The Unity of Indians Lies in the “Reviews” of Snapchat App

“Unity among the different races and the different religions of India is indispensable to the birth of national life.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

I was watching this viral video of some personnel of Indian Army being ‘harassed’ by Kashmiri youths. The youths were shouting and asking the personnel to say “Go Back India” repeatedly. It was not definitely a pleasant sight and I am strongly against such acts. Then, I watched another video where a Kashmiri youth was being tied in front of an army vehicle apparently to dissuade the ‘stone pelting’ youths from throwing stones against the army convoys. I really do not think this was a right action on the part of the army personnel despite the fact that stone pelting by youths in Kashmir remains a big problem faced by army personnel in the state.

I will not go into giving a judgement on the “Kashmir issue”. My purpose here is entirely different. What interests me here is how a society which seems to be greatly divided on religious lines (among others) is also asserting the pride of belonging to one country, i.e. India.

While I was watching the above two videos in YouTube, I scrolled down and read the comments. There, Hindus were writing strongly against Muslims (not particularly Kashmiri Muslims), and Muslims against Hindus. The words used were extreme and the sense of hatred against each other were clearly obvious in these comments. In most of the comments, Muslims denounced* India and Hindus accused Muslims of not being ‘enough’ Indians (whatever that may mean).


Then, I came across an interesting news of the CEO of Snapchat, Evan Thomas Spiegel’s “poor India” comment. I came to know that the rating of Snapchat iOS app has gone down to one star. Curious, I checked the android app of Snapchat (personally I don’t use it). There, I saw the reviews of the Snapchat app by “Indians” almost all of whom criticised the CEO of Snapchat, giving one star rating of the app. The reviews are from all Indians- Muslims and Hindus all included. I saw many Khans, Alis, Vermas, Patels, Agarwals, Pancholis, Sharmas, Nairs- all types of Indians belonging to all communities and religions writing in defence of India. All of them condemned the alleged comment made by Mr. Spiegel on India. All of them pointed out India’s rich culture and heritage, its ‘big heart’, and what “we Indians” have contributed to the world in various fields. The names of Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai are quoted by almost everyone as examples of how much India has talents. None of them hesitate to call themselves Indians. In fact, they are proud to be Indians. Wow!

What is interesting is that all of the events are happening at more or less the same time: the Kashmiri youths ‘harassing’ army personnel, a Kashmiri youth being tied in front of an army vehicle, and Mr. Spiegel’s “poor India” comment. Indians are writing comments/reviews on these issues which are happening at more or less the same time. The irony however is the simultaneous coexistence of so much division and full of unity.

What is so deeply dividing Indians who are ready to defend India when it is slightly hurt?

I should say that we Indians are essentially frailty. Our home is broken. We do not know how to repair it. Yet, we are fighting others when anything is said against us. This, I agree, is not wrong. However, while it is good to be united to defend our country, we should not remain divided within. The division and discrimination among us must end. Shouting Bharat Mata Ki Jai without never trying to understand Bharat Mata is really dangerous to the unity and integrity of India. India is a diverse country. If I am asked who is hurting the nation, its unity or simply who is anti-national, it is those who do not respect this diversity and whose actions are harming the harmonious coexistence of diverse communities in the country. We should not realise the importance of our unity only when we are hurt by anyone or anything from outside. That’s a pity.

Mr. Spiegel’s alleged “poor India” comment is a blessing in disguise. Well, I can afford an android phone only, so please check the Snapchat android app reviews. There you will find the unity of Indians.

*Denounce here means ‘criticise’ and that too of the government action. My use of this word does not intend to imply that Muslims are using any seditious word against India. Folks, my intentions are good here.

If History Can Be Of Any Lesson

The middle of the 8 A. D.

One of the most powerful and flourishing empires in the world in 8 A. D. was that of the Abbasid empire in Arab. It ruled for about 150 years. At its height, it included all the important centres of civilisation in the area- parts of North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Iran and Iraq. And, it was the greatest civilisation of that period.

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
― Joe Klaas

During the Abbasid empire, the Arabs boasted of having the wealthiest merchants, the most magnificent buildings, the splendid palaces, the most advanced centres of learning, the most progressed in scientific knowledge and so on. In fact, the Arabs were the best in everything in the world at that time. They established the gold dinar and the silver dirham which became the currency of trade in the world during the period. They were great geographers and made maps that advanced the knowledge of the world and about travelling across the open sea. There was growth in geometry, algebra, geography, astronomy, optics, chemistry, medicine and so on in the Arab world during this period.

While the Europe and most parts of the world including India were witnessing the period of the Dark Age, why was Arab excelled in everything creating a remarkably advanced civilisation of the time?

The answer lies in their openness. Yes, O P E N N E S S.

The Arabs displayed a remarkable capacity of assimilating the scientific knowledge and administrative skills of the ancient civilisations they had overrun. Their administrative workforce included non-Muslims, such as Christian and Jews, and also non-Arabs. Although the Abbasid caliphs were orthodox Muslims, they also opened wide the gate of learning from all quarters as long as it did not challenge the fundamental tenets of Islam. During the rule of al Mamun, he set up a House of Wisdom at Baghdad for translating into Arabic the learning from various civilisations- Greek, Byzantine, Egyptian, Iranian and Indian. Almost all the important scientific works of the various countries was thus available in Arabic. It soon became the leader in the field of science. Some of the best stocked libraries in the world, and the leading scientific laboratories were established in the Arab world during the period.

The most significant factor in the remarkable growth of Arab science and civilisation was it openness. The people from various countries could move freely and work or settle down anywhere they liked. The remarkable degree of intellectual and personal freedom enjoyed by scientists and scholars as well as the patronage extended to them greatly contributed to the kind of unparalleled civilisation that the Arabs witnessed.

This freedom, this openness was absent in Europe and we know what this absence caused the condition of Europe at that time. The historians call it the “Dark Age”. We also know that the growing orthodoxy which stifled the free thought caused the fall of the great Arab civilisation.

When we have already learnt the faultiness of curbing freedom and closing the doors, why is it that certain leaders of the world are relying on building walls and keeping people away? The advancement of knowledge lies in openness and in freedom. With our knowledge limited, we cannot move ahead. This is true of individuals as well as of societies.

We need freedom of all kinds. We need openness in all things. What is to be afraid of if all of us can respect the thoughts of one another? Only those who lack ideas or those who do not want others to have an equal voice must be afraid of freedom and openness. May be the world today is ruled by those who are afraid of openness and freedom. And, if this continues, we should prepare for what is coming to us.


Referred work: History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra (Orient Blackswan).