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HomeOpinionPoVIndian liberals’ WhatsApp University moment came with President Kovind’s Bose portrait row

Indian liberals’ WhatsApp University moment came with President Kovind’s Bose portrait row

A confirmation bias the liberals suffer from is their unwillingness to accept that Narendra Modi is popular.

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It’s not the holier-than-thou PC attitude that makes us liberals cringe-worthy; it’s our habit of putting ourselves up on a pedestal and burying our head in a cloud of privilege and big words that truly earns us the wrath of the world.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters, for all the right reasons, have been called the students of ‘WhatsApp University’ — the gullible, blind-to-reason public that will buy everything they receive in their inboxes and are constantly ridiculed. But the same people, those who scoff at the ‘WhatsApp-types’, are falling prey to unverified information, and calling the President of India’s actions “embarrassing” without even doing a fact check.

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India’s Charlie Chaplin 

The story goes that Charlie Chaplin once entered a look-alike competition and came third. All this is stuff of legend, but we saw something similar play out in front of our eyes today.

President Ram Nath Kovind had on 23 January unveiled a portrait of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on the freedom fighter’s 125th birth anniversary. Netaji has been in news of late, since all political parties are trying to appropriate his legacy ahead of the West Bengal assembly election.

So when the leading liberals got their chance to criticise the President, who is also a former BJP member, they didn’t look left and they didn’t look right. A random person on Twitter claimed the portrait the President had unveiled was of Bengali actor Prosenjit Chatterjee from his 2019 film Gumnaami, and not of Netaji — everyone just went with it. I am sure nobody bothered to look up who Chatterjee is, what he looked like in the movie, or the poster of Gumnaami before calling out the President’s “embarrassing” and “hilarious” error.

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The confirmation bias

Confirmation bias hasn’t escaped our country’s brightest minds. It was on full display — nobody bothered to verify this piece of information because it gave them a quick serotonin rush, a tinge of happiness. After all, the liberals finally had the material to troll the Ram-Mandir donation-giving President. This wasn’t an opportunity to be missed.

Another confirmation bias of the liberals is their unwillingness to accept that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a popular leader. Despite multiple elections telling you the same thing, you won’t buy it and instead call it a media-manufactured narrative.

If we assume that this story was planted by the BJP IT cell for the liberals to pick up and make a joke of themselves, then they truly have succeeded.

But the confirmation bias problem doesn’t seem to be India-centric. Recently, something similar happened with Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Though she is a constant target of Right-wing trolls. A fabricated tweet, allegedly from the US politician, calling for the annihilation of conservatives went viral. The fake tweet read: “Let’s make Auschwitz look like a picnic”. That was enough for the conservatives in the US and around the world to jump guns. Why? Because deep in their hearts they always want her to say something demeaning. They’re waiting to take her down, and so anything radical coming from the ‘radical Leftist’ leader is appetizing to them.

The Right-wing too doesn’t consume news or believe in anything that doesn’t confirm their bias. They now question the authenticity of Arnab Goswami’s chats with Partho Das Gupta but wanted Rhea Chakraborty’s blood over the ‘same’ chats.

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The outrage

This isn’t the first time our Twitter celebrities have fallen prey to fake news, and it definitely won’t be the last. They will, however, continue to look down upon the masses who believe everything they receive on WhatsApp is Gospel truth. The manner in which we demean those vulnerable to fake news and propaganda while falling prey to the same from positions of power is simply deplorable.

It’s true fake news on WhatsApp is a serious concern, and the platform has turned into a propaganda machine. Such is the threat of fake forwards that WhatsApp had to take cognizance and craft an entire ad campaign cautioning users against trusting and spreading such unverified information.

But the elite usually ridicule the less educated, the not-so-woke — those who lack the means to differentiate between truth and lies, and are vulnerable to news that directly plays into their beliefs, biases and fears. But when the educated lot — with all the access to power and information — does the same, they somehow appear no different from those enrolled in ‘WhatsApp University’.

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  1. Hahahahahaha…. the fact that this author tries to draw similarities between seriously mentally challenged liberals and the supposedly gullible WhatsApp believers is so hilarious! I mean if classic idiots like Rajdeep Sardesai and gang confuse Netaji’s picture with a Bengali actor and liberals like this writer think it’s a case of not verifying facts then… my goodness! God help you all! You need to check your facts to recognize Subash Chandra Bose and think the highest office in India would make such a blunder shows how truly senseless you are. Try and acquaint yourself with India first

  2. The Indian Marxists are trained circus monkeys. They have no original thought or contribution to India. All they do all day is to ape their masters from the West and keep vomiting the same old european theories like robots. They can’t read a word of Sanskrit, they never read Kalidas, they never touched even a single piece of literature from our own Sanatana tradition. But they memorize the european crap like modernism, postmodernism, critical race theory, etc. that originated out of the wars, struggles, religion, geography and culture of Europe, which have nothing to do with our Bharat experience. We need a vaccine against this Marxist virus.

