9 December 2019 05:04 AM

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RASHMI OBEROI | 24 SEPTEMBER, 2014

Before You Hit That 'Forward Button...Check!!


There are days when you end up getting so many ‘forwards’ that you are forced to just click the delete button in annoyance and in one swift move get rid of a whole lot of trash. Well most forwards are as good as ‘garbage’ and some are even worse that shouldn’t even be given a few seconds of significance but unfortunately end up being given undue importance and this leads me to my point that needs immediate attention.

My sincere advice: Please check the contents of any message that you receive before you hit that ‘forward’ button and send it on to others. Earlier, ‘forward messages’ floating around were restricted to receiving them via email but now you get them via Smses... WhatsApp... Viber etc. I agree that social networking sites and services have their own charm and appeal and maybe even importance but with them also come a dark and scary world of sinister schemes leading to catastrophic and harmful effects.

I have read forwards that are so full of absolute gobbledygook...half-truths...wrongful facts and ramblings of a dull-witted brain. The worst are the ones that instil or stir-up communal hatred, anti-national feelings and religious tensions. They cause so much harm that at times is irreparable and uncontrollable. Emotions get triggered in a negative manner leading to sentiments of hostility and venomous attacks.

Recently my cousin was sent a forward on WhatsApp through a group that she is part of...all friends and known people...but the forward was anti-Muslim blatantly stating misleading facts and lies that obviously upset her no end. On questioning the person who had sent it as well as updating the group on the false facts being circulated, she was told sheepishly by the said individual that she had just forwarded it on without reading it! Honestly speaking, if you are going to do something as irresponsible as that, it doesn’t let you off the hook as you are in turn accountable for disseminating incorrect propaganda.

I have been sent forwards and messages and videos through family and friends just to enlighten me and point out on the kind of reckless and blasphemous material that is floating around. An educated and intelligent person may brush it off (though you may be surprised on how many actually don’t) and not pay heed but imagine the damage it would unleash and cause if it was to end up getting into the erroneous hands of wrong people.

This is exactly how issues get blown out of proportion and escalate into mammoth magnitudes that have no end in sight...such as those that are currently the ‘hot’ topics on inflaming communal tensions. For example like those that wrongfully portray all Hindus as hating other religions and being intolerant, the frenzy of ‘Love Jihad’, the paranoia that shows that all Muslims support terrorism and terror outfits and the forced Christian conversions to name a few.

I think each one of us is responsible to ensure that such propaganda does not escalate...that we work together as one towards communal harmony and do our bit in tackling negative issues at grass root level. It is certainly not an impossible task.

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