India has an abuse epidemic. Those with hardly any contribution to humanity (other than profanity packaged as humor), can throw stones at those who are involved in work that will save not just our kids but the planet itself.
A hundred years from now, when the world’s climate has been further screwed by all of us and living for our kids would have become unbearable (if science is to be believed), it is the work of very few men and women that will be remembered because it would have made a difference.
Not words, but work.
In 2120, Greta Thurnberg is not the one who will be remembered for a speech and celeb status swag. But people like these – Ivan Duque, Marc Benioff, Dominic Kailash Nath Waughray, Jane Goodall, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, and Sadhguru – who are on a mission to plant 1 trillion trees in the next few years. Besides other work they have been and are doing for the planet and its inhabitants.
In a world where anyone with no real achievements in life other than sleeping, eating, drinking and bitching can have access to media power to spill abuse and rancour, there are some people who make things happen. Let us look at just one such initiative to see what I mean.
Saving Cauvery – actual work for humanity
In a country, as divided in political terms as India, and a problem as politically complex as the Cauvery river dispute, Sadhguru, has inspired two state governments of different political dispensations, to align with a life-saving initiative. The Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments (different parties) have joined hands in this initiative called “Cauvery Calling” – a mission to save the Cauvery river!
Apart from that, of course, Sadhguru has inspired millions from different walks of life to join and contribute. A word on why is Cauvery important?
Thanjavur District has been known as the Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu. It has been so because the Cauvery river which originates in the Kodagu district of Karnataka brings alluvial soil to this delta area of Thanjavur district and makes it one of the most fertile region in the country and indeed the world.
Today Cauvery is, unfortunately, one of the most exploited rivers in the country.
Cauvery, one of India’s most exploited rivers, energizes the delta region covering an area of 81,155 square kilometers. It is also one of India’s most fertile landmasses that is larger than the size of Republic of Ireland. (source)
Reversing the damage can impact a population in millions for generations to come!
The aim of this whole effort is to plant 2.42 billion trees along the 81,155 square kilometers of the Cauvery basin. So far 47,890,714 or ~48 million trees have been donated to the initiative.
Just for comparison, Mumbai has 3.3 million trees in all, while Delhi as per its state government, has 180,000 trees (though these figures are suspect)! So, by their own measure, close to 16 times the trees in Mumbai have already been donated for the farmers to grow them along the Cauvery basin. Do you understand the magnitude of the work involved for that?
Why is this important?
Because of this picture, which explains the coming disaster.
Stand-up jokers and Trolling, Bigotry and Abuse
Far away from the world of trees, environment, reality, and facts, there is a world of self-congratulatory abusive crowd-members, who in all their seriousness call themselves “liberals”. The connotation of the word generally is that one who is “open and broad minded to new thinking and work”. But in this modern-day landscape of threats, hate speech, “flaming,” “griefing,” and “doxing, it is anything but open or broad-minded. Self defined members of this group perch themselves on a self-constructed pedestal and attack everyone else who doesn’t toe their line via hate speech and abuses.
One specimen of the crowd is a guy who ran away from a college in Mumbai (without telling his parents) and barely completed his school, because he couldn’t handle the pressure of the studies. The name of this person is Kunal Kamra.
All he has for a man who has taken up to plant 2.4 Billion trees in next 12 years and has a standing Guinness record for planting maximum trees in a day, and has changed the lives of millions are abuses and profanity. He himself may have done nothing for humanity other than spewing hatred, cynicism and abuse. But he has no qualms throwing regular abuses against anyone doing serious work. What this means for you, your kids and this planet is for you to decide.
Abuse is not humor. But the Indian stand-ups like him and Atul Khatri, another person who abuses PM Modi and his government and anyone who appreciates his work (like Sadhguru), think that abuse is the way to make your hate and cynicism get credibility.
Please remember, there are only two reasons why such trolls and abusive individuals go after a person like Sadhguru:
- he is perceived as someone who is appreciative of PM Modi
- he is perceived to be a Hindu or at least in Indian civilization and Dharma
Bigotry and political hatred have become the sine qua non of comic fodder these days. As much as they are packaged as sarcasm and irreverence, they are not.
Irreverence and breaking from tradition have been the mainstay of Indian spiritual history. But it is done with some sense of context. When your only aim is to target someone politically and only for one reason – that you hate that person based on your own religious or ideological ways, then you cannot make any “high road” claims.
Trolling and Abuse as a political weapon
Trolling is an ideological weapon today. And, its two important components are misinformation and abuse.