  3. In which university and college these people studied ? Do they even understand the meaning of Liberal ? Blatant leftism is not liberalism. All these self-serving ego maniacs are mad at Modi that due to that person, nobody is listening to their words which is as good as God’s words for them. If you don’t have the ability to analyse the reality in rational manner, don’t delude yourself in lofty words like Liberal.

    I am not a blind right winger or left winger, but tired of these leftists claiming themselves to be liberal. Atleast right-wing people don’t call themselves liberal.

  4. How Woke virus spreads- Nidhi says she is a Harvard prof without due diligence, Sonia gives her a recommendation, Pranav praises her and the entire cabal falls for it without even questioning it once? Then comes Netaji and again the wine virus spread like wildfire. How do you think people will trust you guys. The problem is these people are flag bearer of liberals in India. For these people liberals are losing credibility.

  5. well this illusion calling them intellectual or leftist because they are nothing this has been proven in last seven years they are just a lobbyist and broker who were used to indulge in all shitty dirty politics in old India, if they were intellectual Modi is will never had free ride for seven long years as PM. Intellectual is full of idea, believe in innovation, have a great vision, be all the time creativity none of these quality they have they all just good in criticising whatever Modi govt does but they not have any their own better idea to counter.

  6. I just have to say one thing. Falling prey to WhatsApp chats and not being able to recognize Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose are too different things. He is not some random freedom fighter, who we were never taught about. His photos are everywhere to see and is a much more politicized freedom fighter than anyone else by a fair distance. If someone posts a photo of Mahatma Gandhi, no one’s gonna claim that he is Ben Kingsley.

  7. During the last six years, the so-called liberals, who are most intolerant of everyone who disagree with them, have lost sinecures of the State and patronage of politicians. It is their frustration that makes them jump the gun and shoot from the hip, ask questions later. How dare they call themselves ‘woke’ or knowledgeable about anything except about techniques of seeking patronage?

  8. Wokeness and liberalism are two sides of the same coin which went out of circulation long time back. Stop watching the US political news and get back to reality. In the US wokes are finding it toughest to find employment, don’t follow them.

    Be a conservative, work hard and be a good tax paying productive citizen of mother India.

  9. The hate MODI in whichever way possible is a common denominator across party lines some vocal some silent and this exists within a specific band width which fortunately cannot affect his popularity.
    They so honest and clean that one of them ever had to stand in Q with AADHAR in hand to exchange the 4000Rs.

  10. Stupidity is becoming more infectious than Covid among woke liberals. One starts and the entire network gets infected in seconds. Repeatedly!

  11. Not the first. We already had just last week an ex NDTV hack claiming to be an “Associate professor, Journalism” at Harvard.

    Priceless was Prannoy Roy telling the impersonator and fake prof “mark my words, you will do Harvard proud”.

    Btw, why did Print not cover this sorry episode at all? Law of omerta for hacks? Like when Aroon Poorie editor of India Today was caught plagiarising from a foreign magazine. Entire mainstream media went silent.

  12. It’s not confirmation bias. It’s just bunch of corrupt yellow propaganda coolies of looter trying to be the first to get access to dynastic orifices

  13. The author had me cracking and do rofl when I stumbled upon the words ‘us liberal’.

    A woke calling herself liberal is just a simpleton disguising oneself in western mumbo jumbo.

    If your write up are analyzed on theprint, everyone will come to the same conclusion, all hyperbole and bereft of substance.

    Which makes you the problem and not solution, griping the national woke crowd. Shoddy piece of workeness passing off as journalism.

  14. Let’s not forget the pioneers of fake news is mainstream media. Fake news was being generated by MSM long before the onset of social media. It’s just that social media has taken it to a whole new level. As for self styled liberals, intellectuals, country’s brightest minds etc. they are just that. More then wrath they arouse pity for more reasons then one. In any case they are passe now irrespective of what they tweet and all their sound and fury.

  15. Since she is the darling of the liberals, the author should have called out TMC MP Smt Mahua Moitra, she of the “two paisa press” fame, for putting up a sarcastic tweet, mocking the President on this issue, and then slyly removing it without even apologizing for the insult on the first citizen of the country. She is the closest one comes to a modern day liberal, thinking that her ideas are the purest and unable to accept an opposing view. What they don’t realise that term “liberal” is exactly the same who they call “bhakt”.

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