The article originally appeared on India Today.

Tim Berners-Lee and Vinton Cerf, the founding fathers of the Internet, have written to the US Congress to save the Internet from the disastrous consequences of a proposed repeal of a Barack Obama era law on net neutrality that ensured level playing field for all content and every sort of data by ensuring stiff regulations for the Internet service providers (ISPs).

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), under the Barack Obama presidency, had adopted the net neutrality rules in February 2015 and enacted it in a law in June that year. The law gave the US government sweeping power over the network providers to check the discriminatory practices with the content flowing through their channels.

Here, in India, we are going through the grinding of that process and thankfully, after over a year of consultation papers, public comments and meetings, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) last month decided to uphold the supremacy of net neutrality in India.

Now Ajit Pai, son of Indian immigrants and a Republican, who was made the FCC chief by US President Donald Trump in January 2017, is bringing a repeal proposal to that landmark law which is scheduled for voting on December 14.

But the reports that the proposed repeal plan is expected to be approved have worried the proponents of a free internet accessible for all, and the letter by the founding fathers of the Internet reflects that sentiment.

The letter addressed to the Democratic and Republican chairs that control the FCC says that “the FCC’s proposed order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology” terming the proposed Restoring Internet Freedom Order an imminent threat to the Internet, “The FCC’s rushed and technically incorrect proposed order to repeal net neutrality protections without any replacement is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create. It should be stopped.”

The letter has urged to US lawmakers to cancel the proposed vote. The open letter that is signed by 19 other internet pioneers including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Mozilla’s Mitchell Baker and Internet Achieves founder Brewster Kahle, alleges the FCC headed by Pai is acting in haste ignoring exerts’ comments, over 23 million pro net neutrality comments by public and against the established practice, has not held even a single public meeting to discuss its proposed repeal order.

The open letter also alleges that the FCC didn’t bother to investigate and explain to people the flaws of its online comment system “including bot-generated comments that impersonated Americans, including dead people, and an unexplained outage of the FCC’s on-line comment system that occurred at the very moment TV host John Oliver was encouraging Americans to submit comments to the system.”


We are the pioneers and technologists who created and now operate the Internet, and some of the innovators and business people who, like many others, depend on it for our livelihood. We are writing to respectfully urge you to call on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to cancel the December 14 vote on the FCC’s proposed Restoring Internet Freedom Order (WC Docket No. 17-108 ).

This proposed Order would repeal key network neutrality protections that prevent Internet access providers from blocking content, websites and applications, slowing or speeding up services or classes of service, and charging online services for access or fast lanes to Internet access providers’ customers. The proposed Order would also repeal oversight over other unreasonable discrimination and unreasonable practices, and over interconnection with last-mile Internet access providers. The proposed Order removes long-standing FCC oversight over Internet access providers without an adequate replacement to protect consumers, free markets and online innovation.

It is important to understand that the FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology. These flaws and inaccuracies were documented in detail in a 43-page-long joint comment signed by over 200 of the most prominent Internet pioneers and engineers and submitted to the FCC on July 17, 2017. Despite this comment, the FCC did not correct its misunderstandings, but instead premised the proposed Order on the very technical flaws the comment explained. The technically-incorrect proposed Order dismantles 15 years of targeted oversight from both Republican and Democratic FCC chairs, who understood the threats that Internet access providers could pose to open markets on the Internet.

The experts’ comment was not the only one the FCC ignored. Over 23 million comments have been submitted by a public that is clearly passionate about protecting the Internet. The FCC could not possibly have considered these adequately.

Indeed, breaking with established practice, the FCC has not held a single open public meeting to hear from citizens and experts about the proposed Order.

Furthermore, the FCC’s online comment system has been plagued by major problems that the FCC has not had time to investigate. These include bot-generated comments that impersonated Americans, including dead people, and an unexplained outage of the FCC’s on-line comment system that occurred at the very moment TV host John Oliver was encouraging Americans to submit comments to the system.

