This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Pillai Vishnu. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

I’m ‘Disgusted’ By How Social Media Is Used To Play Politics Over People’s Lives

More from Pillai Vishnu

By Pillai Vishnu:

A few days ago, a major tragedy occurred in God’s own country, Kerala, where there was a mishap when there was an explosion caused by fireworks, brought to celebrate that same god. The incident caused a fatality of more than 100, and many more were injured. Now, a couple of days later, when everyone is debating, and rightly so, about banning fireworks, or lapses on the part of the Temple’s trust, I have something else to talk about.

In the wee hours of the morning, when the news of the incident broke out, I, like everyone, tried to check through Facebook if my friends were safe and in general to know more about the incident. What I saw made me flinch and disgusted at the fact that people can stoop to such low levels, even in the wake of such massive tragedies.

I first saw a tweet shared by someone saying, and I will quote, “Big Bomb Explosion by CPM Muslim Terrorists in #Kollam Puthingal Devi Temple, hundreds of poor Hindu Devotees killed & 1000s injured”. I was ashamed to be a human because I would be sharing that category with the person who tweeted this!



In the wake of such a huge tragedy, how can the first response of any person be to take advantage of the situation, and create communal disharmony? I mean, forget about the fact that the statement might have been completely baseless. Can you imagine the implications of a couple of hotheaded religious fanatics taking the tweet seriously? (I assume all those who follow this group are, as I don’t see any logical reason to follow them.) There could be more bloodshed. Isn’t this inciting violence? Shouldn’t this be seditious? How can they spread such lies, and serious ones, too, and nothing happen to them?

Later on in the day, when most of the people were trying to get the blood donation drive going (as we had heard there was a shortage), I took to Facebook to spread the news. Here, again, I found another post that, maybe, was not as dangerous but was equally disgusting.

There was a post with a picture of the PM of our country, leaving for Kollam, and it was captioned, and I quote again, “PM modi leaves for kollam with team of doctors, whereas pappu and kejri yet to decide from which caste the victim…”. The post would have been absolutely fine if it ended at “doctors”, but it didn’t, and that’s reflective of the times we live in.

The idea to politicise, to score brownie points over the opposition (I am assuming ‘pappu’ is Rahul Gandhi and ‘kejri’ is Arvind Kejriwal) at a time when people are running around to arrange blood, just shows how insensitive people have become in these times. Compassion seems to be something that belonged to another generation.

It also shows how politically charged the times we live in have become. Everything and anything can be politicised, be it a national disaster or even something as trivial as a slogan. Sides are taken, and online wars begin. There is no space to oppose, there are no more grey areas. If you don’t agree, you are from the other side and you are a traitor, anti-national and what not.

When all those people died, and many more were suffering, no one cared who came or who went. All that the people wanted to know was how many people could be saved; what we need to save them; and how we can save them. That is exactly what the people concerned had in their mind.

Actually, for once, when all the politicians came together, irrespective of their party, religious and caste differences to work together to help the people, social media was divided. They were still political, they were still religious. This is a very dangerous trend and we shouldn’t ignore it. This is important because it shows how divided people can act even in the face of such a huge tragedy. Is this the India you and I dreamt of?

If it is not, make sure you don’t let people who post such things go scot-free. Report them, to Facebook and also to the police. I do not think it would be hard to find the people behind these handles. Once these people are caught and brought to justice, I am sure it will act as a deterrent for such acts in future. It’s time to be intolerant because, to such tweets and posts, there is no other way and frankly they don’t deserve anything better.

Featured image source: Flickr/Jason Howle (modified).

You must be to comment.
  1. balayogi venkataraman

    Dirty politics has ceased to be the sole preserve of certain paid media houses and some others who have freely appropriated the most inappropriate labels and carried on dirtier politics with very strong ideological overtones and political under currents. Now as their place is usurped by some equally irresponsible and ideologically affiliated individuals do not brush the whole of social media as bad or whatever label you want to assign . Unlike the media in India , most of the MSM who peddle the stories of only particular ideological outfits and only certain pay masters . In social media it is the individual choice and does not use to as a mas opinion molding tool like sic MSM and many funded internet media houses.

More from Pillai Vishnu

Similar Posts

By Akshat Vats


By Imran Khan

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below