Friday, October 30, 2020
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Instant opinion-makers owe a lot to India: CAA protests

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Sushant Sharma
Sushant Sharma works in the brand planning and strategy team for Leo Burnett Worldwide. He is an MBA from MICA (formerly, Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad). He was awarded the prestigious "top 100 young business leaders" award by CNBC TV18 and Dare2Compete. He writes research articles for Indian Management which is a management journal published by All India Management Association. https://www.linkedin.com/in/sushant-sharma-mica/

It was distressing and frightening to look at young-adults who took to streets totally deluded by the indoctrinated leftists in the modern day neoliberal India. In my humble opinion, we today as a country stand on the inflexion point; our generation is the one that is going to decide if we tomorrow become a Latin American socialist state or live our dream to become a superpower of its kind. A lot of scholarly talk happens on the demographic dividend which is an opportunity to grow due to rapid changes in the age structures of a country. This divided, would not come back to India after few centuries – maybe 200 to 300 years. Today, I am scared if the Instagram-rich youth is actually going to once again board the bus of socialism – the very mistake generation before them made as well.

Most of the content my friends consume are from leftist and high on creativity social websites such as Wire, Quint, and In-shorts. They face this tension within themselves that comes from the reality of not ever picking up a newspaper but yet wanting to be a part of the civil discourse. Leftist media comes as a solution to their tension; it gives them trimmed 10 second snackable videos from 60 minute long interviews while instantly helping them form to form an opinion. Who really cares to do fact checking these days? They enthusiastically take massive leaps of faith to form a conclusion.

What follows after that in parlance of psychology is called “belief bias”. It is the tendency to be influenced by one’s knowledge about the world in evaluating conclusions and to accept them as true because they are believable rather than because they are logically valid. And now they’re perfectly conditioned to become the torchbearers of the next Indian Bolshevik Revolution. They are supported by more digital natives who join the movement falling prey to a cognitive bias of “false – consensus effect “, which is an attributional bias whereby people tend to overestimate the extent to which their own beliefs and preferences are typical of others (i.e. others also think the same way they do).

I was other day talking to a friend of mine who was trying to convince that even the judiciary was wrong when they went ahead with not putting the stay on CAB. She labelled the every institution – including army as stooges of Modi. It was absolutely bizarre for someone like me who was left thinking that if we start questioning the sanctity of every institution in this country there would be a serious trust deficit which could lead to a complete collapse of idea of separation of power (trias politica) –  executive, judiciary and legislature. It scares the shit out of me when I see more young people sponsoring this point of view, seeking external validation from their Instagram tribe.

Personally, I feel Instagram is not a priority platform for BJP digital team. They must understand that Instagram is heavily used by the leftist media to condition Indian youth while pushing their larger agenda to revive socialism in India. It can be an extremely effective platform to reach to the educated people who are a little ahead on the technology adoption curve than people on other social-media platforms.

So should there be no criticism of the government ? I believe there is no other government in independent India that has so vocally welcomed criticism. Whatever brings improvement must warmly be received. “True Scholarship” can never say no to improvement. But when the criticism is extremely destructive – as in the case of CAA; then it becomes the obligation of the state machinery to diffuse misinformation. I was left impressed and extremely satisfied as more people who were earlier unaware about the nuances of the Act changed their teams to support the secular CAA. However, I continue to feel that a lot of them just might have boarded the wrong bus just like the generations before. I wish tomorrow they (who become moral gatekeepers of society) constructively criticise to make India live its dream – the Indian dream.

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Sushant Sharma
Sushant Sharma works in the brand planning and strategy team for Leo Burnett Worldwide. He is an MBA from MICA (formerly, Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad). He was awarded the prestigious "top 100 young business leaders" award by CNBC TV18 and Dare2Compete. He writes research articles for Indian Management which is a management journal published by All India Management Association. https://www.linkedin.com/in/sushant-sharma-mica/
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