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Psycho terror via bulk SMS

September 2, 2012

The exodus started with bulk SMS mid last month.  The doctored clip of north-eastern workers beaten and abused by locals in Pune/Bangalore spread like wildfire that saw the trains to north-east bursting at seams with fleeing migrant workers from the eastern most parts of India to their native states in a mad rush.

Heard of biological warfare, chemical warfare’; ever heard of this psychological terror?

So all it took was a fake video circulated in Facebook, downloaded and messaged in bulk to the nation’s minority who ever since feel insecure in this country, taken unaware.   Handiwork of who else but …….. our good old neighbour!  And aren’t minorities anywhere in the world the most vulnerable group, threatened by even minor upheavals, misunderstandings in the society they are trying to become part of?  It takes a lot to win their confidence, to make them join the mainstream society of which you and I are part of, to make them feel wanted, to make them feel ‘they belong.’

You have to live in a foreign soil for a while to get to know how it feels like a minority.  Until i left India for the first time, i never knew the feeling.

So terror need not have to mean always guns and bombs.   Terror could sometimes be just a simple SMS, MMS or even a seemingly harmless Facebook page/video.   Takes only minutes to go viral and bring even a nation as vast ours to its feet.

Took us  by storms – for India is a nation of multiple racial, religious people with each ethnic group following their own traditions for centuries.    All co-exist in this varied land and there is space for EVERYONE HERE, LET  ME SAY IT AGAIN,  EVERYONE.

Guess the problem started with the Assam violence when native villagers routed out illegal Bangladeshi immigrants who had settled down in their soil, making it their home..   Now this is a question of identity, national security.   Guess the congress government is keeping quiet for the only reason, they are after the muslim vote bank.   Who cares for the state of security of this country or of the usurped lands and rights of the local people?  The government at the centre is weak already fighting one after another a series of corruption cases.

And why should a group of muslims march in Maharashtra favouring illegal immigrants in our lands?  What makes our Indian muslims champions of all islamic causes around the world?  Don’t we have a good example next door where you can see clearly what happens when we try to make others problems our problems?

Its a ‘free-for-all’ here.   Senior member of Opposition L K Advani had a valid point when he raised the issue of illegal immigrants crisis in north east for which he blamed the congress government.  Advani touched a nerve here, we all know.

So the backlash had to be swift and striking.   Its mind-boggling to note the network these guys seem to have between them.  Unwarranted sympathy for anything and everything that concerns the minorities (from across the borders, where esle?).  As if there is a land of milk and honey just behind our borders in the so-called ‘promised land of the pure.’

And what better way to strike at the heart of India than with fictitious bulk SMSs ?   Making the minorities feel unsafe and  insecure in their own country is one of the worst (or perhaps best?) ways to start trouble anywhere.

In India, the population comprises of three core ethnic communities:  the aryans of the north, the dravidians of the south and finally the north-easterners of chinese descent in far eastern states.

Long shy to mix with mainstream Indian society, its only in the last decade or so, the third group is emerging out in the open,  actively participating in indian socio–political scene.   Their entry into indian industry is a breather for everyone:  for here we have hardworking, sincere, quiet, disciplined people like from nowhere else in India.

No wonder all cities and towns of India today see businesses and shop establishments employing north-easterners who are also employable at lower costs.  North eastern students are another big group spread through out India, enrolled in various education institutions of ours.

But why should this trouble anyone?  When  we educated Indians are seeking greener pastures in life in the west, can’t our north easterners atleast be allowed to work for lower wages in any part of the country, even if means displacing local labourers?  One logic for us elite folks and one for our most impoverished fellow citizens?

But again so far as i know, north-easterners mean ‘trouble-free’ workers in my place; that’s what these sweet simple folks are thought of as.  Everyone likes them, wants them; none to my knowledge harbours resentment for these guys and girls.  Slowly but steadily they are already becoming a part and parcel of the social fabric called India that probably infuriates some vested  interests on two sides of our borders.

Not denying there could be one or two sporadic cases against the minorities especially north easterners in India.    This is but a minute average compared to the lion share of our labour force coming from the north eastern 7-sister states.   These isolated incidences should be treated like any other crime statistic, because no society is one hundred percent perfect or crime=free.    Collateral damages exist everywhere, in every sphere, not limited to north easterners in India alone.

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A ban on bulk messaging for a week almost, abated the exodus at last.   Kudos to Karnataka and Maharashtra state governments for walking the extra mile for our north eastern brothers and sisters, assuring them security and sending special trains to Assam etc to bring back the labour force who deserted their adopted states in panic.