Compounding our concern, the FCC has failed to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests about these incidents and failed to provide information to a New York State Attorney General’s investigation of them. We therefore call on you to urge FCC Chairman Pai to cancel the FCC’s vote. The FCC’s rushed and technically incorrect proposed Order to abolish net neutrality protections without any replacement is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create. It should be stopped.


Frederick J. Baker, IETF Chair 1996-2001, ISOC Board Chair 2002-2006
Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman, Mozilla Foundation
Steven M. Bellovin, Internet pioneer, FTC Chief Technologist, 2012-2013
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web & professor, MIT
John Borthwick, CEO, Betaworks
Scott O. Bradner, Internet pioneer
Vinton G. Cerf, Internet pioneer
Stephen D. Crocker, Internet pioneer
Whitfield Diffie, inventor of public-key cryptography
David J. Farber, Internet pioneer, FCC Chief Technologist 1999-2000
Dewayne Hendricks, CEO Tetherless Access
Martin E. Hellman, Internet security pioneer
Brewster Kahle, Internet pioneer, founder, Internet Archive
Susan Landau, cybersecurity expert & professor, Tufts University
Theodor Holm Nelson, hypertext pioneer
David P. Reed, Internet pioneer
Jennifer Rexford, Chair of Computer Science, Princeton University
Ronald L. Rivest, co-inventor of RSA public-key encryption algorithm
Paul Vixie, Internet pioneer
Stephen Wolff, Internet pioneer
Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple Computer




After spate of incidents where people went live on Facebook to commit murder or suicide or posted videos of their acts on their timelines, Facebook has decided to make its content monitoring and review team stronger by 3000 more headcounts.

According to a Facebook post of its founder Mark Zuckerberg, that he uploaded today, Facebook is working on to better its reporting system on such videos so that timely action can be taken to reach out to the people in need and such posts can be taken down immediately.

Zuckerberg wrote, “Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen people hurting themselves and others on Facebook — either live or in video posted later. It’s heartbreaking, and I’ve been reflecting on how we can do better for our community.”

Zuckerberg writes that Facebook already has 4500 people in its community operations team that reviews the reports from around the world every week and 3000 more people will be hired to make the process faster and more efficient.

Zuckerberg also emphasizes on the need to work in tandem with local groups and law enforcement agencies and cites an example where someone was considering to commit suicide on Facebook Live but due to timely action and efficient coordination between Facebook and the local law enforcement agencies, that could be prevented.

Just last week, in a murder-suicide case, on Facebook Live, a Thai man killed his daughter by hanging and then committed suicide and the content was available on Facebook for 24 hours. Around the same time, on April 25, an Alabama man shot himself while on Facebook Live after breakup with his girlfriend. Last month, a man killed an elderly in Cleveland and shot its video on Facebook. In October 2016, a Turkish man shot himself to death while live of Facebook after breakup with his girlfriend.



The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is a bit modified and extended.

“The prospects of young people in the region are, now more than ever, jeopardized by poverty, economic stagnation, governance failure and exclusion, all compounded by the violence and fragility of the body politic.”

That, we can say is the central theme of the latest Arab Development Report (ADR 2016) released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently.

UNDP, so far, has released six ADRs and the themes of the reports say how the condition has worsened in region from 2002 to 2016. The first ADR, in 2002, was themed on opportunities, while the latest one, in 2016, raises tough questions on the very real possibility of yet another round of the Arab revolution or awakening, five years after the Arab Spring of 2011.


It seems so if we go by the findings of the latest ADR – “Arab Human Development Report 2016: Youth and the Prospects for Human Development in a Changing Reality”.

The 2011 Arab Spring was largely youth driven who were well connected through social media. They were staring at a blank when it came to future security. Five years later, the Arab unemployment rate remains abysmally low. At 30%, it is double the global average. Moreover, today’s youth are more educated and more connected but less employable. The discontent is brewing.

The ADR says, “Events in the region since 2011 have demonstrated the ability of young people to initiate action and catalyse change. They demonstrated young people’s awareness of the serious challenges to development posed by current conditions, and their ability to express the dissatisfaction of society as a whole with those conditions and its demands for change. These events also revealed the depth of the marginalisation that young people suffer and their inability to master the instruments of organised political action that could guarantee the peacefulness and sustainability of such change.”

