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Kothabriksha – The Question – Sayandeep Paul

Kothabriksha – Sayandeep writes a very timely and relevant story for Kothabriksha, Sayandeep works with models and curves for a living; Data Analytics formally. He is interested in anime, movies and books and is eager to learn more.

Finally, they did it! After a long wait of around eight years or so, the Federation at last managed to formalize the fourth pillar of democracy – Social Media Opinions, Discussions and Justice. This was a long time coming and the countrymen welcomed the move like a warm winter hug. While the youth embraced the new reality with an air of normalcy, the elder generation reminisced about the earlier times; when the social platform was in its primal stages, rather unorganized.

Adhering to governmental mores, designations were assigned with due diligence. However, the Federation, being a paragon of modernity and simplicity as far as any government body was concerned, let go of the age old love for honorific titles barring only the necessary few. The designations ran as such – the faction of society whose views and opinions sided with the minority fraction (and arguably the erudite bunch) were the “Right” compared to the group whose ideology coincided with the majority, the “Unright”. Both the titles were further classified based on the area of expertise – someone dealing with a singular dimension (in terms of gender, race, caste, location etc.) was the “Minor” and somebody shedding tears for more than one (but strictly less than four) dimensions was the “Major”. Rare occasions arose when platform dwellers bothered themselves with more than four areas of issues; they belonged to the upper echelons of the Social Media hierarchy, the “Grand Major”. Such tidying up was the need of the hour – a Right Minor need not bother to ponder over (or God forbid dare to oppose) the opinions of an Unright Major. Likewise, an Unright Grand Major need not spend a modicum of thought on the musings of a Right Minor (or a Right Major for that matter). Ranking and social order was absolute, as it always should have been the case for any peaceful society to exist and thrive.

However, peace was short-lived and discrepancy was born in the form of Man; more specifically, a Right Grand Major who, one fine day, voiced his thoughts on a matter of religious bias which happened to be the majority’s stance. This was mayhem. Such insolence was not to be tolerated and yet, the Federation had no wish to inject intolerance into the system (‘intolerance’ as a concept had disappeared about half a century ago). The electronic media and press grew restless with the incessant coverage of the issue at hand; three board meetings had to be conducted before the Federation finally declared its plan of action – the incident was fundamentally unplanned and therefore, grossly unorganized. Yet, the Federation, being a flagbearer for inclusivity, allowed its existence and tweaked the ranking system to fit the circumstance. The Right Grand Major in question was to be given a new, independent rank of his own, which bore no linkages to either the Right or the Unright divisions in its entirety. He would be referred to as the “Semi-Right Grand Major”.

Peace and faith was restored in the system. Despite its foibles (which were few to begin with and people practically knew of none), the Federation was the caring parent for the countrymen. At times like these, people would be silently grateful for being born in such a blessed land. For that matter, no one could actually remember when or even how did the Federation come to be in its present state; it’s as if it had always been there, as a watchful protector. The usual progression of peaceful days was thwarted once again that year; only this time, it took the form of a civil insurrection. Apparently, it all started from a comment made by a Right Major (in her defense, the hoi polloi never possessed the intellect to understand her words let alone her intensions) which triggered a particular section of the city who then, resorted to violence and destruction of Federation’s public property as the only means of protest. The issue would be easily taken care of had it been just that – however, the part of the city under attack was inhabited by other people who took up arms against the attackers, turning a potentially temporary protest into a mid-scale riot. The daily functioning of life was in shambles and an immediate conference of the Social Media Jury, composed of the Right and Unright Grand Majors (along with the distinguished Semi-Right Grand Major of course) was arranged. The emergence of new age technology had aided virtual conferencing to an unprecedented scale and within a matter of minutes, real time pictures and videos of the riot were being shared from all ends of the screen. The Unrights opened the virtuo-political discourse by blaming the Rights for propagating social marginalization in the name of intellectual proficiency; the Rights retorted by labelling the argument facile at best and in turn, held the Federation accountable for not spending enough on mass education which subsequently lead them to misinterpret a seemingly harmless thought. Comments tainted with knowledge and bias flowed in and yet, no consensus could be reached as to the root cause of the issue or a possible solution thereof.  As time passed by, the mob on the street and the respected team of panelists on the screen both grew enraged. Amidst all the chaos, from a yet unnoticed corner of the black virtual platform, an inarticulate mumbling came from the Semi-Right Major’s system which roughly translated to “Why all the blood?”. “Why all the blood?” – was a question devoid of any pure logic, and consequently, took the panel by surprise. The Rights certainly didn’t find any fondness for such a question and the Unrights had no intention to worry their minds over anything the Rights wouldn’t dare to take up. Yet, it bothered them. It unsettled their perfectly organized strain of thought DNAs. The Federation’s only prudent course of action was to call off the conference and call it a day. That night, millions of people comfortably tucked under their blankets felt worried over the course of inaction by the Social Media Jury – the press had already disgorged the details of the session and for the first time in months, the Federation’s decision to incorporate a union of Right-Unright opinions seemed to be just not enough! What was the point of the Semi-Right advocate even? – never had people been so dumbfounded.

 It wasn’t until the next morning that things started to take its normal course. A formal apology from the Semi-Right Grand Major to the Federation duly mentioned that it was not in his wildest intentions to pose such a sudden and rather unnecessary question to the jury members, thereby jeopardizing the conference altogether. His network was acting up and while he was trying to fix it, his six-year old daughter had crept up from behind and seeing the screen, blurted out an abrupt remark. The matter was dropped off in the farthest corners of Federation’s records within minutes. The faith of millions was once again restored in the system.

Note: The short story is inspired by “The Trial” by Sławomir Mrożek.

Ft. Image source: https://www.livingconcord.com/event/public-policy-discussion-group-via-zoom/2020-05-15/

All rights reserved Kothabriksha 2020

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