Controversies reigned supreme in 2017, their ripples being felt across all social media platforms where some creative minds took the pains of demonstrating the meme-worthiness of these consuming controversies, thus ensuring that they entertain the masses by portraying the lighter side of these very serious issues! Contentious issues emanating from the field of Cricket to Bollywood to Politics, the 3 subjects Indians are most vocal and opinionated about, made for numerous prime time debates and made sure that sections of the media and the public were split into warring factions harboring differing views. These issues, supposedly of national importance were no less than trivial and blown out of proportion.
- Smog hits Delhi test
Delhiites had to beer with another bout of smog with the onset of winters in North India. Much like last year, politicians like Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, known for his statements which seek to project him as the man who’s been perpetually wronged by anyone and everyone, took the opportunity to engage in a political slugfest with his contemporaries in Punjab and Haryana. While the 3 CM’s were busy taking potshots at each other, the Sri Lankan Cricket Team happened to land into this mess when it came to Delhi for the 3rd and final test of their series against India. Unable to acclimatize to Delhi’s weather and looking out of sorts because of the smog which was hanging over the Feroz Shah Kotla, the visiting team came out to play wearing masks while their bowlers were seen vomiting on the field, disturbing visuals indeed! This however didn’t sit well with the Indian fans who dismissed the pollution problem in Delhi as ‘not that serious’ and accused the Sri Lankans of disrupting play with their antics, heckling them from the stands in Kotla as well as through their social media handles, all the while ignoring the fact that the toxicity of Delhi’s air is real!
- Rape threats to Gurmehar Kaur
Gurmehar Kaur, a student of Delhi University attracted the ire of politicians cutting across party lines during the clashes at Ramjas college in February this year with her #SaveDU campaign. To counter the same, an old video featuring her was raked up from the archives. The video has Kaur holding up a placard which reads, “Pakistan didn’t kill my father, war did!” While the message called for misinterpretation, some members of the ruling establishment including Union Minister of State for Home Affairs of India, Kiren Rijiju slammed Kaur’s flawed sense of nationalism while tweeting that the young girl’s mind was being polluted. Randeep Hooda and Virender Sehwag went about trolling Kaur who by now, traumatised by the rape threats and ceaseless media attention, withdrew her campaign and left Delhi for a meditation retreat.
This incident will perhaps be remembered as the greatest brain fade of all time for hundreds of people, under the ambit of an outfit going by the name of ‘Karni Sena,” took to the streets to protest the distortion of historical facts in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s historical drama, “Padmavati.” The release of the film was stalled because of accusations that the film portrayed a romantic relationship between Rani Padmavati of Chittor and the Muslim emperor, Alaudding Khilji. Seems like a fairly pedestrian stream of events considering that protests against films are common in India. The catch was, no one had seen the film! The accusations were purely based on hearsay!
- Public boycott of Snapchat.
In an alleged statement, the CEO of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel had remarked that his business could flourish without Indian customers and had gone on to call Indians ‘poor.’ As always, nationalistic instincts kicked in, leading to a severe backlash. The #UninstallSnapchat started trending on twitter and Indians responded to the call in a bid to punish the ‘foreigner’ for badmouthing Indians. The problem was that there had been verification whether Spiegel made such a comment. Soon after, Spiegel clarified that he made no such statement and Indians were left red-faced, the incident once again demonstrating our vulnerability to hearsay. Talk about being a rebel without a cause!
- Actors showing too much skin!
Finally, moral policing achieved new highs this year with bigots on social media calling out cricketers, Irfan Pathan and Mohammad Shami for letting their wives show too much skin. Priyanka Chopra wasn’t spared either for her decision to wear a knee-length dress while meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was equated with her having forgotten her cultural values.