Sunday, March 14, 2010

Don’t block the ‘Internet Hindus’


That won't silence the clanging bells!

Hindus who are proud to assert their identity and fly the Tricolour high have now found a new platform to have their say, the way they want it, without fear of being shouted down. Tired of being derided by pseudo-secularists in media who see nothing wrong with Muslim communalism and Christian fundamentalism but are swift to pounce upon Hindus for being ‘intolerant’, their cultural ethos crudely denigrated by the Left-liberal intelligentsia as antediluvian, Hindus have begun to harness technology to strike back with deadly effect.

They are bright, they are well-educated, they are not burdened with regional and caste biases, they are amazingly well-informed on national issues and world affairs, they are rooted in Indian culture, and they are politically alert. They hate being told they are wrong when they know they are right. They have a mind of their own and refuse to be led like sheep. Not surprisingly, they hold the Congress, the Left and regional parties in contempt, as they do journalists who cravenly ingratiate themselves with the establishment. For them, India matters — and matters more than anything else. Meet the ‘Internet Hindus’.

In recent days there has been a spate of articles disparaging the ‘Internet Hindus’, variously describing them as “loonies”, “fanatics”, “irrational”, “Hindu Taliban” and, by an enraged news channel anchor, “gutter snipes”. Much of the criticism has come from left-of-centre journalists who believe they have unfettered monopoly over media as their inalienable birth right. Exalted members of Delhi’s commentariat, who are indistinguishable from the city’s la-di-dah socialites, tend to turn up their noses every time they hear the phrase ‘Internet Hindus’ as they would at the suggestion of travelling by public transport. Others are given to contemptuously brushing aside ‘Internet Hindus’ as being irrelevant and describing their views as inconsequential. All this and more has neither dampened the spirit of ‘Internet Hindus’ nor blunted their assertive attitude.

Here are some statistics, culled from an ongoing online survey, which would help create a generic profile of ‘Internet Hindus’. The survey is open to all Hindus who use the Internet; the response has been overwhelming. Of those who have responded, 88.9 per cent have identified themselves as ‘Internet Hindus’, indicating they attach no shame to the term though their critics would want them to feel ashamed. Of the respondents, four per cent are aged 20 years and below; 55 per cent are aged 30 and below; 31 per cent are 40 and below; and, only 10 per cent are aged above 40. In brief, 90 per cent of them are young Indians.

The educational profile of the respondents is awesome: 43 per cent are graduates (most of them from top-notch engineering, science and medical colleges); 46 per cent are post-graduates (a large number of them have MBA degrees from the best B-schools); and, 11 per cent have PhDs. It is understandable that none of them is unemployed. Those without jobs are still studying (17.3 per cent) and can be found in labs and classrooms of the best universities here and abroad. Of the 82.7 per cent who are employed, 3.1 per cent earn up to Rs 2 lakh a year; 18.4 per cent earn up to Rs 6 lakh a year; 34.7 per cent earn up to Rs 12 lakh a year; and, 26.5 per cent earn more than Rs 24 lakh a year. Nearly 60 per cent of them frequently travel abroad on work and holiday. Some 11 per cent have travelled abroad at least once.

Contrary to the impression that is being sought to be created by their critics, ‘Internet Hindus’ are open to ideas, believe in a plural, law-abiding society and swear by the Constitution. They are often appalled by the shenanigans of our politicians, including those of the BJP, and are ruthless in decrying politics of identity and cynical vote-bank policies. They have no gender prejudices and most of them think banning FTV is downright silly in this day and age. The ‘Internet Hindus’ will not countenance denigration of their faith or biased media coverage of events, but 91.9 per cent of them respect and accept other religions. Asked if India is meant only for Hindus, an overwhelming majority of them, responding to the survey, said, ‘Hell, no!’

So why do they infuriate pseudo-secularists in media and make Delhi’s commentariat see red? There are three possible explanations. First, the Net is beyond the control of those who control newspapers and news channels. While the print and audiovisual media have for long excluded contrarian opinion and denied space to those who disagree with absurd notions of ‘secularism’ or question the quality of reportage, the Net has provided space to the ‘other’ voice. Real time blog posts now record the ‘other side’ of the day’s story (“The Prince was shouted down in Bihar, not feted by students!”), Twitter affords instant micro-blogging even as prime time news is being telecast (“That’s not true. I live in Bareilly. This is not how the riots began!”), and YouTube allows unedited amateur videos of events (the Meraj riots, the Islamist violence in Kashmir Valley) to be uploaded, giving the lie to edited and doctored versions shown by news channels.

