NDTV India’s Ravish Kumar is both art and irony these days. Art, for he has shown how creative one can get in using Prime Time slot on a news channel to lodge a protest against the authority. And the irony, for the celebrated journalist had to become a troll to troll the troll on the Prime Time.
The one-day ban notice to NDTV India by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, took the Delhi media by surprise. Many likened the notice as an “Emergency” measure. The likes of Arvind Kejriwal, who had been till recently trolling the media on Twitter, and Lalu Yadav too raised apprehensions of Emergency.
As a response to the government letter, before moving to courts against it, Kumar presented a spectacle on Prime Time. Even some of his critics liked the programme and expressed their views on social media.
The special programme aired on NDTV India two days ago featured two mime artists — one representing the authority and the other a ‘troll babu’ or ‘chamcha’ and Kumar asked a question — valid question for journalists: “If we can’t ask questions, what can we do”.
The programme won appreciations. A report called it “Ravish Kumar’s epic troll”. But what we lost amidst the entertaining spectacle on Prime Time, was the fact that a troll, though symbolically, managed to find a full show on national television in two-three years time. The trolls are now celebrities.
The trolls first became infamous when they started targeting individuals, including celebrated journalists, personally, even abusing their mothers and sisters on social media. The trolls considered the celebrated journalists as stooges of Congress as a new dispensation took Delhi by storm under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In the first stage of their evolution, the trolls got their authenticity when individuals started responding to them. Some like Ravish Kumar even quit social media. The next stage of trolls’ evolution was even more interesting as we got trolls of all kinds – the BJP troll, the Congress troll, the AAP troll, the polite troll, the abusive troll. Some so called celebrities and politicians like Kejriwal became premium trolls.
These days, social media is not a happy place for discussion of any kind but for trolling. Some bring in mothers and sisters in the conversation, some just accuse you of being someone’s pet, chamcha etc. The trolls accuse the trolls of being trolls. This is the irony. Kumar’s programme did its bit in increasing the life of trolls. Kumar didn’t win, but trolls did.
I can never forget two old proverbs: a) “an elephant never minds barking dogs, but highlight is that the dog ‘keeps barking even with no reaction’ from the elephant.” b) You get shit if you engage with the shit.
I wonder if only I ever learnt these proverbs.