“It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing” – William Shakespeare on Indian political twitter
“Indian political twitter is the best. By far the best. Just amazing. Unbelievably good. I love the Hindus. Big league.” – Donald Trump
“Delete your account” – Hillary Clinton
So you want to become a Twitter superstar in India. You want to command the following of thousands of eggheads. You always wanted to achieve something in life. You knew you always had that special something in you. You just needed some hand holding and guidance. You have come to the right place. Here we will break it down, step by step, the simplest way to have that Twitter handle at the heart of every political conversation in India.
If Facebook is the high end, black tie, cocktail party where people are unfailingly nice to each other but do not forget to show how much they are better off through snide remarks and subtle gloating, Instagram is the movie theater where you go to gawk at beautiful people living in places you can never afford to visit, Whatsapp is the canteen of your college campus where you can have intimate conversations and the occasional fights with people you mostly know, Twitter is the shadiest bar in the neighbourhood where wasted, boorish men get into drunken fights and indulge in brutish free for all. Twitter is a place where the ugliness bubbles right beneath the thin veneer of respectability; all it takes is a simple act of provocation for it to come to the surface. But even by the not too exalted standards of Twitter, Indian political twitter is an especially demented place to be in.
But worry not, we have got it all planned it for you.
For the convenience of the dimwits that inhabit it, Indian political Twitter is neatly demarcated into two separate halves – the Right and the Left. The two halves are at constant loggerheads with each other, outraging over the slightest provocations, trying to outwit each other in a constant race to the bottom. The two labels are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive, leaving no room for subtleties and niceties. It is in this bloody, binary world that you will have to prove yourself.
The first step is to decide if you want to join the Right or the Left. No, you don’t have to read up on Karl Marx , Vinayak Savarkar, John Keynes or Milton Freidman and form well researched and informed beliefs. No, don’t even think about it. There is a very simple Rorschach test to find out. Just visualize our Prime Minister giving one of his speeches. Does it make you slightly aroused or does it leave you with a sick feeling in the stomach? In case of the former, you are a bonafide right winger, whereas in case of the latter, you are a born leftist.
But what if it makes you do neither? What if you are the a guy who is prone to take a rational and well thought out decision, whose beliefs have been moulded by years of studies, deliberations and experiences? What if you are driven more by the issue than by the face behind it? Well, then just fuck off. Twitter is not for you. Go to the local library, read some books and die alone. Or worse still, become a Wikipedia administrator. Or may be do a Ph.D. Whatever. Just don’t waste our time here.
Now that the most important question is out of the way, let’s get you started. If you are a right winger, just follow the following steps. If you are a left winger, skip to the portion below. And if these steps do not yield the desired results for you, do remember that this advice is coming from a person with a grand total of 72 followers on Twitter.
Twitter Rules for People from the Right:
- Put up a picture of you shaking hands with the Prime Minister as your display pic. If you don’t have any such pic, make one in Adobe Photoshop. If you don’t know Photoshop, just skip this step. Worry not. If you follow the remaining steps, you will soon have a real picture with the Prime Minister.
- Keep a picture of Bharat Mata or national flag or a deity as your cover pic. Spell your name in Hindi, instead of English. Make your Twitter bio sound something like “Nation comes first” or “A true believer in India” or “Bharat Mata ki Jai”. Does not matter if you have not been living in India for the past decade. Also end your bio with “Fiercely unbiased.” I don’t know why, but all famous people, especially the most biased ones, seem to do so.
- Get familiar with words like “presstitudes”, “ sickular”, “pseudo liberal”, “AAPtard”, “Congi”, “Jihadi”, etc. Be liberal with the usage of such words, especially while indulging in Twitter fights, even if you may not be liberal with anything else in life.
- Take outrage. Take lots of outrage. Outrage should be your middle name. You should get offended by the sight of a person in wheelchair not standing up when the national anthem is played. The thought of India losing to Pakistan in an inconsequential tri-series cricket match should make your blood boil. If any one dares to say anything against our Government or our country, your hands should tremble with passionate fury as you type the most vicious of abuses against the guy in Twitter.
- Remember the phrase “Freedom of Expression” only when you need to defend yourself or some more of ilk when you guys type some indefensible nonsense on Twitter that quickly goes viral. It is human to get carried away. Especially for a guy who cares so deeply for his country. We understand this. “Freedom of Expression” was invented precisely to deal with such situations. (Not really. But never mind)
- Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt and Sagarika Ghosh are your biggest enemies. Remember these names. Find them on Twitter and hound them. They are the worst thing to have happened to this country since Chunkey Pandey and Emergency. They are the reason why our country has not been able to become superpower yet. (But wait for ten years; under our current Prime Minister, it will, despite their best efforts). So attack them viciously; put every tweet of them under the microscope and don’t spare any effort to find the minutest of faults in them. If we are attacked by Pakistani terrorists, don’t blame the Government for the failure, instead make a joke on how it would be the happiest day of the lives of these journalists. If a major scam is unearthed, don’t say anything against the Government; instead, point out how these journalists are in bed with corrupt politicians of the Opposition Party.