Second, unlike carefully selected ‘Letters to the Editor’ in newspapers and ‘Feedback’ posted on news channel websites, the reactions of ‘Internet Hindus’, often savage and unflattering, cannot be thrown into the dustbin or deleted with a click of the mouse. English language media journalists, long used to fawning praise from readers and viewers, are horrified that someone can actually call them ‘dumb’ in public space and there’s nothing they can do about it. Third, the established elite, most of them middle-aged, are beginning to feel threatened. Here’s a new breed of Indians who have used merit and not ‘connections’ to make a mark in professional excellence, young men and women who are educated and articulate, and are willing to challenge conventional wisdom as preached by media ‘stars’ who have rarely, if ever, been questioned. The elite who dominate newspapers and news channels are seen by ‘Internet Hindus’ as part of India’s past, not future. As one ‘Internet Hindu’ writes in his blog, “A large number of ex-elite can’t stomach fact that children of bankruptcy are better travelled, better read and dominate the Internet!” Harsh, but true.

We can describe the ‘Internet Hindus’ as the “lunatic fringe”, but that won’t change the fact that their tribe is growing by the day. Soon, those on the fringe will move to the centre and their critics will find themselves precariously perched on the fringe. The Right is gaining ground as is the access and reach of the Net; newspapers and news channels, the Left’s last refuge, no longer command absolute control over information flow. It would be unwise to ‘block’ the voice of ‘Internet Hindus’, as then their clamour to be heard will further increase and there is nothing we can do to silence them. The times they are a-changin’.

[This appeared as my Sunday column Coffee Break in The Pioneer on March 14, 2010. (c) CMYK Printech Ltd. ]

29 comments:

Tarun Mitra said...

I am Hindu
My liberalism and so called secularism stems up from my religion
of tolerance
I am a milk that allows the sugar to dissolve itself in it.

I am a Hindu and proud to be an Indian.

Aditya said...

Interesting Article! This is truly inspiring. and if this is how 'Internet Hindus' are defined, I am an Internet Hindu too!

venkatesh said...

Kanchan,

I think there are very few commentators like you who are not shy of calling themselves hindu or addressing hindu issues.

What is the problem? Hindus cannot control temples, cannot run their own schools have to forcibly see their taxes funding 'minority' appeasement.

In any other country there would have been an uproar and if even if you squeak you are considered a hindu fundamentalist and there is hardly a response. Cant just figure this out?

Why?

Anonymous said...

You may need to figure out a more elite version of that bengali saying 'Thakur Ghare Ke....followed by AMi Kala Khacchi Na' for @BDutt, may be that would be a polite enough reminder !!

Gajendra said...

fantastic views sir. Cent per Cent true

BK Chowla, said...

Super.I did not read this in the Papers.
There is only one TV anchor-in fact a couple -who are bent on Hindu bashing.But I suppose people have seen through the game and it is my belief that "internet Hindus" must give very decent and civil reply to the anchor couple.

VOX INDICA said...

Through you I appeal all INTERNET HINDUS to proudly proclaim themselves 'INTERNET HINDUTWA WARRIORS!' Cock a snook at the pseudo-secular, left-liberal gutter-snipes!

VOX INDICA said...

To add to my previous comment, my one-line bio on twitter (http://twitter.com/voxindica)is 'AN INTERNET HINDUTWA WARRIOR!'

Hindu Fundamentalist said...

i am unable to post the full article here as there is a limit of 4096 characters for comments. so here is the link and excerpt.
http://cbcnn.blogspot.com/2010/03/media-insecurity-over-level-playing.html

Agent Provocateur: Don’t block the ‘Internet Hindus’
Usual Suspects: Virtual jihadis threaten www

Both Kanchan Gupta and Swapan Dasgupta came out with their views on the newly coined term 'Internet Hindus'. While Kanchan Gupta is more accommodative, Swapan seems to have gone overboard liking it to 'virtual jihad'. But the bottom line is, irrespective of the ideological orientation, the media persons are getting worried.

We have often discussed how the leftists control the media. On a few occasions, we discussed about the absence of right-wing intellectualism in all but the internet space. So why is the media getting worried about this miniscule presence of rightists and nationalists? In fact, I would go on to say that a lot of the internet activity is driven by national interest rather than an ardent support for BJP. It is only incidental that BJP happens to the party which is more aligned to our national interest and the rest of the parties are various shades of anti-national parties. A gross generationalisation but I can live with it.