The youth in the region are cursed to live in a region of despotic leaders that, with a population base of just 5% of the world, has seen 14% of the world’s terror. The corresponding data set is even worse. The Arab region has 57.5% of the world’s refugees and 47% of the world’s internally displaced. The region saw the world’s 68.5%% of battle related deaths from 1989 to 2014. The global average is 27.7%. Average military expenditure per capita of the region is over 65% of the global average. The report indicates rapidly increasing conflict zones in the region and says by 2050, 3 of 4 Arabs would be living in the high conflict zones.


Such abysmal figures tell of a bleak future, especially for its youth who have even fewer opportunities than 2011 and are now compartmentalized in different conflict zones and are therefore unable to move, the report says. And they are the largest chunk of the Arab population – two-thirds of them are below 30 years.

And they have nowhere to go. The report writes, “Young people’s awareness of their capabilities and rights collides with a reality that marginalises them and blocks their pathways to express their opinions, actively participate or earn a living. As a result, instead of being a massive potential for building the future, youth can become an overwhelming power for destruction.”

The report paints a worrying scenario, “Youth in the Arab region suffer to varying degrees as a result of the state of human development. Young people feel deeply anxious about their future and are gripped by an inherent sense of discrimination and exclusion. Many of them do not receive good education, find suitable employment, or have appropriate health care. Moreover, youth in Arab countries are insufficiently represented in public life, and have no meaningful say in shaping policies that influence their lives.”


When we see the youth voting rate, at 68.3%, it is lowest in the world. The global average is 87.4%. But it doesn’t mean that they are not participating in the sociopolitical processes. They are voting less but are protesting more. It means they don’t have faith in the existing governments. According to the report, over 18% of the Arab youths participated in protests in 2013, almost double of the global average of 10.8%.

What other options do they have? A region run by ruthless military rulers or monarchs that believes in spending more on arms and terrorism than human development, as the figures above say, was waiting for this to happen. All was well till easy oil money was there, as the state could co-opt the dissenting voices, while building palaces and businesses of those who roamed in the power corridors. It is well known that most outfits and jobs in the Arab countries are in the government sector. But now, as the oil prices are historically low and future looks grim on price revisions despites the oil producing block OPEC’s repeated attempts, that easy option is gone.

The report says, “The gains in human development rarely translated into gains in productivity and growth because the model trapped human capital in unproductive public sector jobs, while building up a pyramid of privilege that gave economic advantages to companies and individuals closely linked to decision makers and reinforcing structural alliances among political and economic elites so they could protect their own interests. Ultimately, the model supported individuals from cradle to grave, but bequeathed a negative legacy.”


The 2011 Arab Spring had swept the Arab world in the Middle East and North Africa but it remained far from achieving its desired end. It resulted in removal of four despotic rulers – in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen – ongoing civil wars in Syria, Yemen and Libya – and series of large scale protests in Bahrain, Algeria, Somalia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Morocco and many other Arab countries. Saudi Arabia, the largest oil producer which is ruled by a strict monarchy, also saw protests and its echoes are still felt with its continued purge of dissenting voices. In January this year, the country executed 47 people including Nimr al-Nimr, a Shiite Arab Spring voice.

Except Tunisia, nowhere we have seen a successful power transition towards a democratic process. Egypt had a democratically elected government of the Muslim Brotherhood but its fundamentalism pushed people again to protest and now the army is back in the controlling role. Libya and Yemen are dark patches of civil and faction wars. Syria has become the scourge of the modern times pushing the largest contingent of refugees across the world.

The revolution that had begun in 2011 is still half done – and the factors that led to the massive protests then – have become more painful now.



Mamata Banerjee is very active on Twitter (@MamataOfficial) and basically tweets in English and sometimes in Bangla. But she is using Hindi as well, and strategically, in order to reach a wider cross section of people on the demonetization issue which she is vehemently opposed to. A scroll down her Twitter feed will show that increasingly most of her tweets on demonetization are in both languages. She has tried to emerge as a central figure of the anti-demonetization front and her outburst began on Twitter only when she termed the Modi government decision ‘a financial chaos and disaster let loose on the common people of India’ after Narendra Modi finished his address to the nation announcing the decision that has kept India hooked since then.


