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Why no respect on social media?

Actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan (File|AFP)

A  week of pro-jallikattu ordinance and the 24-hour mayhem which followed the student protests at Marina Beach has left the entertainment world with little to call as ‘news-of-its-own’. However, one voice emerged as the most pertinent in this pro-people movement.

Unafraid to take on the establishment — be it for his creative freedom or for his belief in social issues/causes, unmindful of the risk he could face the next time a film of his releases, Ulaganayagan Kamal Haasan tweeted and ensured his views on the student protests (where he underlined that no actor should go to Marina and steal their thunder) was taken seriously. Calling the students his nanba/thozha he emphasised his relevant, political points of view as a voting citizen.
In the absence of a strong political force which could either lead or stop the protests, the statement from Rajinikanth and the tweets from Kamal were taken with more seriousness and kept the momentum on the movement. Kamal’s words were picked up by every media up north and his opinion on using police-force to oust a protesting mob on January 23 was heard in the melange of well-meaning minds.

Twitter, however, is also a quick-to-criticise platform — quick-to-judge, quicker-to-call-names and quickest-to-downsize even the best of talents. Three weeks ago, Trisha and Vishal faced a backlash and had to quit social media. Also, fan-wars fuel much furore. It was with a chuckle I read some of the comments/replies to every tweet put up by Kamal. Apart from the lakhs of retweets and thousands of supportive replies, some of them addressed him in a singular nee (ever heard of the word ‘respect’? If you were in front of him, would you call him this?) Many replies even got personal (alluding to his penchant for alliteration in Tamil and hence puriyala was a common complaint) and hit below his knee-cap too (he is recovering from a shin surgery) without making an attempt to understand the context of his opinions. Some even lamented why he kept tweeting!

If he was quiet all along, won’t you complain about that too? Answering a celebrity-opinion with one of my own is a healthy discussion/debate where we can agree to disagree. But a mere lashing out at an icon’s personal life when he/she puts up a tweet on a socially serious issue shows whose immaturity?
Facebook and Twitter are great tools of communication — I can tag the President and the Prime Minister of my country and demand answers or question them for issues which affect me. Does that mean I have the right to get personal with them? Where does one draw the line?
The social media classroom does not have a teacher to monitor conduct; hence a certain reverence observed by a majority of us may even be mocked at. But to take on bullies on Twitter is an art by itself which a few celebrities like Kamal (who doesn’t indulge in them) Khushbu, Radhika
(who have the spunk to reply) and Anurag Kashyap (who takes them head-on tweet-for-tweet)
have mastered.

Source: The New Indian Express