What the media is terming as 'Internet Hindus' is actually 'Internet Nationalists'. The survey results which Kanchan Gupta refers to also points out to this. But because the leftists want to indulge in ritual hindu bashing, they picked this convenient term. Whatever terminology they chose, it wont matter because they just cannot moderate the internet space and they cant withstand the rising tide of public resentment towards media. Coming back to the question, why is the media upset by national activists on the internet?

Our journalists, who are shaping public opinion, have a certain set of motivations and limitations:
1. Ideological blindness: First and foremost, guys like N.Ram just dont bring any great value to the discussion table. If we cut the prose, there is hardly any political insight they bring. I am not saying they lack the ability; it is just that they are ideologically blinded to give any fair and balanced evaluation of events.

2. Insecurity: Journalists need to worry about job security. They need to stick to a certain slant in reporting if they are to survive in the industry dominated by leftists.

3. Lure of sinecure: Most media outlets work as an extension of the ruling government for fear of reprisal. But some journalists sell their wares in expectation of a sinecure job. For example, Harish Khare did this by endlessly praising the dynasty and he was duly rewarded by the congress government.

4. Lack of talent: Journalism was not a good career choice for long. Things might have changed significantly now but it failed to attract talent. So barring a few exceptions, there is pervasive mediocrity in the industry.

5. Poor understanding of technology: Most media people are trying to understand and catch up with technology but they are not still not quite comfortable with it. While this in itself may not be a problem, they are definitely holding some suspicion towards the internet because it is disrupting their existing business model. They are also trying to carry their vast understanding of the traditional industry to relate to the new medium. Unfortunately, this is not how you approach a disruptive technology.

Let me pause for a moment and address Swapan Dasgupta's suggestion to moderate the internet to cut off the poison keyboards. I have great regard for Swapan and I have repeatedly stated this on this blog. But, I have to point out that this suggestion by Swapan betrays suspicion or old style tactics to a disruptive technology. Sorry, Swapan, you got it all wrong here.

6. Accountability: Media has long been acting with hardly any accountability. This is still the case in traditional media. When the media is trying to embrace the new medium, suddenly there is an extraordinary demand for accountability.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Your post was reprinted by one Mr Shailesh on MSN, without attribution, I followed the comments which pointed this out to get here.

Could you please tell me the details of this survey,(the figures need to have some credentials) and provide the links, so that I can be better informed?

I agree with most of what you have said here.

Anonymous said...

Beaware, the PRODUCT OF ANTI-HINDU COMMUNAL MEDIA is the Christian Taliban. In the past the Christians in India used to be nice people, mostly secular minded. But now, they are being radicalised and poisoned with hatred. ‘My god is better than your god, either you become a Christian or you have no right to live’ – that’s the current attitude. Scary, isn’t it? My Christian co-worker openly says that he communicates with God on a daily basis and he acquired this power because he converted to Christianity. What you see in the TV media today, are the same kind of fanatics spewing venom of hatred. What do you call these people? Leftist anchors or racist media hate groups?

Anonymous said...

Beaware, the PRODUCT OF ANTI-HINDU COMMUNAL MEDIA is the Christian Taliban. In the past the Christians in India used to be nice people, mostly secular minded. But now, they are being radicalised and poisoned with hatred. ‘My god is better than your god, either you become a Christian or you have no right to live’ – that’s the current attitude. Scary, isn’t it? My Christian co-worker openly says that he communicates with God on daily basis and he acquired this power because he converted to Christianity. What you see in NDTV, ibn-cnn etc. are the same kind of fanatics spewing venom of hatred. What do you call these people? Leftist anchors or racist media hate groups?

Pradeep said...

Hello kanchan Da,
who did Manohar Parrikar not find a place as a General Secretary or Secretary in Nitin Gadkari's new Team?

Common Hindu said...

Hello Blogger Friend,

Your excellent post has been back-linked in
http://hinduonline.blogspot.com/

- a blog for Daily Posts, News, Views Compilation by a Common Hindu
- Hindu Online.

Rakesh Singh - राकेश सिंह said...

Brilliant article. The beauty & power of Kanchan Da's writing is "he write the fact as it is. He do not believe in sugar/secular coating to write truth".

Kanchan Da you are one of the rare Indian (especially in journalism) who has courage to speak the TRUTH AS IT IS.

Anonymous said...

