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FROM THE EDITOR’s DESK:
It took just one tweet from pop star Rihanna on the farmers’ protest to send the country into a whirlwind of debates and discussions, copy-paste tweets and hashtags by Indian celebrities, who are backing the government’s stand that these protests must be seen in the context of India’s "democratic ethos and polity".
OF course, it also took just one tweet from Rihanna, who has more than 100 million followers on Twitter, to spark global support for the farmers who have been protesting against the three farm laws passed by the Parliament last year.
And that is where it all started; with Rihanna. Tweets from global personalities in support of the farmers in India followed suit. To name a few, Greta Thunberg, Meena Harris (niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris), former adult film star Mia Khalifa and others joined the bandwagon.
The Indian government was or maybe is still having a tough time dealing with such a situation because social media is not something that one can truly control.
The Ministry of External Affairs in its statement had stated that the temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is “neither accurate nor responsible”.
To some, it seems like the government is adopting the “fighting fire with fire” tactic to control the damage that has already been done to the country’s democratic image and that is by getting Indian celebrities to react to "foreign" celebs' tweets with the hashtags #IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda.
But who are we to assume that it was the government who got these celebs to tweet on their behalf? They could have very well done it themselves to “protect” the country from being trolled by so-called “outsiders”. But from a common man’s perspective, it is hard to overlook the identical tweets of these celebs; hence the assumption.
What’s next? From the look of it, we are already witnessing cracks even in Bollywood as the industry is now split into three sides -- the pro-farmers, the pro-government and a few that fall under the “I don’t care” category.
The ongoing gaga over the entire episode of insiders vs outsiders (Indians vs foreigners) only reflects the magnitude of the problem that the country is currently facing.
The inability of the government to resolve this stalemate which culminated into an ugly and violent clash on Republic Day has given the world a chance to question the “seriousness” of the government and those in power to handle the situation.