On the ‘chai-wallah’ PM and other tropes

The Telegraph organised a debate on the motion ‘Intolerance is the new tolerance’. Anupam Kher spoke — and the speech, now being transmitted on social media timelines,  is drawing wah-wahs. So I listened. You can, too. Here it is:

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A poser on a poster


The image, above, of posters on Delhi walls is courtesy the Hindu.

The posters offer a reward — Rs 11 lakh — for the gunning down of Kanhaiya Kumar. There is no mystery about who posted these — the person responsible openly admits it; boasts, too, of his long association with the RSS.

The police have filed a case against him for — believe it or else — defacement of public property.

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The literature of sedition

If the police were to burst into your room while you were sleeping and, putting a gun to your head, ask you to name a literary work that was critical of the idea of the nation, which title would you reveal?

Read: Amitava Kumar, on the literature of sedition, provides much food for thought.

Surviving in the global social media zoo

As citizens, so much of our political conversation – perhaps the majority of it – happens on social media these days. If social media really is the awakening of a global consciousness – us all becoming one gigantic brain – then it is little wonder that this birth of a 7 billion-part “us” is, sometimes, terrifying. Like some bewildered Frankenstein’s monster, waking up on the slab and lashing out, not knowing the power of its new arms and legs.

In order that this fabulous, awe-inspiring beast do no harm, we need to establish some rules for global communication and activism, so that the same mistakes are not made over and over again. So that going online doesn’t, some days, feel like walking into a zoo that’s been set on fire, with penguins attacking lions, gnus trampling on hippos, and a couple of unhappy llamas in the corner, crying, “I just wanted to show everyone a picture of my lunch! I am excited about avocados! I do not like all this anger! I am going to hide under my table!”

Thus Caitlin Moran, who on the back of that set-up provides a guide to how to win arguments online without acting like a dick.

“That hope is beginning to die”

The quote above from Tavleen Singh, veteran journalist and author of Darbar.

With apologies to Indian Express for an overlong clip, here is Singh’s set-up:

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