Ananda Bazar Patrika is one of the many communal news papers in India. Remember, for one year there have been daily front page coverage on Rizuanur Rahaman. When Rajneesh, the Hindu Rizuanur in Kashmir was openly tortured and murdered in Kashmir Police custody, not a single line was reported in the paper.

Ananda bazar has more detailed and colourful coverage on Eid or Muharram but than on Holi or Saraswati puja or even Durga puja. Well, the kafirs are second class citizens, I don't complain.

Hazel Dream said...

those Snobbish media barons always claimed their right on intellect and logic just by being in that profession. Rest others have to only listen and agree to them.
Typical of modern western ideological brainwashing. One god, one philosophy one truth ( So called truth ).
They are unable to accept diversity , discussion, and polytheism
They forget that Logic and intellect are human qualities and not some specific professional qualities.

Itsdifferent said...

I am glad some one is finally recognizing the Hindu potential. For long, our thought have never become actions, as the hindu majority always sided with Congress, without even realising that its a pro-muslim party.
This force definitely have to be converted to ground reality, only then the elite left wing media will get the checks and balances required, or a political action committee, either to directly contest polls, or make recommendations on the ground to people.
How do we keep this momentum materialize into a force on the ground?

Itsdifferent said...

Inspired by this post, and the need for a uniting forum, I have created a facebook group called InternetHindus, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=373201238801&ref=nf
Subscribe, if you prefer.

ukindian said...

For people like Tarun Mitra to say he is a liberal sitting in a Hindu majority country is like saying I am a marine creature while underwater. If he were a fish out of water then his liberalism would evaporate into thin air. Let him go to Pakistan, many or parts of Bangladesh, or even Kashmir and preach his secularism and I shall appreciate his courage. I could even reward handsomely if him if he arrives back in one piece.
In today’s Jihadi fundamentalist and supremacist communities it is not Milk and water we are dealing with. We are dealing with crazy guys with coloured dyes who can’t bear to see milk white and want to colour it green (for e.g.) by force. If Tarun can live with green milk all the best to him.
If Tarun Mitra had one brother living in a refugee camp in Jammu, another hiding his identity in Sind, and a third planning to sell property in Bikrampur( Bangladesh) to escape to India, would he still sit tight on his Liberal pedestal and ignore the plight of his brothers. I believe the supporters of Hindu Parties are the type who can’t bear to sit quietly while their brothers suffer terribly. They want a Govt which would respond and safeguard the security of Hindus in India and around the world. Hindus need to emulate the Jews- after all both have been on the receiving end for many centuries!

Eric said...

Sounds much the same as the effect the internet's ability to decentralize information flow, not to mention the efforts of Andrew Breitbart, is having here in America. If you start seeing your most tried-and-true leftist mouthpieces, such as our New York Times or MSNBC, suffer a severe financial downturn, you will know you are winning.

Tyrants and tyrannical ideologies, be they petty or grand in scale, must always rely upon constant deception to survive.

Anonymous said...

Coming from you, the future of Indian politics looks very very bright!

Alka said...

Excellent article. Describe nicely why so called media people feel threatened by internet and support Sibal ji.

Indiatva said...

Interesting piece Kanchan. The thoughts and principles of these bunch of people whom media has branded as Internet Hindus are actually relevant for any patriotic Indian. Should be branded as Internet Indians - a new breed of Indians

duvijan said...

One is reminded of Swami Vivekananda who represented Hindus in the Parliament of Religions & conquered the world with this faith , wisdom and truth. He is a Yogi par excellence but he still said I come from ancient of religions and am a proud hindu Monk who realised ideal oneness. I dare say there are enough Firebrand young nationalistic & would even push Vivekananda on the Bharathiya (indian) currency , he wore saffron , highest representation of Sacrifice. I offer myself to service of Divine Mother , Bharath Mata. Jai Hind

Rajneesh said...

Hindu , The only religion which save every other erligion.

Proud to be hindu and hate coward secular s. Hindu is secular in it self.

Anonymous said...

seems, one more internet hindu is here

पुरानी बस्ती said...

सही कहा दादा लेकिन स्वप्न दादा ने कभी इस शब्द का क्क्रेदित नहीं लिया और सागरिका जी ने चीख चीख कर कहा की ये मेरा इजाद किया शब्द है

Anonymous said...

Seems like there s a left commie liberal over here . Hey go and see wat happens in kerala northern muslim dominated districts . The govt isitself completely pro muslim and see wats going on in westbengal . Hindus are provoked and killed in religious riots with open support from muslim trinomal gov . Nothing s shown in local bengali print and tv media.