- Abuse your targets until they are forced to block you. Take a screenshot of the message that says you have been blocked and post it around, claiming how it violates your “freedom of expression” (even though it doesn’t , but never mind).
- Use whataboutery. A lot of it. When they ask you about 2002, tell them about 1984. When they ask you about Dadri, tell them about Kannur. When they ask you about Vyapam scam, tell them about 2G scam.
- If someone does not agree with you, accuse him or her of being an anti-national. Ask such people to go to Pakistan.
- People not belonging to your faith or religion are not to be trusted. All Muslims are terrorists. Except Tarek Fatah, he is the only true Indian Muslim, even though he is not actually an Indian. All Christians are missionaries trying to convert you. But Jews are okay. They also hate Muslims. At least that’s what you think.
- When you find yourself losing an argument, use statements like, “This country gives you rights or freedom. Don’t use these rights or freedom to abuse this country” or “You are having this arm chair argument only because soldiers stay awake at night at the border to keep us safe. Don’t dishonour their sacrifices”. Neither makes much sense, but then you are not on Twitter to make much sense.
- Watch Zee News. Read Swarajyamag and Opindia. They are like the last minute suggestions before exams. They will give you a list of daily issues to take umbrage on and helpful pointers on what to say.
- Shower the Government with superlative praises if the newspaper carries any positive news. Shrug off and ignore all bad news, and if they cannot be ignored any more, blame it on the Opposition, Pakistan, minorities, media, bad weather or Digvijay Singh.
- Finally do remember this – The Right is called Right because it is always Right. You can never be wrong.
Twitter Rules for People from the Left:
- Put up a profile picture that makes you look cultured and sophisticated. May be a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower or the Merlion of Singapore. If you have never ventured outside Ulhasnagar your whole life, fear not. Just use the picture of Statue of Libery as your profile pic. Or that of a random, obscure leftist politician. But no Che Guevera, please. It is too clichéd.
- Google to find an inspiring, uplifting and esoteric quote that you yourself cannot understand, spoken by someone you have never heard of, and put it up as part of your bio.
- Become familiar with words like “Bhakt”, “sexist”, “misogynist”, “racist”, “communal”, etc. Use them to label anyone who does not agree with you.
- Outrage every time the rights of someone who do not belong to the majority are compromised. But don’t even acknowledge the human rights of the majority. There is no such thing as human rights of the majority. They are just oxymoron.
- Be a hypocrite. Show heartfelt concern for the poor, call for higher taxes on the super rich, but cheat on your tax filings.
- Ask anyone who does not agree with you to go to North Korea.
- Practice selective retention. Pretend as if there was no recorded history between the year Nehru died and the year Modi came into power. Especially, forget everything of the period between 2009 and 2014.
- Feel proud to call yourself a liberal. Embrace the label. Explain how this means that you tolerate dissidence and welcome disagreements. But when someone disagrees with you or offers a more logical counter to your argument, start outraging and label him a sexist or a racist or a misogynist. Or better still, call him a troll and block him.
- But when someone you like actually says something that is sexist, racist or misogynist, use “freedom of expression” to defend him.
- Remember this – there are no principles. Something is acceptable only as long as the person doing it is acceptable to you. So when AIB makes offensive jokes, it is acceptable. When Viru makes a harmless joke, roast him over it. When SFI engages in campus violence, ignore it. When ABVP does the same, condemn them breathlessly.
- Use statistics to glorify the previous government. But question the validity of these statistics when they portray any success of the current Government.
- Portray a sense of victimization, as if the utopian world that you were part of has turned upside down after the present Government came to power.
- Use identity labels wisely. So when a member of the minority community commits a crime, ignore his religion. But when a crime is committed on him, go to the town talking about how his religion is under attack.
- Terrorists have no religion. Unless they are Hindus.
- The world is becoming intolerant. And all this is because of the present Government. Return an award as a measure of protest. If your cupboard is bare, give yourself an award and return it.
- Be paranoid. Train your mind to imagine the apocalypse and doomsday every time the Prime Minister opens his mouth.
- Watch NDTV. Read Scroll and The Wire. They are like the last minute suggestions before exams.They will give you a list of daily issues to take umbrage on and helpful pointers on what to say.
- Finally, do remember this – the liberal world order is under attack from a bunch of illiterate, intolerant, uncivilized buffoons. You are performing a selfless, noble duty in the protection of the realm. Stay calm and carry on.