Dear Sonu Nigam, there’s a difference between voicing opinions and prescribing violence against women.

Sonu Nigam says hell leave Twitter to support singer Abhijeet were wondering when logic diedSonu Nigam (L), Abhijeet (R). Courtesy, PTI, file photo
Voices Opinion Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 13:18

Just a few weeks after the azaan loudspeaker controversy, singer Sonu Nigam has made it to the news again. This time, it’s for deleting his Twitter account in a show of solidarity to fellow singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya. The latter’s Twitter account was suspended by Twitter recently for a tweet which implied JNU student-activist Shehla Rashid was a sex worker.

Following this, Sonu Nigam wrote a series of 24 tweets (not kidding, 24 of them), ‘explained’ why he was going to leave Twitter because it only supported a “one-sided” narrative. Just to save you the trouble of going through the tweets, screenshots of which will be at the bottom of this story, here is a list of the points he makes:

1. The media is divided into “nationalists” and “cold blooded pseudos not ready to learn from the history of traitors”.

2. He has a “balanced approach” for which love pours from some quarters and “illogical” and “ruthless” profanities from others.

3. He also made a reference to Paresh Rawal’s tweet saying Arundhati Roy should be tied to the front of an army jeep as a human shield. Sonu questioned, if Arundhati has the right to her opinion, “other billion Indians have the right to feel let down” as well.

4. If Abhijeet’s account was suspended, Shehla’s allegation of BJP running a sex racket in various places was a provocation too. Her account should also have been suspended.

5. Everyone is angry on Twitter. And Twitter is like “porn, shown in theatres”.

6. Every “logical, sensible patriot and humanist” should leave Twitter. Like Sonu Nigam.

7. Sonu has no religion, doesn’t identify as left or right wing and respects everyone’s opinion.

8. He would probably not return to Twitter to clarify his points, but hey, “never say never!” And if there’s a newer platform with a “filter”, Sonu would be “owning it”.

9. Unprecedented marriage advice: You can apparently tell the psychology and class of a potential partner after a glance-through at their Twitter timelines.

Phew! That’s quite a lot to digest in one Twitter rant. And that’s just the summary.

Of course, taking a leaf out of Sonu’s book, he’s entitled to his opinion as well. But one can’t help but wonder how a person with a “balanced approach” and purportedly liberal outlook could automatically assume that the opposite of ‘nationalist’ is pseudo-something.

Then there’s the issue of Paresh Rawal’s tweet on Arundhati Roy. Where to begin? Well, to start off, the news itself that Arundhati Roy made anti-India or anti-army or anti-Kashmir remarks on a recent visit to Srinagar, was fake. 

The Wire’s detailed story chronicles here how Arundhati was targeted by a news site, which published the story with the headline “70 lakh Indian Army cannot defeat Azadi gang in Kashmir: Arundhati Roy gives statement to Pakistani newspaper!”

Many other fake news and 'nationalist' sites in India and Pakistan also ran similar stories. But the fundamental problem with all these stories according to The Wire was this – Arundhati hadn’t even visited Srinagar recently and apparently given no interviews where she said the words she was quoted as saying.

Now that that’s out of the way, dear Sonu Nigam, there’s a difference between voicing opinions and prescribing violence against women. It is a known and documented fact that when women voice unpopular opinions (or sometimes, anything at all), they are threatened with sexual and physical violence by some.

And again, drawing from Sonu’s tweets, when you feel “let down” by someone or disagree with them, it’s common courtesy to have a ‘balanced’ discussion and argue logically than prescribing violence.

The same logic applies for Abhijeet’s tweet on Shehla. Sure, her allegations were bound to make BJP supporters’ blood boil, so the logical comeback is implying that she’s a prostitute? Not to mention, it is immensely dismissive of sex workers as well, but that’s a whole other argument.

Finally, Sonu seems to reading a little too much Chetan Bhagat recently. Every ‘humanist’ should leave Twitter? Sure, because anyone who’s not ‘nationalist’ or ‘humanist’ is automatically an abomination to our Bharat mata.

Here’s a little favour to ask of you Mr Nigam. When you find a social media platform which caters to your ideal non-one-sided, balanced and patriotic narrative, do let us know. We’ll make sure to stay far, far away from it.

(Views expressed are personal opinions of the author.)

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