Social Media – Giver and Taker of Life

Most of us believe in fate, destiny, and providence – something that we leave on the almighty power to write for us. But in recent years, this act of writing someone’s destiny has conveniently shifted into the hands of social media – a place where many deaths are now decided and several lives saved. How did we come to this? When did we decide to give so much power to a human invention that easily holds sway over millions of people?

Viral media has become a curse as much as it was once treated as a boon. While social media has helped long separated friends and relatives to connect with each other, it has also fired up an atmosphere of antagonism among religious communities by spreading rumours against each other.

In July last year, an incident in Baduria, which lies in the North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal, social media played the role of an instigator in the communal riot which injured nearly 25 people including 20 policeman and took the life of a 65 year old lady. A 17 year old boy named Souvik Sarkar had posted objectionable photos on on social media relating to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and Kaaba. Nearly 5,000 people responded by surrounding the police station and asking for the boy to be arrested. Souvik Sarkar’s home was also attacked by a mob.

At a time when the West Bengal government and the police asked for people to avoid paying heed to viral messages and also requested people to stop spreading fake news, a politician by the name of Vijeta Malik went on to post a picture which was from the Bhojpuri movie, “Aurat Khilona Nahi” and reported it as a photo from Baduria where Hindu women were being ill-treated. The post was since deleted, but the damage was done.

People were greatly provoked by the photo and decided to take action by damaging properties and destroying shops owned by people of the other community. Some witnesses said that the rioters had come from outside while others believed that they were the residents of Baduria. 71 people were arrested.

While this is just one example of how viral messages can cause distress in a peaceful region, the country has experienced several such incidents as social media becomes easily accessible to the people of our country.

Temple of India sees this as a threat to humanity. As viral posts become dangerous, people have started becoming less sympathetic towards another person’s cause. Our society no longer identifies itself with the foundations on which a society is built – the acts of love, kindness, care and humanity. As we drift to a zone where we have started becoming intolerant towards each other, Temple of India beckons you to find humanity once again and preserve it as the foundational element that separates us from all other living beings.

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