Columnist working for ‘blue tick Baniya’ Shekhar Gupta attacks Twitter for not giving blue ticks to Dalits
A hostile Dalit narrative is always prevalent over any other narrative and anyone who dissents it is branded a bigot or a casteist person.
Dalit activism has now gone digital as columnist working for ‘upper caste Baniya’ Shekhar Gupta’s venture The Print has taken on microblogging site Twitter for not verifying his twitter handle. The blue tick is now being referred to as ‘neeli janeu’ because ThePrint columnist Dilip Mondal thinks he deserves a blue tick but Twitter is casteist in not giving him one.
He called Manish Maheshwari, Twitter India head, a casteist bigot for being unfair to Dalits and not verifying his own Twitter handle. Essentially, Mandal, who is associated with Shekhar Gupta’s ThePrint, where Gupta is an upper caste Baniya by caste and has a verified Twitter account, has accused Twitter of being casteist for not giving him a blue tick.
He said that there are lakhs of Twitter accounts which are verified, but he does not know of even 100 intellectuals, writers or others from the SC-ST-OBC community who have been verified by Twitter.
Mandal relentlessly tried to trend the hashtag ‘casteisttwitter’ and ‘sackmanishmaheshwari’. Amusingly, in his crusade to get a verified account for self where he accused Twitter does not verify Dalit activists’ accounts, he got support from other verified accounts of Dalit activists, including Congress’ Dalit department.
He then questioned Twitter why isn’t Prakash Ambedkar, Babasaheb Ambedkar’s grandson and politician, doesn’t have his Twitter handle verified.
Aam Aadmi Party MLA Rajendra Pal Gautam also joined in the ‘activism’ against ‘casteist Twitter’. His account is also having a blue tick or as Mandal likes to call ‘neeli janeu’.
Later in the night, after a day-long activism demanding verified account, Mandal said that his fight is not for a blue tick, but the fact that Twitter has upper and lower caste divisions. Not having a verified profile is now described as caste discrimination on hands of Twitter.
He said that the ones with ‘neeli janeu (blue janeu)’ are the ones who tweet, and others retweet and say ‘wow, sir!’ which is not acceptable to him. Amusingly, the Dalit activists he quoted and thanked for support also have the blue tick and so do various politicians like Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, BSP chief Mayawati amongst others.
Mandal has now announced that on 4th November, the Bhim Army will protest outside Twitter office in Mumbai and lock it out.
While caste atrocities are real and an unfortunate reality even in 2019, this Twitter activism against Twitter itself is quite misplaced. In November last year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey during his visit to India had posed with a ‘Smash Brahminical Patriarchy‘ poster which had created quite a furore. While there are non-political Dalit activists who also have blue ticks, it is unfair to say that Dalit voices are suppressed on Twitter by not verifying their Twitter accounts. A hostile Dalit narrative is always prevalent over any other narrative and anyone who dissents it is branded a bigot or a casteist person.