Her Hindi tweets also indicate that she is now looking for a wider canvas politically, something that the ensuing chaos in the aftermath of the demonetization drive can give her. She has hit Delhi streets and has held meetings and parleys against demonetization since the Parliament’s winter session began on November 16.

Now that the opposition parties have decided to launch a pan-India anti-demonetization protest with ‘Aakrosh Diwas’ on November 28, they all will try to mobilize masses as much as possible and Mamata’s use of Hindi to reach out and appeal to people, along with her image and streets-smart style politics of ‘Ma-Mati-Manush (Mother-Motherland-People)’ will come in handy here. Demonetization pangs have affected people across the country and speaking in a language that reaches out to the maximum number of people is certainly a logical idea. Also, now that TMC is a national level political party, speaking and tweeting in Hindi makes sense when the heart of India’s political landscape, Uttar Pradesh, a Hindi speaking state, is going to polls in the next few months.



Facebook is reportedly working on a software that will sift the content hostile to the interests of the Chinese government in order to gain entry in the world’s largest base of active telecom and internet users. Facebook was blocked by China in 2009 for allegedly contributing to Xinxiang’s race riots.

China has around 700 million digital population, largest in the world – and Chinese internet companies like WeChat, Weibo and Baidu have grown manifold, aided by a protectionist Chinese government and by the absence of global internet giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter.

And it seems Mark Zuckerberg wants a share of that digital population to fuel his organization’s further growth even if it comes at the cost of the founding principle of Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg had written about information flow on Facebook in an open letter on September 8, 2006 that is available on Facebook. The open letter was basically about how apologetic Mark Zuckerberg felt after Facebook had a messy launch of its News Feed. The open letter was basically about the ‘free flow of information the Internet’.

Zuckerberg writes in the initial lines of his open letter, “When I made Facebook two years ago my goal was to help people understand what was going on in their world a little better. I wanted to create an environment where people could share whatever information they wanted, but also have control over whom they shared that information with. I think a lot of the success we’ve seen is because of these basic principles.”

Zuckerberg further writes in the letter about creating a group ‘Free Flow of Information on the Internet’ because this is what he believes in as he says. The open letter has hyperlinked text to redirect to the group but when the link is clicked it says “sorry, this content isn’t available right now.”

From that motto of ‘free flow of information on the internet’, Facebook is now reportedly developing tailored tools to serve propaganda of the autocratic regimes like China.

Facebook was founded in 2004. In 2006, it was still a small business with valuation around $500 million. But 10 years later, its market cap is now over $350 billion – in ivy league with companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google and Exxon. Industry analysts say Facebook’s profit has the potential to grow 32% annually for some next years and its market cap may touch $1 trillion. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is already among the wealthiest people in the world and that if it happens so it will make him the richest person on the planet.

That makes Facebook a pure business interest for Mark Zuckerberg and with that comes the pressure growth. And he is already facing the heat. The pressure to grow its market has effectively put a break on Mark Zuckerberg’s goal of ‘free flow of information on the internet’. The ‘unavailability’ of the group Mark writes about in his open letter can be seen as a testimony to that. There has been a flurry of cases around the world on how Facebook uses the data or it violates personal privacy norms. It has unsuccessfully tried introducing controversial platforms like Free Basics in India, essentially a marketing tie-up with some companies that provides free basic internet to the users but with selected content.


To maintain its hold as the primary and most preferred social networking site, Facebook has tried to increase its reach, acquiring new platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram and focusing on markets with enormous potential like China and India. Facebook’s mammoth acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014 was seen as a desperate attempt to maintain that lead.

