NOTE: This article contains strong language and is a translation of a Marathi Video to English. It is a sincere attempt to make this incident known to others who face online abuse.
Social media has become a ground for Bhakts to bully anyone disagreeing with them. On one side, there have been arrests of journalists like Prashant Kanojia for sharing a video clip on social media and on the other side, there is an absolute misuse of social media by Bhakts spewing venom through harassing comments. Such an incident happened with Ketaki Chitale, a Marathi TV serial actress.
A few days ago, Ketaki Chitale received flak on social media among Marathi users about her video in which she explicitly revealed the most abusive comments she received from the people on social media. It all started when she uploaded the said video for her social media segment “Living Life with KelfieGirl” on (Sunday) June, in which she humbly made a point to her Marathi viewers. She said, “I firstly want to tell my Marathi brothers that I am followed by non-Marathi viewers and Marathi viewers both. So, please do not wave flags of Marathi language. Hindi is our national language, I request you to please understand it. Please don’t write comments like ‘Have you forgotten Marathi?’, ‘You work in Marathi serials’ and nonsense’.”
Many people responded to this segment with abusive comments with an intent to demean and harm her dignity and disrespect her.
After that on June 13, she uploaded another video dedicated to those who had responded with abusive comments on the previous video. She says, “Namaskar , This episode of Living life with a KelfieGirl is totally dedicated to only those who take ‘hollow’ pride in Marathi language and call themselves ‘Shivaraya’s Mavalas’(so-called/self-proclaimed followers of Shivaji Maharaj), and who have escalated Shivraya’s name to different heights because of their qualities; not Shivraya’s qualities, but because of their (so-called) Mavala’s qualities.”
“I am thankful to Dubaikar Dadus, Being Marathi and many such people who propagated my statements by adding extra toppings to it and presented it in front of the people of Maharashtra and defamed me? Anyway. Let’s start with the accusations levied on me. I decided to speak in Hindi instead of Marathi, so you guys eliminated the parts of video segment which included topic likes ‘Not to put peer pressure on children’, Life is not a competition’ – you limited my video to a few Hindi statements, instead of talking about the actual content of my video.”
She was called names, told ‘Laaj watte na mag Bharat desh sodun jaa’ (If you feel ashamed, then you should leave India), ‘Aai zawaade raande’ (You Motherfucking Whore), ‘Hazaar detaay Zawayla detas ka? Raande’ (sexual abuse in Non-Bookish Marathi- I’ll give you 1000 Rupees, will you let me fuck you?’). She was also told ‘Aga Kutre…, pan tuzya Aai cha navra tar Marathi aahe na.., mag aadhi Marathi cha abhimaan Baalagh , mag te tuze dusre baap astil hindi madhle tyaana chadhvun ghe’ (Hey bitch, but your mother’s husband is a Marathi man, so firstly take pride in Marathi, and then if you want those other fathers in Hindi language, go and sleep with them), ‘Tujhya aaaicha ghost madarchod saali’ (Motherfucker).
She was called casteist names like ‘Aali Mothi Shahni Bhangaar Saali, Dalindari kuthchi , Bagha hi Bhakarwadi chi Aulaad’ (Who are you to teach us? You are a bhangar, Dalindar and Bhakarwadi ki Aulad); further, she was told that even BR Ambedkar spoke on an international level in Marathi and the land is a result of a lot of sacrifices on the part of a lot of people. She was also told to go to Pakistan and told to stay back in Maharashtra only if she speaks Marathi. Another person said, ‘Tya zendya chya maage jo daanda asto na to ghaatlyawar tula ani tuzya aaila kalel tya daandya chi taaqat kaay aahe te’ (That stick at the other end of a flag, it should be shoved into you and your mother, then you’ll understand what is the power of that stick).
She responded to these comments asking ‘why should I leave the country? I am not feeling ashamed’; and by saying, ‘so if a (Marathi) lady doesn’t put up a video in Marathi, then she is a prostitute who sells her body?’; she very calmly responded to all comments, also employing sarcasm to prove that the abusers don’t stand anywhere, and all in due politeness.
She continued, “Is your Marathi culture so weak and lowly that unless and until you don’t shove something into my and my mother’s colon, it isn’t going to be resurrected? Is it so weak that until I am raped, it’ll not enter its golden era? My mother tongue is not so weak that if I don’t speak in Marathi, or openly express my love towards it, or wave I LOVE MARATHI flags, it will go extinct. Now, I am Ashamed to call it ‘MY MAHARASHTRA’. Just to condemn a woman, you want to shove something into her private parts and rape her? This is not my Maharashtra. These are your values, not mine. Now, do you have it in you to spread THIS video?”
This is the irony we live with, this is the mirror of the society we live in. Social media is a free space which allows freedom of speech and expression, but not at the cost of someone else’s dignity and respect. It cannot be allowed to become a space to bully people and act extremely, every time you disagree with them.