This article was written by Jithin PV, The Deshbhakt Discord Member
Indians have a history of Swadeshi Movement which was a drive to boycott British products during the freedom struggle. The movement successfully united all the Indians aiming for freedom. Their intention was noble and the consequences were mostly good.
Cut to 2020, nowadays, boycott trends are “manufactured” and “made viral” through the power of social media and mostly last only for that particular day. People who initiate these trends get offended even for the most silly things and start the #boycott on a whim!
Perhaps, even in this moment, when I’m typing, there’s a #boycott trending on Twitter. But, it’s important to realize that not every hashtag trend has good intention.
Usually the right wing propaganda is what encourages these boycott campaigns. The followers of right wing politics (also their supreme leader) cannot tolerate any sort of criticism or any quality that does not please their politics such as harmony between religions.
Sounds like a fascist thing, right?
- The campaign for boycotting Tanishq, a jewellery brand, happened because its advertisement showed communal harmony, which, in their view, was far from ground reality
- They decided to boycott Mirzapur webseries because it criticised the govt or because the lead actor Ali Fazal opined against the CAA-NRC
- A trend to boycott Chhappak movie, because the protagonist of the film, Deepika Padukone, had supported the JNU students who were attacked by alleged ABVP goons
Clearly, most of such campaigns have a strong right wing and pro-government agenda. Such hashtags create a mental divide between people, which is not good news for a country like India. What’s worse is that such campaigns also receive a “virtual” support from the concerned political parties.
The question remains: If somebody cannot criticize a policy of govt, if an ad should not show harmony, if an actress cannot support the wounded students, if farmers cannot protest, etc. then, is India truly a democratic country any-more? Let’s quickly remind ourselves that the “existence of diverse opinions” is what democracy has always been about. It’s all the more important now!