Facebook is slowing down in its main market – America and Canada – that it counts as one – and it needs to expand. China and India are the world’s biggest telecom markets in terms active users. As Facebook India MD Umang Bedi puts it, and as Mark Zuckerberg says, India is the most critical and strategic market for Facebook. But there is a big catch. India may a be a future market for Facebook but its contribution in Facebook’s overall revenue at the moment is negligible. Facebook earns Rs. 630 per user in the US whereas in India, it is still less than Rs. 9 while the global average is around Rs. 270. That is a huge gap to fill.

Also, Facebook has set a norm for itself that how many ads it can show in its news feed and it will hit the threshold in 2017. So, it needs many more users and markets outside the US to fuel its miraculous growth story. And China can be the solution Zuckerberg will have in mind.

And he is trying to woo China like anything. He has had multiple visits to China. Though Facebook is blocked in China, he opened his sales office there in 2014. He has learned Mandarin. Like Narendra Modi, he has also met with the Chinese President Xi Jinping and has given those events ample publicity. Narendra Modi even visited Facebook headquarters during his US visit in September 2015 but that luck has not smiled on Facebook when it comes to Xi Jinping.



The article’s Hindi version appeared on iChowk.

Suddenly ‘Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai’ has started spilling its content from the margins of social media and has started trending on media and, therefore, is subsequently finding increasing number of takers. People and other platforms are writing about it and it is becoming a public sphere chatter. Demonetization jokes on these Facebook pages have given it an added shot.

And we should be worried about it. Its growing number of likes should not mislead us that it is becoming popular. Rather we should go by the version that it is getting more and more notoriety with each passing day. For me, it is vitriolic face of social media (and Facebook). Stories are emerging that how different avatars of this ‘Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai’ Facebook pages are creating embarrassing and harassing situations for girls with the same name. They are being targeted by social media trolls and for many of them it has gone beyond the limit to ignore it.

Facebook should take cognizance here and should block such pages immediately. But will Facebook do so – in a market like India where the government and its regulatory agencies either don’t notice such content or simply ignore them?

It is well established that many multinational corporations adopt double standards for developed and developing markets. Products of similar brands will have superior specifications in a developed market like America while it will have many shortcomings, even defying the standard benchmarking, when it comes to developing markets like India – whether it was the Coca Cola and Pepsi controversy where their products were found to high levels of pesticides or the recent case of Maggi ban for not following the norms. Such cases happen even if India is a big market for all these companies. Insensitive Double standards!

It seems this holds true for Facebook as well. Facebook’s second largest user base is India where its annual growth rate is faster than the US, its largest market (but stagnating) market, as well as than the global average. So, the whole game here is about adding more and more users. That is the hard currency for social media sites – users and traffic – and content like ‘Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai’ helps in that.

Even if it is in bad taste.

But it is the Facebook content only that is giving sleepless nights to Facebook founder and promoter Mark Zuckerberg who is busy clarifying to the whole America these days that the content on Facebook is genuine and even if some fake content is there, it is less than 1%.

According to a piece in the New York Times, 44% Americans get their daily dose of news through Facebook. That means a lot of traffic and (the eyeballs that come with it).

Now the allegations are being levelled against Facebook that many fake news reports were shared on Facebook that were, in turn, shared millions of times (reaching to millions of people/voters) and helped prepare an atmosphere in favour of Donald Trump, putting Hillary Clinton in a negative light.

There were fake reports like Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump or the FBI officer under cloud for leaking Hillary Clinton’s emails was found dead or Hollywood’s star and a respectable name Denzel Washington had praised Donald Trump. These all and many other such reports were totally fake but given the reach of Facebook, it would have certainly helped Donald Trump, even if Mark Zuckerberg is on a drive to rebut such claims.

So, on one side, there is America where the founder himself has to come forward to defend Facebook – whereas in India, its second largest market – where there is fake content, where there is unethical extensions like ‘Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai’, where there are fake and anonymous accounts – and where these are spreading fast – there is no one to take care of it – neither in Facebook – nor in our society.

On Monday (November 14), in the aftermath of the raging controversy in the US, Facebook decided to include ‘fake news’ in the banned category on its advertising platforms. But what about the fake content that lies scattered here and there on Facebook – waiting for its ‘Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai’ moment? Humour and satire are the essential parts of our social ecosystems but obscenity and tawdriness can never be accepted in their name.



