The explosion of social media has brought about many changes in the way we live, think and act over the last decade or so. Globalization has gathered pace exponentially courtesy of social media. Courtesy of Twitter and Facebook, people know a little bit more about the world or at least that's what they think. On hindsight, we also get to see how dim witted and ill-informed some people are despite having a PhD or a master's degree. On social media there is nowhere for them to hide. Whatever rubbish they post and share is on exhibition for the whole world to see.
The 'proud to be Indian' catchphrase is one of the most common clichés out there in cyberspace, especially when someone of Indian origin makes a global splash (but otherwise the NRIs are traitors in their point of view), and the same phrase is used by delusional 'geniuses' who believe that every major modern scientific discovery dates back to ancient India. Then there are the sarcastic 'Incredible India' comments often used by feminists, when some scumbag has done something truly unsavory. What people fail to understand is that these are but two extremes of a population that’s over a billion. It's not the true reflection of an educated Indian.
Unfortunately, even those of us that we call ‘lettered’ aren’t always so on a number of pressing issues. Depending on the trending news, the 'hashtags' on social media change from one extreme to the other. The fact that a good number of people are irrational was clearly evident when tennis star Maria Sharapova confessed that she was unaware of a man named Sachin Tendulkar. The reaction from India was so strong that one might have been led to believe that she had been caught blaspheming one of our gods. Oh wait; it seemed she had done exactly that! People started hurling abuses at Sharapova for disrespecting 'the god of cricket'. Most of these posts were created by highly educated people (engineers, doctors, teachers etc.), urging their fellow comrades to spam Sharapova's Facebook and Twitter feeds. In their twisted reasoning, a Russian tennis player residing in the US should know about cricket (the 'facepalm' has never been more appropriate!!). Most of these trolls are themselves ignorant of many prominent Indian sports personalities, let alone stars from the NBA, NFL, Rugby, Ice Hockey or Major League Baseball. If ever there was a scale to measure hypocrisy, this particular episode would've been off the charts.
There are yet another breed of 'intellects' who are on the rise, and ever so eager to pass on their 'wisdom' to the commoners. A good number of them are usually fanatics of some faction. Recently a survey was conducted by the Children's Movement for Civic Awareness (CMCA) and the Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB). The findings were truly appalling! More than half of India's youth admitted that they would welcome a military rule in the country! Surely, they must've been high when the survey was conducted. Should we look any further than our closest neighbours to know what happens when the military takes over?
If only that were all that the survey found! It seemed that a good majority didn’t want boys and girls from different religions mixing in public. Nearly 60% were ignorant of basic civic issues, gender equality, rule of law, human rights etc. Another good proportion was found to be intolerant towards migrant workers. To make matters worse, 41% claimed that women have no choice but to accept violence against them. The most jaw dropping fact found from the survey was that almost 50% would prefer a dictatorship to a democracy!! If this survey is anything go by, our country is raising a bunch of weird little monsters who are really good at math
Our education system is flawed and will continue to be so unless drastic measures are taken. Radical changes need to be implemented at the grass roots level to inculcate a new way of thinking in our children. In this seemingly endless rat race to get our young ones into the top colleges or the best paid jobs, school authorities and parents often forget to teach their kids how to be humane, rational, tolerant, and most importantly, a good citizen.