Jessikka Aro an investigative journalist with the Finnish Public Broadcasting Company’s cross-media product Yle Kioski, discussed in one of her papers about how the trolls work in order to discredit work of others and create confusion in any society through misinformation and outright lies.
My results proved that aggressive pro-Russia propaganda trolls had had an impact on many Finns, on their attitudes and even their actions: some had stopped discussing Russian politics online; others had lost touch with what was true or false, for example, about the war in Ukraine. More concerningly some Finns had started to spread aggressive pro-Kremlin disinformation without checking their facts after being exposed to the propaganda (source)
All this is now being enhanced into a weapon by combining – harassment, threats, hate speech, “flaming,” “griefing,” and “doxing.
For example, in the case of Kunal Kamra, who has been abusing the current government, PM Modi and anyone associated or praising him or appreciating his work, flaming (online act of posting insults, often laced with profanity and offensive language on social networking sites) becomes his ticket to first creating a constituency of hate and then feeding it with matter which is primarily profane. Humor that he aims for comes not from the content, but the imagined connotation of the content to that particular hate group.
Granted that social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook do not define the world or the Indian masses, but there is an attempt to create a power which is disproportional to one’s stature, appeal or work.
And, it is the usurping of the issues of national and human interest by abusive, hate-filled, profanity spewing trolls like Kamra and Khatri that is particularly dangerous to our society.
Democracies weaponized by social media power now are quickly spiraling into Pathocracies (A system of government created by a small pathological minority that takes control over a society of normal people) and Kakistocracies (a state or society governed by its least suitable or competent citizens)!
These pathological “least suitable” and incompetent individuals, powered by a network that spans the globe, and where abuse can be used to target the unguarded or confused youth, can attempt to take control of the national narrative.
They can make a large number of confused and ill-formed minds believe in things that are not even there. Behind their paychecks and the financing of their gigs, that is the goal.
“There’s a political comedy industry now,” said Mike Still, former artistic director of Los Angeles’s Improvisational and Sketch Comedy Training Center and theater, the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, “[and] industry means that it needs to be bought.”Source
One is not saying that Modi’s political or ideological opponents are coming with bags full of cash for Kamra and Khatri, but there is an industry that is overwhelmingly churning out abusive, one-sided, and profane performances – in word, speech, and hashtags – and bottling it as humor. Such a spectacularly prejudiced and politically weaponized industry cannot be an organic happening.
It is a creation.
And such a creation – this industry – has questionable financing at its base.
Hate and Trolling is not a natural outgrowth in a society. As the American experience suggests, there is dirty money and troll-farms at the base of it all. Who and why needs to be figured out by those who matter and have the infrastructure.
Abusive Trolling in Kakistocratic societies can compromise the future
From a broader social perspective, it is not about an individual or about one leader in a nation. The important thing is that people like Sadhguru have the wisdom and wherewithal to make a substantial difference and change in a society’s future survival itself and they, along with their work, are being targeted in order to simply settle political scores with the government of the day. By weaponised pawns in a larger ideological battle.
Kakistocratic and pathocratic trolls can derail things that will be game-changers in climate change war and other critical social initiatives.
Which of course is the most bizarre thing.
In a country where the environment and increasing population are the two most serious issues, here is one man (Sadhguru) who is working over 20 hours a day on most days to ensure that along with his other responsibilities he is doing something truly revolutionary with respect to the climate. Supposedly, a dear subject with the “liberals”, or so they say. But while they eulogize the angry Greta who has mere insults and complaints to share with the world, these so-called climate saving “liberals” go after – and back those who target- people who ARE making real change happen.
Spirituality and Trees – its your choice
Spirituality is not for everyone. What Sadhguru has to offer in that realm is for those who want to touch life closely.
To others, it is not even relevant nor important. For them a brief, uneventful, limited existence with petty pursuits and anger will suffice.
For those who seek, there are larger and deeper questions that trouble. Seeking their answers is the only endeavor that will satisfy them. For them, Sadhguru is a being who means far more than anything that even socially relevant work can offer.
Yes, rivers are important and indeed critical, but there is the fundamental truth that one seeks which goes beyond one’s life and death. That is where Sadhguru becomes irreplaceable for those seekers. In the conscious wave of this existence, for those who want to surf, he is the handholding guide.
Not everyone needs to surf the consciousness though. Oceans are littered with bodies and ships that couldn’t flow along. So is life.
No abuse, no argument and no words can define or grasp that journey.
That is why for many who do not see spirituality as a seeking, beings like Sadhguru are only relevant for the billions of trees that they will inspire everyone to plant and save rivers for us all. All – those who bow down to him in devotion and those who abuse him. Without discretion or prejudice.
Those are the stakes.