further down, when he tweeted:

Shekhar Gupta @ShekharGupta
Of course sir, what you do is fully your business.  Hope us mortals are allowed to admire your multi-faceted talent.

At this point, Anumpaji wisely let others to respond, since there would be only obvious responses.  One of them was:

Shwetzonly @shwetzonly
Shekhar Gupta,  my two cent, dearest.  Admire – yes. Sarcasm – what else one could expect from a person like you!

Another was:

Mamta Niigam @mamtan14
Shekhar Gupta, you have now just reduced yourself to ‘Troll the Walk’.

And so on.

The original tweet itself received brilliant comments from quite a few.  Here are some of them, not ordered in any particular manner.

Baijayant Jay Panda @PandaJay April 10
Oh, come on.  It’s ok for anyone to visit other troubled universities, but not for Anupam Kher to NIT Srinagar?  Stand for principle, folks, not affiliation.

Javed Iqbal Shah @JAVED0909
Dear Shekhar Gupta, you just walked that one step from the sublime to ridiculous.  Next you might ask Anupam Kher to fight Patankot terrorists?

K-jsp @jspandey
Anupam Kher, most presstitutes cry foul of being rolled by Bhakts.  But Shekhar Gupta mastered it with precision.

Real Zaid Hamid @RealZaidHamid
Why Anupam Kher is not doing Pad Yatra to Sun. More number of people are dying because of heat waves in Telangana.

Rohit Pradhan @Retributions
Shekhar Gupta, this is known as whataboutery when trolls do it.  Just saying.

Mamta Niigam @mamtan14
Shekhar Gupta, you have now just reduced yourself to ‘Troll the Walk’.

Abhijit Majumder had tweeted:

Abhijit Majumder @abhijitmajumder April 10
Many senior journalists still don’t get it. Social media doesn’t play by their rules.  Here, freedom of speech is not a cosy-club privilge.

To which Udayan Bose responded:

Udayan Bose @boseudayan
Yes, the senior ones, they are law unto themselves.  And if ever questioned they bristle, do sharp tongued repartee.

Udayan Bose had also tweeted:

Udayan Bose @boseudayan
Shekhar Gupta, at your level of seniority and dare say maturity, these tokas are so unbecoming of you.  Stick to what you are good at.

One Vikram could not help himself, I guess, but to tweet:

Vikram @virvikram
Wells, Udayan Bose, Shekhar Gupta isn’t good at anything.  Anything at all!

Overall, perhaps the feelings of many who thought poorly of Shekharji’s manner of conducting himself, can be summarised by this tweet of Udayan Bose:

Udayan Bose @boseudayan
Anupam Kher, great response.  Shekhar Gupta clearly overstepped to settle his personal anger with you.

I think this episode tells a lot about the group of people who think they are occupying the intellectual space in India.  They have had a free run so far in the way they have been conducting themselves.  And, in the process, they have been thinking that they were indeed making profound statements.  The challenges to them have become apparent only with the advent of the social media, as Abhay Majumder observed above. 

These ‘intellectuals’ have not yet been able to appreciate that the people have seen through them, and hence are not able to make cogent points in support of their position.  Instead, as mentioned above, they are digging themselves even more deep into their holes.  Shekharji is not the only one engaging in this activity.

If these ‘intellectuals’ do not think me of being impertinent, I would like to make a suggestion.  They should spend time in reading the comments that are made on their tweets, particularly those from the Internet Hindus.  There are some tweets that, though making a valid point, do use foul language, or put the point forward in a very obnoxious way.  And there will be some idiotic or irrelevant point  But they are few.  Most make valid points, with some using strong (but not foul or obnoxious) language.

The ‘intellectuals’ should see beyond the language or idiom, and try and understand the point being made.  And take them into consideration, and not dismiss them.  They need to have a dialogue with their readers and the people at large.  If the contention of these readers is not valid, there is a need to take some time and explain.  Sometimes, the reader may be making a generic point, which could be in the minds of many others who have not expressed themselves on the social media, or not able to articulate themselves.  The explanation will reach all of them, and a misconception would be corrected.

The ‘intellectuals’ need to make themselves relevant to the needs of the society.  After all, it is the society that provides them with a livelihood.

(Ashok Chowgule is the Working President (External) of Vishwa Hindu Parishad.  The text of the tweets have been edited for easy reading.)