Donald Trump has attributed social media as a ‘key element’ in his win. He said in CBS’ 60 Minutes, “The fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.,”, I think it helped me win all of these races where they’re spending much more money than I spent.”

When we see it in composite numbers, Republican Donald Trump is way ahead of Democrat Hillary Clinton. While writing this, Donald Trump, the US President Elect, has a combined Facebook-Twitter-Instagram following of 33.7 million that is a huge 9.5 million more than Hillary Clinton’s. Following is the split of their followers base for these three social media platforms.

Donald Trump
Facebook: 14.7 M
Twitter: 15.1 M
Instagram: 3.9 M

Hillary Clinton
Facebook: 9.5 M
Twitter: 11.1 M
Instagram: 3.6 M

These figures say Donald Trump is significantly ahead of Hillary Clinton in terms of Facebook and Twitter followers – two of the three most talked about social media platforms that along with YouTube help shaping public opinion on issues – like we saw in the case of the Arab Spring – a multi-country revolution in the beginning of this decade that is attributed to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. He is having a slight edge even on Instagram, the junior brethren of these two.

And when Donald Trump says that ‘he thinks that social media has more power than the money they (Hillary’s campaign) spent’, he makes a perfect sense.

America is a connected country with firsts in telecom and internet revolutions. According to Statistica, the US has around 190 million Facebook users, 67 million Twitter users and 67 million Instagram users. That means a lot in a developed society of 320 million residents.

So even if Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is busy clarifying that the Facebook content is authentic and just less than 1% of it can be termed fake and he is terming the ‘criticism of Facebook for spreading fake news’ as crazy, we have reasons to believe when Donald Trump says social media helped him win or when Hillary Clinton blames FBI director James Comey for her defeat who reopened the Hillary’s role into the classified emails probe days before the polls, on October 28.

Okay, Hillary doesn’t say anything about social media here. But it is social media only that can shape opinion so rapidly – in a week – something that has potential to decide the electoral outcomes – at least in a connected society like the US – in a society where even many Democrats and states/regions who had voted for Barack Obama in the previous two polls, went on to vote Donald Trump – in a society that stands bitterly divided after Donald Trump’s victory – a fact that also tells us that there are very limited chances of some surge or drop in the followers base of Trump or Hillary post the election result.

Just to sum up, a February 2013 observation by Adweek says, “Social media takes up a lot of time, and internet users are happy to get stuck in. This leads to the use of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter becoming second-nature, forming habits that influence their lives, both on and offline.”

When it was so four years ago, imagine it now – when social media platforms have made rapid strides including new platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat – that are taking the world by storm.



Selling Twitter makes business sense for its promoters. The San Francisco based company was formed in March 2006 and went public in November 2013. But Twitter is yet to make profit. According to a Reuters report, the total accumulated loss of the company since its inception comes around $ 2.3 billion and Twitter has not showed any profit since it went public.

But Twitter is just not any other social media or information technology Company. It has become a powerhouse of news, views and information. Any big news is usually broken on Twitter first, be it Osama bin Laden’s death or Prince William’s engagement or many other such developments. Even back home in India, the whole nation was waiting for Nawaz Sharif’s UNGA diatribe and India’s first official response on it came through Twitter only. Narendra Modi had announced his sudden Lahore stopover on Twitter only. There are countless such examples – India or elsewhere.

The another aspect of Twitter that is goldmine of news and views is that people, especially those who matter, tell their anger, frustration, irritation, joy, happiness, sorrow and what not through Twitter. Sometimes a controversial tweet becomes the biggest trending news of the day. Sometimes a tweet becomes the most direct message to tell your problems and grievances that potentially reach across the spectrum.

In that sense, Twitter has become more like a mainstream media outfit – with the obvious benefits of social media – there are no restrictions, no gatekeeping, no censorship – and these are really free. Yes, there are exceptions and government poaching but then where aren’t they? The good thing about Twitter is that it has fought such censorship attempts vehemently.

If we see Twitter sale in that context – the natural question that comes to us is – “would Twitter remain the same, old, free Twitter after it is sold to some big behemoth with multiple business interests across the countries?”

