All those Social Media doomsday prophets are perhaps right. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, their cousins’ value in any society? Zilch. Two recent examples:
An anti-rape activist Sunitha Krishnan posted videos already viral on YouTube. They showed the rapists in a gang rape. Within hours, video removed, her car was attacked.
Bas. That’s all. What happened to Social Media? Exactly NOTHING.
A noted Tamil littérateur, Perumal Merugan was hounded over his description of an age-old practice that perhaps pre-dates even the Mahabharat.
Published in Tamil in 2010, recommended for a Sahitya Akademi Award and translated into English, “One Part Woman”/ ”Madhorubagan” is the story of a childless woman who seeks sex outside marriage to conceive, in a ceremony sanctified by tradition, community and religion.
As ‘Niyoga,’ this practice finds mention in many episodes, including the Mahabharat where Ved Vyas impregnates the two widows and maid of his deceased brother, so the kingdom may get an heir.
Centuries down the line, 5 years after its publication, Madhorubagan earns the ire of some extremists who create such terror in the city and the local administration that Murugan is compelled to announce: I have given up writing and will withdraw all my books from the market altogether.
A literary voice silence, but terror tactics continued.
To spare family and associates from harassment, Murugan now appeals to Tamil Nadu government to transfer him and his wife from their local college to any government college in Chennai.
What happened on Social Media, chatter, chitters, petitions?
Of how much effect in preserving the public, democratic space?