‘Use wisdom while using social media’- Asim Sarode

Women all over the country are increasingly falling prey to cyber violence and vulgar messages, which can be as damaging as physical abuse. In such cases the perpetrators are not limited by geographic or physical boundaries. Voicing concern over the fact that even educated people fall in the trap of processing messaging containing wrong and misleading information on the social media, noted human rights advocate and analyst Asim Sarode said that people are now becoming used to sending insensitive messages, a trend which started during the assembly and Lok Sabha elections. 

Are women soft target on the social media?
It has been observed that world over women have been the first victim of technological development or scientific advances. The pre-natal diagnostics techniques were invented to check the growth of the foetus but unfortunately it is used to check whether the foetus is that of a girl or a boy. Milenda Gates while talking about lesser participation of women in decision making process had raised a vital question as why condoms which can be used by women were not invented. Unfortunately all the inventions are made by men for men. Technical advancement allows morphing images, editing videos which are created to victimize women.
Trupti Desai got death threats, her fake images were circulated on social media.
Trupti Desai and her team are culturally progressive and their fight is against inequality and discrimination faced by women. Regarding those opposing the entry of women in the temple, the court has to underline the fact that their ideologies are wrong and that they have to accept what the law lays down. Women like Trupti Desai pose logical and rational questions before these people who oppose progressive thoughts and hence it gets difficult for them to answer the questions with logic and reason. So they become restless, violent and start issuing threats. Such threats do not pose danger only to these women but to the constitutional mandate and democratic values.
Is hate campaign being carried out against certain groups?
Indians always maintain status quo and they don’t bother to verify the given information and get carried away by rumours circulated over social media. Messages which bear religious sentiments are forwarded quickly. During Assembly and Lok Sabha elections Bharatiya Janata Party used social media aggressively wherein insensitive images were circulated and went viral on the social media. During these two months of election campaign, people got used to circulating social media messages which were inappropriate or in bad taste. It has now become difficult to get them to undo the habit which is now becoming a vice and an addiction.
Though social media is used by the educated, many circulate misleading/vulgar messages
It is a wrong notion that educated people are wise, but there is no link between wisdom and education. We have to change our belief system we often see educated people behaving in irrationally way, whereas uneducated people show wit. We have example of Saint Gadage Maharaj who had not received any formal education but was highly intelligent. We have to use wisdom while using social media. Educated people have information and knowledge which they consider educative. But real education is using information with wisdom.
Do you think ideological differences are not dealt in a healthy way?
Diversity is a powerful element here which keeps the country united. People have been residing amicably within this diversity for years. But it has been political need of political parties to diversify and polarise Indian society on caste and religion beliefs. As a result Indian society is becoming ideologically polarized. If people are stuck to the wrong notion and that too in the name of culture and religion, legal intervention becomes necessary.
We have seen examples of successful women being subjected to character assassination
The law regarding destruction of credibility is comic. The burden lies on you, to prove that your character is defamed; this law needs to be changed. Character assassination is the easiest thing to do, as character itself is fragile concept again in politics it is very wrong trend to defame each other and the general public enjoy it as a comedy show. This habit of enjoying such acts without raising valid questions makes it an accepted norm, from there the vicious circle of attacking character becomes practice. The process of character assassination has several layers in it. If it is a woman, she becomes as easy target, so is the case of minority, lower-caste person. Basic question is this kind of acceptance in the society and we need to exercise our right to dissent so that people who are engaged in such acts realise that Indians are mature and will not accept such things.
Children are worst victims on social media 
Children are falling victims to the inappropriate videos, messages on the social media. The solution is to speak up against such misuse and to report it to cyber cells. Also one has to restrain from forwarding messages in bad taste.
How do we handle this problem?
It is difficult to control virtual media. We should be aware and sensitive towards responsible use of social media. In the US and Europe guidelines are issued for the use of social media. Digital technologies are double-edged swords, so it should be used very cautiously. One can do good things and use it as medium of change at the same time it can be used as weapon of destruction. Police are creating awareness on this issue, there is need of behavioural change and change in the mindset of people that will prove useful. Social media can be used by abusers to deepen their control and by survivors of violence to connect to help. The most realistic and sustainable solution to the host of problems presented by misuse of social media is by empowering women and girls through knowledge, advocacy and sensitising boys and men.
Social media offers excellent platform for airing views/ideas
Some rich and powerful are trying to control the media but due to the advent of the social media people are have their own platform, where they have the power to express their views even at the international level. We are becoming global citizens by expanding our geographical limitations. People from deprived sections are using social media to voice their anger towards the establishment. They are expressing their ideas, hopes, dreams via this media. The government needs to be sensitive about it, take it positively. We have to strive to enlarge the positive use and constructive use of social media.
Are we sensitive and responsible enough to handle Freedom of expression?
We have constantly shown failure towards freedom of expression. People should exercise discipline while using this media. The way West Indies team was criticized, those comments had racial biases, such attitude is condemned at the international level and should be condemned here too. During the Harbhajan-Symonds spat, where the Australian player accused that Harbhaajan had called him ‘monkey’. At the international level the term ‘monkey’ is categorized as racial. Sachin Tendulkar who testified before the enquiry committee set up to check into this episode said that Harbhajan had said, ‘Maa ki..’. Now, ‘Maa ki’ is even more serious abuse, it goes against the mother and is gender insensitive.
What is the future of social/virtual media?
It is crucial that we use new inventions responsibly for the betterment of the society and not to destroy the cultural and open fabric of our society. It is each one’s responsibility to stop violence that is becoming virtual and ethereal but none the less is affecting the peace and harmony at individual and societal level.