Emotional Extortion

From the past few days, pictures of Kashmiri children and women injured by rubber bullets fired by the army have been doing the rounds on the social media. It is natural to ask what are small children doing in the line of fire? What do they care about Kashmir’s azadi? They are children for God’s sake. It doesn’t require a genius to figure out the actual purpose of these photos- they are meant to evoke sympathy and bring in more and more supporters for the Kashmir’s movement for independence (heavily funded and guided by Pakistan). It is so obvious that certain people have vested interests in this movement but, the divisive politics they play is disturbingly ugly.

There is an underlying problem with Islamic religious gurus and their preaching too. Misquoting the Quran or quoting text that was temporally relevant, these leaders have managed to convince a large number of Muslims that they must pick up arms to defend their religion or at least become one with borderline extremist ideologies to show their support. Anyone who does not does so, is a weak link. Such ideas have led to even moderate Muslims slowly moving toward radicalization. Of course, their social alienation and poverty (in Indian context) doesn’t help either. But, it is worrisome how easy it is to divide people in religious groups.

This heartless emotional manipulation of humans is not restricted to Islam by any means. There are people roaming on streets- the con artists. They shamelessly lie about their poverty, pitiful conditions and what not, just so that you would give them some ‘alms’. They almost extort the money out of you by pinning a badge of a fake charity on your shirt pocket (thus ruining your shirt) and shoving their fake notebook with fake pledges of donation in your face.

There are NGOs which call people (one example is A Giggles Welfare Organization) and con them into donating money by describing a fictional dying baby shamelessly. (http://www.agwo.org/) Yes they have a website and everything.

These are the same people who do not feel any remorse for evoking sympathy among public for their own selfish reasons. Unfortunately, Islam is currently under the grip of such individuals and it may sound very un-secular and un-Indian thing to say, but yes, there is a problem.

This problem will only be solved when there are lesser people ready to die/ kill for their religion. Among Hindus, there are many who would be okay with open condemnation of regressive practices in their religion. Among Muslims, it is getting tougher and tougher to find progressive thought. I, of course, do not speak about the urban intelligentsia but the common masses. I am not apologetic when I refuse condone the radical actions of the Hindu Right Wing but the Islam counterpart of the same is extremely defensive or quiet.

This isn’t a problem with the religion but its followers. As I explained, such emotional extortion is a common crime irrespective of religion. We just need to stop falling for it. A part of this crime is also a cry for attention, a desperate attempt to stay relevant.

There are people on Whatsapp groups who post rumours of death, tragedies just so that others can pay attention to them. Others’ feelings hold little value to such people. Again these fall in the same category of psychopathic con artists. Will write on them some other time.

Until next time!

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