The scene was no different in Chennai.  It ached my heart to see our northeastern fellow citizens leaving the city because they were SCARED OF US LOCALS.   They are there working in restaurants, beauty parlours, shopping malls, everywhere …. that thinking of my city without our north-eastern brothers and sisters is difficult for me.  Its horrible  to think that our own people must think the worst of us, should think of us being capable of inflicting worst cruelty on fellow humans.  The TV news made me speechless.   I think north-easterners are actually preferred everywhere for their quiet hardworking nature over even the local workers.    So all around me i could see people only agonized by their departure, hurt very deep.   Guess rejection is a more powerful weapon to wound someone with over anything else.

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After much reassurance and explanation about the fake videos in the mass media and after the effective steps taken by some state governments assuring the north easterners of security in their adopted states where they work, the workers are returning to the jobs.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/article3849470.ece

In a nation like ours that finds unity in diversity, how easy it is to break the natioanal peace and spread riots and clashes among ethnic groups is apparent with what happened with the mischievous bulk messages.

Time for not just our government but also for concerned citizens to think of this new threat:  psychological terror, which has the potential to inflict severe damages in our society.

The north-easterners still do not nurture a sense of security about India/Indians which is bothersome.   After 65 years of independence, the State of India has grandly failed to assure its citizens as to how they belong in this country as equal citizens.

And this madness isperhaps  first of its kind in world history, i was not surprised to read in my newspaper last week how China is learning a lesson from India in the matter.

And I hope this serves as the last.   The origins of the said fake Facebook video has been traced to … whereelse (anyone’s guess).

Related links:

North eastern exodus brought tears to my eyes : CJI*

*this was before it was found that the videos/messages were faked.   took a day or two for our government to figure it out by which time, enough damage was already done.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Exodus-of-Bangalores-northeastern-youth-brought-tears-in-my-eyes-CJI/articleshow/15722591.cms

Virtual terrorism:

http://www.eurasiareview.com/27082012-virtual-state-and-virtual-terrorism-analysis/

Social media have a responsibility too:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/news/internet/Twitter-may-face-govt-axe-in-India/articleshow/15582451.cms

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All minorities have a place to live in India.   This is their motherland as much as its yours and mine.    I would like to assure every north easterner, how much they are wanted in every nook and corner of India, how much they are equal citizens of this nation.  Its the duty of every citizen of this country to ensure, our north eastern brothers and sisters feel most secure among us, like one among us.

Dealing with Bangladeshi illegal immigrants is totally another story.  While i have utmost sympathies for them, considering the 1.2 billion size of our population, we can but show only the door to them.

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Last but not the least, its scary to think of how easy it is to humble and bring to knees, such a big nation like ours.  The so-called seventh largest country in the world; the so-called world’s largest democracy; the so-called emerging super-power for eternity …

All it takes is after all a malicious propaganda gone viral thanks to our mobile phone services and social media networks.  Pretty possible and damaging in the present day context.   The threat need not have to be contained to India.     It can happen anywhere.

It was not long back we Indians were humbled when Taj Palace hotel was seized by islamic terrorists with media circus covering the entire horrid episode round the clock.  Within 10 years we are reminded again, how easy it is to panic us, confuse us and terrorize us PSYCHOLOGICALLY, that could harm our economy, polity and the society at large,

Warning bells.

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Serious questions that trouble me:

1.  What took the government a day or two to establish the videos were fake.    A swifter action could have averted the exodus.

2,  It happened to north easterners known for their endless patience and sweet and quiet nature.   Just imagine if such a fake video is released on Indian muslims.   How easy for such a malevolence to disturb our equilibrium and unleash a series of violent clashes through out the length and breadth of India?   Within minutes the nation could be brought to a standstill with our economic machinery coming to a grinding halt at mildest provocation.   What we have here is a very volatile situation.   While peace prevails, its just as easy to get carried away by vicious gossips spread by rumour-mongers.  Igniting passions is not a difficult task in a multi-cultural society like ours.

3.  The very idea called ‘India’ is under threat.   With China calling our Arunachal Pradesh as ‘southern Tibet’ and with Pakistan lurking as an imminent menace always in the western border, its high time our government and NGOs take the task upon themselves,  of reinforcing the idea called India strongly on every single Indian mind,

The time is NOW and its never too late.

4.  Integrating the north easterners into mainstream Indian society has to be carried out on war-footing basis.     Its happening already still this is not enough.

5.  Think smart.   How can we survive if we cannot think ahead of our adversaries?   This is the only way to prevent such happenings from recurring  in future but I doubt if we are equipped to anticipate the cunning moves mulled by our detractors.    Why are we always on the defensive, can’t we ever push ourselves to get offensive so that our adversaries might back down?

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From → Dilli Durbar

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