Why are Hindus Losing the Information War?
Social media has now become the new battlefield for a war that was deeply contested on land, sea and air for centuries. This modern warfare, thankfully, does not involve lethal weaponry and blood-spattered battlefields. But on the flip side, it is probably more toxic, hard-hitting and potent artillery in the hands of smartphone users.
In what can be attributed to a lack of understanding or wilful misrepresentation of history, the essential and core strengths, beliefs, achievements and high points of the ageless Hindu civilisation were sought to be negated and relegated to the background by a set of historians who had the government’s patronage. They also tried every trick in the book to negate any chance of coalescing Indic thought. Even before the people could assess the damage, the debate on culture, civilisation and India’s historical past had got partitioned into the ‘us versus they’ narrative. The discussion has now assumed culture war proportions, majority versus minority contests and leftist liberalism versus civilizational awakening.
Once upon a time, ten long years back, to be precise, social media took birth in the form of Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter. Middle-class Hindus lapped up to these new-age weapons and propagated the Hindu cause with utmost enthusiasm. They undoubtedly contributed a lot to Modi’s win in 2014 after tapping the pent-up anger of Hindus against the Congress government. Leftists were caught off-guard as most were technologically challenged and considered this form of media a passing fad. The narratives and platforms built by the Leftist cabal seemed to give way, leaving them frustrated and disillusioned at the sudden loss of power.
Then came Jio in 2016 with their data packs of just Rs 399. Before this, data was expensive and only the middle or wealthy class could afford them. Hindus had a sort of free run till now on social media. Then Jio changed all. Armed with a cheap data pack and a mobile, Muslims and seculars found the new-age weapons in their hands. The twin accessory was both lethal and legal. Many western and Islamic nations also came to their rescue by lavishly funding them and giving them appropriate platforms in the academic and political circles to resurrect the dying cause of leftism and Islamism. A new invasion was now to begin. History will now again repeat itself.
Within a year or two, Hindu social media warriors came to be derisively known as the IT cell of the BJP. Any pro-Hindu comment was branded as majoritarian intolerance, Hindu propaganda and even Saffron terrorism. Historically, Hindus had been, more often than not, at the losing end in the event of invasions. The world over, most of the invading parties had decimated their enemies and, with them, entire civilizations. The reason for this is not difficult to find as two critical parameters of time and space are always of invaders’ choosing. Countering these parameters was always an uphill task for defending societies. Mighty cultures like Greeks, Egyptians, Mayan and Incan bit the dust in the face of invasions by the twin desert religions. However, Hindus, despite all odds, managed to survive, though at huge costs.
Again, we are unable to counter new-age invasion. The best method to counter any aggression is to take the fight to the enemy’s home, a lesson we could not learn even after facing them for 1300 years. Our standard template is to react to them chaotically without any strategy in place. Like previous invasions, Hindus are, even now, only reacting to the inimical forces. As always, the reaction has only a minimal impact. What is needed desperately is a pro-active approach. This tactic requires kutayuddha where saam, daam, dand, bhed, anything and everything is allowed. What matters in the end is winning. At any cost. Means do not matter. This sounds easy; however, it is not.
To be successful, one has to identify one’s and the enemy’s weaknesses and strengths. First, we will examine our shortcomings, which seem to be too many at the moment.
Hindus are infected with Sulemani keeda of the propensity to occupy high moral ground and always look good in others’ eyes. This nature runs contrary to the paradigm of kutayuddha. And this might be the reason that we are not able to come up with a winning strategy. Compare this with leftist propaganda. They never leave any stone unturned to insult and harass Hindus, Hinduism and even India. They routinely, albeit indirectly, ask Western countries, China and even Pakistan to invade India and teach Hindus a strong lesson.
Another lacunae on the part of Hindus is the non-existence of an ecosystem and the inability to build one. In the upper echelons of government, media, and courts, a few Hindus act in a dharmic way. As soon as they reach a certain level, most turn secular and start seeing the minorities, Muslims particularly, as victims. Again, if one compares it with the Leftist ecosystem, one will be in for a big surprise. They give hand-holding to people with similar thinking. Hindus manage social media apps, but apps have been designed in such a way that leftist posts tend to get more traction. Governments also routinely put the pro-Hindu activists in jail for even minor offensive comments to ward off any international criticism. In a nutshell, the whole space seems to be against the Hindus.
