File photo of BSP chief Mayawat
File photo of BSP chief Mayawati | PTI
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Mayawati is the president of BSP, the third largest party of India in terms of vote share, after the BJP and the Congress. She is a four-time chief minister of the most populous state Uttar Pradesh, larger than countries like Pakistan, Russia or Japan.

When she made a much belated entry on Twitter this week, she ran into a wall of hate. And the attacks she faced on Twitter is only a microcosm of what she faces every day in Indian public sphere.

The dominant voices on Twitter are casteist, misogynistic and symptomatic of the filth that passes off for free speech in India today. To get a glimpse of this filth, please visit the Twitter handle @Mayawati of the BSP chief, Behen Mayawati, and see what is being hurled at her.


Also read: Mayawati on Twitter – Recognition of social media’s role in polls or too late for impact?


Mayawati, known for her trademark suspicion and contempt for India’s ‘manuwadi’ mainstream media, joined the world of nearly 330 million Twitter users on 22 January, 2019. Within days, her account soared to gain over 78,000 followers — but so did the trolls.

They came in hoards and with the choicest slurs. A quick analysis about the shape of Indian public sphere in the 21st century.

Like all of us, Mayawati too has multiple identities. She is a career politician, a woman, a Dalit, Hindi-speaking, and dark-skinned. Many of these identities are often under attack and they are now the subject of abuse on Mayawati’s Twitter timeline, too. These are the broad categories of trolls based on specific types of slurs.

  1. Mayawati is a Dalit, so her Twitter must hand out reservations. People with this idea are ridiculing her, saying there should be reservation on her Twitter handle as well. One user writes that by following Mayawati, s/he should be given quota benefits.
    1. Mayawati is an uneducated person, so she can’t write her own tweets. Though she was a school teacher and is a law graduate, many still perceive her as an uneducated woman. Some of the trolls ask if she can even write in English. This question isn’t posed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who reads from a teleprompter in English or many other politicians who do not speak English fluently but tweet in English. Or to Rahul Gandhi, whose Hindi skills are doubtful but he tweets in chaste Hindi.
  1. Comments on her DP. Her profile picture is also a subject of ridicule. Trolls are asking how she appears ‘so fair’ in her display picture. Is she using some filter?
  1. She is a puppet and has no agency of her own. She can’t run her own Twitter handle. How can she? Her handle must be run by someone else, maybe a Brahmin. She does not speak even extempore in Hindi, how can she tweet? They ignore her medical condition and the operation wherein one of the two glands in her throat was removed, after which she said doctors advised her not to put too much stress on the throat and read only written texts. Anybody with some grasp on UP’s politics would know that in her early days, Mayawati used to be a fiery and charismatic orator. But her medical condition now makes her a subject of ridicule.

Most of these trolls have north Indian names and upper caste surnames; they are mostly male, and if one digs into their profiles, most of them have posted Right-wing communal tweets, and many of them are Modi fans.


Also read: Why Mayawati has the least chance of becoming prime minister


The author is a senior journalist.

This article has been updated to reflect changes.

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7 Comments Share Your Views

7 COMMENTS

  1. Dilip, you don’t expect it to be any other way in the ‘New India’ where our self-styled gods and their ‘men’ can not see beyond themselves. They will never recognise that India has more than two intelligent people.

    Our PM and the BJP party president are hell bent on making us believe that we must choose between Mr Modi and no one else. They keep asking who is PM candidate, forgetting that we are a parliamentary democracy. Mr Modi is supposed to have a degree in entire political science. How does someone who has a degree in entire political science not know that we are parliamentary democracy?

    We are told by all the trolls and fawning ministers that he knows everything that is to be known. Mr Modi only talks about ruling and keeping him as a PM forever (comparing 55 years with my 55 months), abuses people using all sorts of phrases and acronyms and we still made to believe that he is best thing that has happened to the country.

    These people forget that all of us (including Ms. Mayawati) have all the rights that these people have and they have no business to insult anyone. Unfortunately, they seem to doing just that all the time and the self-styled, all-knowing gods keep quiet when others are abused.

  2. We must thank this brave journalist for showing the difference between creating fake news and showing reality with documented proofs. Hats off to him

  3. With all dur respect, Mr Arnab Goswami and his channel have openly discrminated against an ideology, misrepresented policies, avoided fruitful conversations on key macro issues. I understand you and the media have a tendency to act as if ‘yeh sab toh chalta rehta hain’. This is my story, since this bullshit hindutva story came out I have been called a terrorist, I have been called a Muslim been laughed just beacause I dont look ‘Indian’ at a bar once a guy told me once I was too fair, and hence I am not an Indian. I got to know him a bit more and realised he watches Mr. Goswami. If Mr. Goswami can prove that he has not conspired with a political ideology to oppress a certain other Ideology then he is free to practice his work. But with the responsibility he has he needs to understand that his views are welcomed if they have no Alteriror motives, my profile has been hacked, a fake account was even created. And do u know the kicker in all of this i am an army officer’s kid, a Kashmiri Dattatreya brahmin, and u know what my name is ‘Jalali’, if have any doubts ask any Kashmiri pandits and they will tell u… Because of his misrepresentation people like me suffer, we are ostracized and we are made to feel bad about ourself…. U people may act all is ok, cause sometimes I feel this ‘khichdi’ only furthers ur profit. He has to answer the call of the court. Cause in all the sense I have he can be held liable for increasing communal hatred in our country.

  4. Trolls are nothing but opponents in disguise.
    Once in Social Media, everyone is trolled at some part.
    More so if they are paid by their party.
    She will get used to it, don’t worry.

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