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Amateur Activism

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Social media and ‘fashionable’ activism is so removed from the actual ground conditions that the occasional reminder of the hazards involved in taking on the government or other powerful interest groups proves an unpleasant experience. Not just that, the entitled activists are persuaded to feel in the interactions online that they are above the law, which applies only to ordinary people. These activists freely advise Prime Minister Modi how to run the country and to be ‘strong’ and ‘courageous’ when facing Chinese aggression, but should a neighbour misbehave, they immediately call for help from the same police they spend most of the time berating as an instrument of oppression.

All of this is being seen in the reaction to the arrest of a ‘climate activist’ who, it seems, amateurishly became involved in promoting the infamous ‘Greta Thunberg’ toolkit. In everyday life, one would steer clear of anybody who espouses the Khalistani ideology, but it seems par for the course when it comes to the impersonal social media activism. If one wishes to support a cause or take part in an agitation, it should actually be part of one’s toolkit to check the antecedents of who are involved and what their actual intentions are. Otherwise, one ends up becoming an unwitting victim and an uninformed martyr.

The belief that such ‘noble’ activists should not even be questioned by the police, or have to spend time in its custody, indicates the inherent armchair mindset. One cannot expect the police to take into consideration one’s social and class background, education, age, gender and looks when it comes to the investigative process. Thousands of people, every day, are remanded to police custody in the country in a variety of cases. Without a doubt, many of them are innocent and it is expected that investigations would prove them so. The courts take up these issues as a matter of course and citizens cannot but trust that they apply their minds to the merits of the case rather than consider the person’s status. There are many who work on a daily basis to improve this process, but do so on behalf of the common people. The expectation that the system should suddenly improve for a certain class is misguided and elitist.

If people are really concerned, they should ensure that the accused is given proper legal representation on the merits of the case. Often, when this is done, the purpose is to pursue some ideological objective, or publicity, rather than the actual wellbeing of the accused. Those seeking quick social media celebrity, remember, fools rush in where angels fear to tread.