Hindus also excel in conflict avoidance. From their childhood, they have been taught to avoid conflicts, even at the cost of self-respect. They were told to indulge in studies only and make money. This worldview had turned them into a soft community that Muslims derisively call a lethargic race. In totality, Hindus are in a severely disadvantageous position right now and losing the information war quickly. However, all is not lost. There is a distinct Hindu awakening, with a significant segment of Hindu society asserting its legitimate rights. The race has to be won, anyhow, if we intend to save our civilization.
Now let us talk about our strengths. The topmost is our numbers. We are still a majority with 75% if we discount the inaccuracies of the census. The second is the central government which is, even for namesake, for and by us. Quite a good number of Hindus belong to the middle class and should come forward to donate to the right causes. For any ecosystem to thrive, the two most essential ingredients are money and people and we have these on our side. What we are missing is the right strategy.
There are a few strategies that can help in the reverse invasion. Invest in talented people who can write original articles and jokes; create cartoons and illustrations which project our culture and denigrate anti-Hindu discourse. To set any narrative, relevant news needs to be amplified with facts and convincing information. People like to be fed narratives rather than news. Effective storytelling increases the staying power of the narrative in the media. Power is not only what you have but what the adversary thinks you have. The content should be outside the experience of the enemy to keep them on tenterhooks. The creations should encompass the whole gamut ranging from subtle to extreme. Ridicule and sarcasm have the most impact and should be liberally used. One has to be bold and courageous as only these people get rewarded. People are to be targeted as they hurt more easily than institutions. The delivery of such material should be relentless to maintain the pressure with different tactics and actions. The material has to be bombarded by amplifying it with retweets, forwards and replies. The idea is that the enemy should not get a chance to breathe and there should be utter chaos and confusion in their camp. However, care has to be taken not to violate the laws of the land. In the end, the narrative is everything.
This is the way a proactive narrative has to be channelised. Herein Rana Ayyub is only reacting to the narrative which has already been set.
We must also recognise who amongst us supports Jihadis. You have to initially target a few of such people and pounce upon them like a pack of hyenas. The Bollywood stars are the low-hanging fruits. Threatening to boycott their movies and then actually boycotting them is the easiest path. Fortunately, we are already witnessing the phenomenon. The signal is going that Hindus are awake now and cannot be taken for granted. Next on the list should be the so-called influencers. Trolling them by hitting below the belt is an easy thing to do. The idea is to invade and set the narrative ourselves. We should be seen as a doer who can take destiny into our hands. The most challenging part is to make adverse political parties act dharmic. The ruling parties in Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala won’t change ever. The only thing that can be done is to change the mindset of the voters of these states.
To make the governments listen, bringing Hindus to the streets is essential. It is this power that wields maximum power, still far more lethal than the social media protests. We have to learn something from Muslims in this regard, as when they decide to undertake any protest, they do not beg for political backing. They demonstrate, vandalise, and intimidate “regardless of” political support. They will cry victim just after they have done all the harm. It isn’t like that Hindus don’t want to come to the streets. They regularly hit the streets at the call of political parties like Congress. The Central government may have its own compulsion of not organising such protests that and herein, fringe parties come in handy.
Right now, it is the enemy who is employing these tactics against us, to a great effect. They flawlessly contribute to the advancement of deceitful agenda. They also believe in networking and supporting their fellows through thick and thin. We must work hard to correct the anti-India narrative that has spread worldwide. An entire industry is dedicated to painting India negatively and portraying the subcontinent as a dangerous place for democracy and even to do business. And this industry continues to thrive even within India. People like Arundhati Roy, Teesta Setalvad, Zubair, Ranbir Kapoor and Aamir Khan are the tip of the iceberg regarding the anti-India narrative. Government cannot do much or will not like to do much in many such matters, lest it draws international attention. Few arrests here and there would also not be enough to fix the narrative.
Unless and until we, the common people, take the lead.
Written by Amit Agarwal, author of the bestsellers on Indian history titled
“Swift horses Sharp Swords” and a “Never Ending Conflict”.
(This article was originally published in bharatvoice.in and has been republished here with permission.)