For the past three years, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has been earning the respect and regard of the Indian public for her hands-on and heartwarming approach to individual agony. From coordinating the rescue of blue-collar workers stranded in Saudi Arabia to the evacuation of over 4,000 Indians from Yemen, she got up-close and personal with every such incident.
Saving girls from traffickers, bringing back a citizen stuck in Germany without a passport, allowing a Pakistani child to enter India for a liver transplant and even getting involved in the now largely forgotten (regrettably) Kulbhushan Jadhav case with this naval officer still incarcerated across the border, she was on a white steed of goodness.
The media raised her on a pedestal as a mix of Florence Nightingale and Joan of Arc with a touch of Mother Teresa, and she had become a "jewel in Narendra Modi's crown".
What would possess someone so gutsy and very 'with it' to get into a war with trolls. Inhabitants of the unpleasant and ugly underbelly of the social network, trolls are drenched in malice and spew venom with an intent that would shame a cobra. If they got on your case because you issued passports to an interfaith couple and you felt you did the right thing in helping the couple then stick by it, then let the devil take the trolls. Why would you go swimming in shark-infested waters or cross a river with crocodiles in it and then compound the stupidity by asking the sharks and crocodiles their opinion of you as their dinner?
Taking a poll on whether the public appreciates the trolling and then being surprised that nearly half the tweets are not on your side — that must rank as the worst advice anybody could have given. Nothing gives a troll more pleasure than having the target rise to the bait. Annoymity allawos for prejudice and hostility to pour forth from even otherwise normal people. Add to this the unedifying spectacle of her husband begging Twitterati not to hurt his wife's feelings because she looked after her mother-in-law who suffered from cancer, is only feeding the beast. Trolls do not understand sympathy and the appeals of emotional turmoil because if they did, they would not be trolls.
As for Sushma's orders, in themself, she acted in good faith… literally. If the Passport Seva Kendra official Vikas Mishra in Lucknow allegedly humiliated the interfaith couple, posting him to Gorakhpur is not the end of the world. Passport officers are not marriage counsellors and have no business lecturing anyone on these issues. Today faith, tomorrow caste and colour; where does it end?
And if the MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar is anything to go by, this tragic comedy of errors continues because the ministry is contemplating taking action against the trolls for badmouthing the minister. This is exactly what they wait for and all that will happen as you hunt them down with no result at the end of it (and how many will you take action against?), the troll army will go berserk and love every minute of it.
Back off, Madam Minister, let it pass and stop giving the trolls ammunition with your "I am a nice girl, I am" approach. It does not work with this lot.
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Updated Date: Jul 02, 2018 12:29:21 IST