Sushant Singh Rajput’s death has all of us shaken. Us, the people who never knew him. Us, those bunched together either/or as audience or fans. Us, who probably mattered to him more than those said ‘stars’ with their socially expressive sadness. Us, who probably were the saving grace when we spent those 250 bucks to watch his art. Us, who sit in spaces of different kinds of privilege that allow us to write long posts on mental health and nepotism, which we aren’t experts or victims of.
I often consider this privilege as innocent as a baby. Like a baby, it probably doesn’t even know the ruckus it creates in the lives of others. It plays, throws tantrums, and hurts itself without a care in the world. Often as demands, sometimes as smoke screens, and nowadays as a trending hashtag, this irreproachable situation in our lives is often more damaging than you give it credit for.
This right we have advanced to ourselves has often reduced our attempt to raise awareness about serious issues to mere empathy generating charades. The celebrities aren’t alone. If they are guilty of pushing someone to the brink of morbidity, maybe that’s where we draw the line too. The hazy line of the torturer becoming the tortured is too easy to miss. Perhaps, that’s why this concession we have awarded ourselves of ridiculing everyone behind a screen seems the same act of unkindness the industry probably advanced to Sushant.
Our conscience keepers are buzzing, always telling us that enough is enough. Anger doesn’t justify everything. It especially doesn’t justify writing long, hurtful messages that are essentially only name-calling. It definitely doesn’t achieve anything tangible. I appreciate the volume of content generated on speaking up, but isn’t that what we do day after day? Raise a theme for the week, post stories left-right-and-centre, sign a few petitions, and that is it.
In a recent video by a channel called Soch, they analysed if these ‘influencing campaigns’ really work. The analysis would probably place a lot of online “activism” out of job. This slacktivism of trending hashtags and momentary anger with no follow up is what dangerous career plans are made of. Believe me, I know.
So repost stories, create hashtags, but here’s what you can really do about the problem in hand:
Take actions rather than use entitlement as a tool. You might just be pulling the same strings those people you blame did. It’s the same irony that a black block on your Instagram achieved nothing when you don’t understand a large culture within your own neighbourhood. Movies like Axone highlight racism on something so small as cooking the food you want to eat.
It’s happening right under your own nose, but you prefer “protesting” something 1,000 miles away. The innocence of privilege becomes whorish when you no longer fight a war ethically against the enemy but distract them with cheap tricks.