Why I’m Deactivating Twitter for a Week

The news of the slaughter of children in Pakistan has shocked us. I was in Bihar when the news broke, and was surrounded by people who were stunned into silence.

But now I take a look on Twitter and I see—is it just a handful of people, I know it can’t be that many—but my feed contains intolerable messages from some Indians that refuse to acknowledge the humanity of these victims.

I dared to look again, and I see other messages—messages of shock, horror, and solidarity coming from Indians on Twitter. These are the messages that will prevail. I think they already are.

I tweet about Hindi, Bhojpuri and Maithili literature, and I tweet almost exclusively in those languages. I love discussing Indian literature. Many Hindi speakers express to me their regret over the lack of attention payed to these traditions in India. But there is endless interest, respect, and love in India for literature, and also for the village song traditions that I study. I witness it every day when I speak with people online, and I have seen it every day during my past month in northeast Bihar, where I have been visiting and working with singers, poets, and novelists for the past ten years. I am inspired by these individuals, I learn from them, and I follow in their footsteps.

When some of those intolerable messages are addressed to me, when some of them come from people I interact with online, whose own love for literature and folklore has inspired me, I don’t know what to do. No. No I do not share these views just because I study Hindi. Someone told me that nothing I say will alter their views. They are right.

So I will say nothing. I’m shutting down my Twitter account for a week. I’m taking my lead from the magnificent @BlackGirlDanger. I know it’s not the same. And I’m barely standing in solidarity—how could I stand in solidarity with slaughtered children and their families? I just don’t know what else to do.

Someone else might want to prepare salutations for upcoming milestones in Hindi literature. Dharamvir Bharti was born on December 25. His Kanupriya and Andha Yug are incomparable. They will change your life. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born on the same day. Do read some of his poetry. It’s beautiful. Remember writer and revolutionary Yashpal on December 26. And on December 24th, read a few passages from Jainendra Kumar’s Tyagpatra.


6 responses to “Why I’m Deactivating Twitter for a Week

  • Nachiket Parashar (@Nachiket75)

    Will miss u sir. I enjoyed your tweets very much. Any kid killed anywhere in World is bad.

  • sumit

    I can totally understand. Sad but true. Most people whom you interacted with on twitter were fanatics and bigots. I knew it all along while going through your interactions. No need to be sad. World is full of bigotry. Love and support to you.

  • Dinesh Upadhyay (@dineshkupadhyay)

    श्रद्धेय श्रीमान इयान जी,
    मुझे नहीं लगता की कोई मानसिक रूप से स्वस्थ वक्ति इस प्रकार के जघन्य अपराध के समर्थन में तर्क देने का दुःसाहस कर सके गा, येसे कृत्य की कल्पना मात्र से रूह कांप उठती है, आप हृदय से सहज निस्क्षल और कोमल हैं, आप के भावाभीवक्ति का यह तरीका सचमुच सराहनीय है… ठीक हीं है सब्दों में संवेदना भरने की एक सीमा होती है परंतु ख़ामोशी असिमित और अनंत होती है।
    आज़ यह दर्द हर माता पिता महसूस कर रहा हैं चाहे वे किसी भी देश के हों किसी भी धर्म के हों या फिर कोई भी भाषा बोलते हों सब का दिल अपने नौनिहालों को स्कूल के लिए बस में बैठाने पर अनहोनी की आशंका से धड़क उठता है, आज़ कोई भी अपने आप को सुरक्षित महसूस नहीं कर पता, अब सायद समय आ गया है जब पूरी दुनियां को एक जुट हो कर इन असुरों को समाप्त करना पड़े गा, ये पूरी मानवता के लिए ख़तरा हैं …


  • Tarun Maini

    यह अज्ञातवास कब समाप्‍त हो रहा है पण्डित जी? मेरी गणना के अनुसार तो आपके एक हफ़्ते का समय पूर्ण हुवा. क्या ट्विटर जगत में पुनः प्रकट होने के लिये सही मुहूर्त का इन्तजार कर रहे हैं?

  • Kartikey

    Dear Ian,
    Any form of terrorism should be condemned irrespective of caste, creed and religions. Anyway hope you will be back to twitter soon.

  • नरपति चन्द्र पारीक

    नमस्कार ,इयान महोदय ! आपकी संवेदनशीलता सराहनीय है! क्रिस्मस की शुभकामनाएं !! ट्वीटर पर लौट आइये, हम सब प्रतीक्षारत हैं !

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