One unfortunate result of this brilliant communication application called Whatsapp is that overzealous and people of a more religious mindset keep sending novenas, rosaries, prayers, deep cries for help from the depths of their hearts and sometimes messages that are deeply intolerant towards other religions. Sometimes, the last type of messages almost makes one believe they’re part of “ISIS Public Relations Group”. And this is not to single out any one religion; these types of messages come from across the board and are sometimes wrong on so many levels that sometimes an argument automatically erupts even though deep inside one knows that it’s like talking to a wall.
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Apart from the harmless prayers and the propagation of religion, the things that really are disturbing are messages that call for a radical shift to stop the perceived persecution of a particular religious group whose traditions (read: holidays) are being eliminated by the government in conjunction with fringe elements who wish to convert the nation into one religion.
There is a strong call to action in these messages that is almost frightening to someone who understands the kind of repercussions that can accompany these messages once they are kept bombarding to the general public. It creates the kind of schism that can lead to a deep seated hatred in the long run and as someone who lives in a city that’s already seen brutal religious violence in the past, it is horrifying to read these messages and makes one wonder at how things have gone so bad.
Messages informing of attacks on places of worship and forceful conversions take a turn towards absolute outrage that has been unseen in India before. Allegations on television debate shows are one thing and the active radicalization of those who wish to live in peace is another. It only goes to reinforce the fact that religions are always going to be violent, however peaceful they might appear on the outside. This is not a comment on entire groups but radical elements that fester inside and are reactive to even minor infractions by others.
These are no better than the terrorists who age open war upon society. In fact, they are even more dangerous because they wage their guerrilla warfare through communication techniques and so subtly that the recipient might not even realize the shift in their mindsets until it is too late and sometimes not even then. In the media, this is known as the ‘magic bullet’ or the ‘hypodermic needle’ theory where the masses are fed an idea without their realization or recollection of the same.
It is important to see through such messages for what they really are before forwarding it to other people so as not to ‘break the chain’ of “prayer” as mentioned therein. This will not only stop the spread of hatred coming from diseased minds but also ensure the peaceful coexistence that India claims to be so proud of.