Tracking the various post-truth narrative counter narrative built by India’s BJP RSS supporting right wing. This is case 1 on this blog. There are at least 50 I have in my mind. About Post-Truth politics in India read this , about truth and why we pursue it, read this.


We are living in post-truth era where people have completely lost all sense of true and false, right and wrong. They have lost all sense of ethics, propriety, lost the moral compass altogether.

A Zomato customer named Pt Amit Shukla cancelled an order because the food was being delivered by a “non-Hindu rider.” When informed by Zomato help desk that cancellation after order was picked up would cost him cancelletion fees, he got infuriated and took to Twitter to give legal threats and to share that he has uninstalled Zomato app.  In a chat conversation with Zomato Help desk he said, “We have Shrawan and I don’t need a delivery from a Muslim fellow.” Zomato decided to shut down the man’s bigotry by saying, “Food has no religion. It is a religion.” (Indian Express report)

There are some truth which are whole truth, fundamental truth. Which cannot be doubted. For eg, rape and murder are wrong, is a whole truth. Similarly, xenophobia is bad, denial of business or service or social boycott or untouchability based upon somebody’s sex, skin colour, religion or language and other identities is wrong. A Hindu man saying he cannot eat the food carried by a Muslim man is just wrong, this is a whole truth.

But the right wing has has managed to create a counter narrative based upon post-truth to justify this wrong. They started trending various hateful hashtags attacking Zomato.

Radical Right and Post-Truth narrative

India’s radical right have been consistently building post-truth counter narratives bereft of facts, logic and ethics on every issue in public debate. Whether it is the issue of rape and murder of an eight year old girl in Kathua or the brutal killing of a Muslim man on camera in front of a teenage boy who was recording the killing the radical right will always manage to find excuses to create counter narrative to justify the violence. They labelled the 49 filmmakers who wrote a letter to the PM to stop mob lynching as anti-national. They disrupted law and order and took out rallies in support of Kathua rape and murder accused. Mainstream media like Zee TV has also been part of this radical right post-truth narrative creation. BJP’s ministers and members openly support mob lynching accused, welcoming them with garlands and sweets. It is scary how poisonous Indian people have become. They carry this hate around in their hearts. They carry a mob mentality without leaving a space for dialogues. 

The Truth:

Those attacking Zomato are drawing a false parallel with another incident where Zomato cancelled a Muslim man’s order because it was not Halal food as promised by the restaurant. But these two incidents cannot be compared. By cancelling the Muslim man’s order Zomato protected his food choice, not people choice. That Muslim man ordered Halal food, paid for Halal food, but the delivery was incorrect. So Zomato was simply rectifying a wrong order.

In a country where citizens are equal you cannot say a particular citizen cannot carry my food. That is called social boycott, and is not allowed in our Constitution.

It is further misleading to claim Zomato is forcing halal food down anybody’s throat because they neither cook nor deliver free food. You get what you ask for, if you order Jhatka, you will get jhatka. (But Hindus do not have any such thing as Jhatka or Halal. That was the beauty of Hindu religion, no rules. We could eat anything edible. Now they are waging a war against halal food)

The real reason behind so much backlash is that Zomato specifically dared the right wing by saying “we are not sorry to lose any business that comes in the way of our values”. In the past, right wing has downrated and uninstalled Zomato but they dared them anyway.

Many have pointed out these obvious but the truth gets no Likes and Share because they are alone. But radical right on social media is a body, an organization, they are working together, fueled by RSS/BJP for almost 10 years now. Below are some of the bigoted tweets:

By evening the man had deleted his Twitter. Police has sent him notice. And right wing Twitter crowd started targeting Zomato for other things, like wrong billing or giving them bad rating on the app. Some were even sharing sex videos with hashtag #ZomatoExposed.

 

One thing to note in post-truth narratives which are built on social media is that most Twitter handles who actively trend the topic are always very unscrupulous, seen to have changed ideology multiple times, and almost all of them sleazy and sexual perverts.

Funnily enough, within hours of this blowing out of proportion, he changed his handle from Namo Sarkar to his proper name.

Some tweets on solidarity

Targeting halal food

 

My tweet on the Zomato issue was featured on the Quint Story, ‘Food Has No Religion’: Zomato to Customer Wanting Hindu Rider’