Don’t we know how big businesses lobby with governments and do compromises to keep their operations growing?



To humanity’s great joy, Mother Teresa is now officially declared as Saint by Pope Francis in the ongoing Canonization Mass today at the Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican City. Although Canonization is a religious process and most of the canonized saints, over 600 in the last 50 years, were priests, when the Vatican finds someone like Mother Teresa, one of the biggest crusaders of the humanity, the whole process, even if it is religious in nature and belongs to one particular community, becomes a moment the whole words watches; becomes a development that people of all faiths across different communities await. The twitter trends of different counties once again reaffirmed our faith it.

Mother Teresa Twitter Collage3

As expected, Mother Teresa trending on top on Twitter India page. It was only natural that Twitter trends of Kolkata were on the same line.

In the Christian nations, she was on top or in top 10 in many countries. Italy, USA, UK, Mexico and Brazil were the big Christian countries where Mother Teresa prominently figured in people’s opinions though some other major Christian countries like France or Germany that I checked were not showing her in the top 10 trends. Italy, the Vatican’s backyard was obviously painted with Mother Teresa at top. In the US, she was trending at number 2, in Mexico at number 5, in Britain at number 6 and in Brazil at number 8.

Mother Teresa Twitter Collage1

What was heartening to see that she was trending even on the Twitter Trends of some of the Muslim countries. She was at number 2 in Lebanon trends, at number 4 in United Arab Emirates, at number 6 in Malaysia and at number 10 in Nigeria. She was in top 10 in Indonesia trends though I could not take the screenshot.

Mother Teresa Twitter Collage2



An assistant professor of the Delhi University, who is also a former student of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, has come out with an open letter addressed to Kanhaiya Kumar, the arrested and out on bail JNU Students Union president, slamming him for his recent ‘reincarnation’ and his ‘for women’ views expressed on the International Women’s Day terming him a ‘false revolutionary’ and misogynist.

And after reading her letter you can feel why she is so outraged – that why she cannot be dismissed.

And the way her Facebook posts with her complaint letters and this letter by the JNU proctor finding Kanhaiya Kumar guilty of the offence, using harsh words against him, and imposing fine on him, have gone viral is emblematic of a trend that is witness to the rise of the social media and how the mainstream media picks threads from it.

This trend picked out Kanhaiya Kumar from obscurity to put him into the nation’s conscience in a matter of few weeks only. And social media, well, can be his rapid undoing if he doesn’t read the path cautiously now.

Because anything and everything related to Kanhaiya Kumar and JNU is under intense scrutiny now and it is just the matter of days when something hostile will go viral like this revelation by a former JNU student has gone. She had written her first post on Kanhaiya Kumar on February 16, attaching hand-written copies of her complaint, but obviously no one took note of it. Also, the nation’s sentiment was more or less with Kanhaiya Kumar and JNU then.

She wrote her open letter on March 3, in the morning and Kanhaiya Kumar was released on bail later in the evening. He delivered a terrific speech that night in JNU that he termed was accumulation of his experiences in the jail. And so how could’ve anyone noticed this open letter then and there, even if it was very pertinent?

But after this, Kanhaiya Kumar started derailing, like an immature student, devoid of pensive thoughts (though still with difficult words). And so, anti-Kanhaiya Kumar images (and words) started finding inroads – with people now open to listening to the other side of the story.

And when she posted yesterday an unsigned version of this letter from October 2015 – letter that castigated Kanhaiya Kumar finding him guilty of obscene behaviour with a female student – it picked up threads – and went viral today when she posted the signed version of this letter.


This is the classic way the social media works – doing and undoing – making and derailing.

Let’s see how this big revelation, that is clearly anti-Kanhaiya Kumar, further muddies the waters. Any attempt to stonewall it or confront it with verbal bravado will only help those who openly opine against JNU.

And for us, the common folks, the loss of another promising leader – it is nothing new – especially after the Aam Aadmi Party experience in Delhi.

Here is the Facebook link of that assistant professor from DU and that former student from JNU.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –