In which trupz talks about lies, rumors, fake news and what you can do about it

, , ,

A famous quote goes, “A lie can travel around the world, while the truth is still wearing its shoes!” This quote has such major relevance in today’s time, especially when we have the means to share fake news or (mis)information so easily. If you are one of those people who believe that you never participate in spreading rumors, then you are absolutely wrong. All of us at some point in out lives have done this, may be not intentionally but we have. The fact remains that everyone spreads rumors, now whether it is some sizzling office gossip or a WhatsApp message for a sick child that says if you share the message some company will pay for the treatment, that can be situational!

Have you ever wondered how rumors spread? Rumors have some characteristics, that make them interesting and people get excited about them which why they spread so fast.

2 important characteristics of a rumor

1. A rumor should be informative:

A rumor is usually about something recent that people are interested in. so, if you are able to add more information to what is already true, you’ve just added that desired cherry on the cake.

2. A rumor cannot be verified

This is extremely important, because if the source of the rumor can be verified then point 1 automatically gets nullified. This makes it necessary for whatever (mis)information to have no source to trace it back to.

Now that we have these 2 points clear, lets look at why rumors spread?

4 reasons why rumors spread:

1. Uncertainty:

The explosion of information in the internet age, circular reporting, almost makes it impossible for people to know whether they know everything. Since people find the same information from all the common and well known sources, at times they are intentionally seeking an alternate view which satisfies their uncertainty.

2. Anxiety:

Uncertainty often leads to anxiety. Since we are looking for answers to come to us faster than the speed of light, there is a raging eagerness to know everything right now. People dont have the patience to wait for the right answer, they just need some answer now.

3. Negativity:

Have you ever heard of a positive rumor? A rumor that has been started for the benefit of people? I still haven’t found any such attempt. The intent of widespread of (mis)information or rumors is usually a negative one. They are used for sensationalism, creating a divide with a potential risk of playing with emotional psyche or sentiments of people often religiously motivated these days.

4. Sharing important (mis)information improves social status:

Lets not kid ourselves, we are all vying for those likes, retweets and comments on social media. However, at times we do fail to realize in that bargain of achieving social stardom, you are participating in falsehood of some kind. People do go to extreme length to achieve a social status.

As children, most of us have played the game of “Chinese whispers” and had a good laugh at the end of it. If you have to digest the above points more subtly then let me tell you spreading rumors is nothing different from playing Chinese whispers. Till the time this was all talk it seemed pretty harmless. People would talk behind others peoples backs and everything would seem quiet and hush-hush. The advent of the Internet and social media has now provided a means that now people can read, see and share everything they see and read. The rumor or (mis)information has escalated to the stature of “Fake news” and spreads like wildfire.

5 fake news messages I received on WhatsApp:

1. Indian national anthem declared the best in the world by UNESCO

TRUTH: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/unesco-india-national-anthem/

2. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared best PM by UNESCO (again)

TRUTH: https://www.hoaxorfact.com/politics/unesco-declared-modi-best-prime-minister.html

3. New notes of Rs. 2000/- have nano chips inside them which will enable tracking them!

TRUTH: https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/nope-rs-2000-note-does-not-have-a-gps-nano-chip-inside-it/

4. WhatsApp to start charging you money to send messages

TRUTH: https://faq.whatsapp.com/en/android/28030005/

5. Rare photograph of India Prime Minister as a sweeper

TRUTH: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/01/21/modi-photoshopped_n_9035576.html

These very popular but false WhatsApp forwards satisfy all the criteria that define a rumor as well the reasons why rumors spread. As long as these Chinese whispers were non verifiable it was fine, but the good part about the Internet is that there are now websites which help identify fake news. More mainstream news websites are joining in to contain the situation and inform the people that these are fake news, just Google any of the above 5 and you can see the result for yourself.

In India, in the last couple of years there have been incidents which were incited due to such rumors or fake news. People lost lives. Angry mobs of people took law and order in their hands. This is not good for any city. state or country. Fake news must be contained. People need to educate themselves and those around them. But the question remains, how do you spot fake news? Here is a very helpful infographic by IFLA that teaches some basic fundamentals of how you can verify news as true or fake

Source: https://www.ifla.org/

There are no dedicated sites for India that help identify fake news, so here’s a video by Dhruv Rathee that explains how to spot fake news in India

Few steps you can follow before sharing any message you received on social media

  1. Don’t believe everything on social media, Facebook and WhatsApp will not ask you to forward or share anything
  2. Just Google IT: There is sufficient evidence if the news is true or fake, you can tell mostly from the 1st page results if you search some of the key terms of the message.
  3. Check the source. Is the source creditable? If you have doubts simply don’t share or forward
  4. Is the news helpful or positive? Or will it cause more sensationalism? Is it playing on your emotions? This is upon your logical reasoning where you can decide what you do next
  5. Use social media responsibly: Evelyn Hall has said, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” It is not necessary for everyone to agree on a subject but it is important for everyone to be tolerant of others opinions, beliefs and sentiments.
  6. Educate yourselves and those around you about spreading, sharing anything without verifying the authenticity.

Do share if you have any more instances when you received fake news on email or WhatsApp in the comments.

Some popular websites that bust fake news worldwide:

  1. Hoax Slayer – https://hoax-slayer.com/
  2. Snopes: https://www.snopes.com/
  3. Hoax Fact: https://www.hoaxorfact.com
  4. Urban Legend: http://urbanlegendsonline.com/

In which Team India at Commonwealth Games

, ,

There has been enough written, enough read, enough said and more than enough shown about the Commonwealth Games to held in Delhi, October 2010. They have thrown out numbers that went into the brining to life of this mega event which has taken 7 years of planning and yet till 7 days before the games are to commence, tasks are incomplete, and every sense of IST – Indian Sluggish Time, things have been delayed. The media has raped the organisers to  their bare minimal, the social enthusiasts have linguified and coined various other abbreviated meaning for “CWG” – like “Corruption Wala Games” or “Crore Wala Games”, television and twitter timelines are widely spread covering incidents of stray dogs, poo in beds and beetel nut aided modern art all around the games vicinity. A record number of times Suresh Kalmadi, Olympic/ Organising Committe, Games Committee and 76,000 crores must have flashed across television channels. The Games which were touted to be India Shining contenders, in the last 2 months have been knighted as India Shaming winners. There probably is not another scam uncovered so vividly by the (morally correct, politically questioned) Indian media, like they have unraveled the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

But while all this is happening, buck is passed on, conspiracies are blamed on, where we question the ability of Indians to organise International events, there are those who in the wings go on with their tasks, continue with the practice, still pursue their dreams and hope to win medals and make their country proud;the Indian athletes and sports persons who will be representing India. Spend a few minutes to get to know them, see their faces because amongst all that we have seen on television this is something we may never find out. While there are those administrative authorities who were responsible to put up infrastructure to host games who are hogging all the limelight now, these are the people responsible for winning us accolades and medals. Under the debris of the colossal mess that CWG has turned up today, let us not forget these sporting men and women who will bear the Indian flag .

TEAM INDIA AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES,DELHI ’10

As a citizen, I am disappointed. I am disappointed at the manner in which media has dealt and portrayed the inconsistencies of the Commonwealth Games. I am disappointed at OC because of the slack job they have done. I am upset that our own athletes did not get the edge of using world class facilities long enough to prepare for the this meet. I am disappointed at the politicians who have made this whole issue a political one with the blame game and mud slinging that went on. I am disappointed that the PM could not do the necessary and get situation under control much earlier, and for the fact that members of his cabinet are under performers. I am disappointed that the mishap of the bridge cost lives and safety measures are taken for granted, when it comes to unskilled laborers. I am disappointed that we have given the world another opportunity to be critical of our country and I am disappointed that in the light of current events we fail to see the bigger picture.

In India we always complain about people in power not having foresight and doing things for the moment. So we laud the advertisements of TOI where road is dug, filled, dug up again that mocks the public administration. But when world class construction that will last us decades,  sports facilities of international standards that may sometime in the future nurture an Olympian for India are being built, we need to be patient. The benefits of all infrastructure that is being put up in place may not be a very obvious immediately, but we have to give up the habit of being over critical and hasty in forming opinions. I say give it a chance. I dont defend the errs that have happened, but I sure do hope that someone is taking a good stock of this and compiling an amendment of things not to do in some constitutional document.

I was surprised when seasoned news anchors ask questions like “Do you think the games will be successful?”. How can anyone predict an answer for that, what are the measures one considers to judge the success and failure? The village opened in time, and no dog poo or snake was found, and the caterers were able to serve International cuisine food to guests – will that make games successful, whether Rahman’s composition for Commonwealth  games is as good as “Waka Waka” or “Freedom” song of the Fifa World cup or the performances of Indian athletes? As citizens, we too are part of Team India. We cannot simply be bystanders and judges of whether the Games are successful or not, but we have to be actively involved and be responsible for shaping the guaranteed success. Events such as this also intend to bring the country together, to buck up the athletes and cheer them, but sadly what we are focusing on at the moment are on things that have already gone wrong and little can be done to mend them. We need to see beyond these shortfalls. What we can see now, are only grim pictures of an opportunity gone sour for India, but as a sports enthusiast I sincerely hope that these pictures are soon replaced by some glorious sporting moments and some record breaking feats by Indian athletes. These should be the real reason why the Commonwealth games 2010 are remembered, and they must lay a foundation for a huge leap ahead in Indian sports, and our efforts should be channeled in that direction.

Chak De India!!

** photographs are only of some members of the Indian squad at Commonwealth Games 2010, Will post a link to names of entire squad as soon as announced by authorities

In which Trupz decided to speak up and speak out

, , ,

This post was selected for Tangy Tuesday pick on BlogAdda

 

 

This post was selected for the Tangy Tuesday picks on Blogadda

A freak of incidence and I ended up taking the PMT bus from Warje to Pune station via Swargate (just like most other buses this one too had a number plate illegible to the naked eye). Loaded with 3 bags (my laptop sack, a purse and an extra cloth bag – more on why i was carrying so much in next Blawghh post) I climbed into the bus which was more brown than the “laal dabba” (red box) all thanks to the continuous rains.I had got in at the very first stop and was much disheartened to see almost all the bus full. Also given the Sunday afternoon I was sure the frequency of buses was poor and it didnt make sense to wait for the next one.

I spotted a lone empty seat, was just making my way towards it when an atrocious man who had no shame whatsoever, jostled and made way to it before me!!!! Forget about chauvinism, the dude didn’t even to say Sorry or for that matter give me a second look. Little did I know it was actually a Run for the Seat. I didn’t want to spoil my taste for the day after the awesome lunch and  kept mum.

I turned around and saw that there were 2 more seats “Reserved for Ladies” occupied by these dudes ( looks like Warje is a place filled up with “DUDES”). SO politely and as nicely as I could have asked i said to the 60 year old pair of dudes occupying the first seat.”Excuse me, this is a ladies seat” – yes of course I said this in Marathi, “ही लेडीस सीट आहे“, confused and out of sorts as if he had committed a sin, he apologized and said that he didn’t know, as he could not read and no one else bothered to tell him, he sat there with his partially hearing impaired friend. Now, this duo was carrying some huge parcels wrapped up in a cloth, we would usually call them “बोचकी“:colloquially. Considering the crowd in the bus already,these elderly and physically challenged  folk standing in the aisle would have been a worse inconvenience to everyone than me with the 3 bags.

So I asked them to sit tight, and cursing my bad luck I looked at my 2 victims (i reveal that these guys suffered exact 2 minutes later), and said, “”ही पण लेडीस सीट आहे“” (this is also a reserved seat for the ladies and push off really, i mean really cant you read, that is what my brain was ranting) – I got an extremely unconcerned look back from one and  the other pretended not to hear me at all. Just as i was about to repeat myself, another lady passenger came in and approached this same duo with same request as mine and received a similar response back. Now i was pissed, may be it was time to take off the Sunday attire and show these guys some real punch. You can almost imagine what followed for next 6 – 8 minutes was a verbal battle that was filled with language that was difficult to decipher for both dudes, with me and my partner in rhyme (lets call her lady in pink) lashing at them in English, cursing them down for having no Education and behaving like illiterates (come on they could not read ” for ladies ” – “महिलांसाठी”), having no decency to talk and behave with women and largely for citing examples of how they abuse/insult women everyday they travel in “शिटी” buses from their locality ( i.e they occupy such seats and apparently no “ladij pyassenger” has ever complained or raised a voice) and get away with it.

The tempo of this EPIC word fight reached its height, when for some reason, me dressed in jeans and a T-shirt was much an issue for this one goon, since he went to the extent of passing a lewd comment like “when you are dressed as a man, why are you asking for a ladies seat!!”

Now was the time for the Mumbaite in me to step out, and give this guy a piece of my mind. For those who know me well, and are well aware of my vocabulary skills in all three, English, Marathi and Mumbaiya, you can imagine the dialog; with me using up all of everything i know in the abuse department and creating some new ones during a very heated and one sided conversation. For those of you who don’t know me, tickle yourself,think what you would have done if in my shoes (especially if you have been there before). After about 3 minutes of verbal lashing (it would have been a physical one – with my right hand imprint on his cheek but thank god i was carrying the cloth bag with it) that included the mention of, brains, bones and teeth and lots of comparisons with poultry and farm animals, insects and birds, another slightly older man approached me and said , “बाई माणसान अस बोलू नाय!!” (it is not good for women folk to speak like this (loosely translated)), to which i politely asked him to Shut up, if he can’t help.

I yelled out at the other passengers for being by standers, and acting as though it was not their problem, how they like being extras in a movie, to the other women who sat in reserved seats(there are 5 such seats in every bus) for not supporting female passengers and informing other passengers to sit else where, to the conductor especially,as he kept printing tickets all this while at the far end of the bus – refusing to interfere and check out what the ruckus was. And mind you all this while the bus was halted. I demanded to see the conductor, and by now surprisingly a lot of other passengers (who suddenly found their lost b&||$ and sanity got up and asked the rioting goons to vacate the seat. The lady in pink, by now managed to drag the conductor forward and threatened to report him if those 2 goons were not thrown out immediately. There was a huge opposition from them but eventually the chaos and noise was alarming and the driver stepped in, he told the 2 goons to step out of the bus if they were not going to be quiet and as per the rules, only female passengers should occupy the seats in question, otherwise they can find themselves place in next bus for the same route which was right behind. I thanked god for sending in this driver because with all that high pitch screaming my larynx was about to burst. Much against their liking the duo stepped out, giving me the “LOOKS” and finally the bus moved.

This was about 5 hours ago and I am still not very proud of my actions, the aftershock of going through such a vociferous and stooping-down-zillion-levels-of-tolerance and conduct to duel with some random person is shuddering. The nerve on my forehead was ticking like a bomb and my heart was panting so loud that I could not hear the grinding sounds of the bus. Many questions came to my mind, as to why this situation came up, was I wrong anywhere? Was the guy who pushed me away to race for the seat correct? Was i incorrect at letting the elderly man take up the first seat, considering his age and baggage or was i wrong at taking on the second pair? Apart from learning a few new Marathi cuss words I realized what the mentality of some men folk is like, especially those who are “supposedly” illiterate (naturally they cant read) and devoid of any reason. A simple seat in the bus, common decency in addressing women and a basic civic sense was lacking in them. They had no fear of rules, of authority and if people (other passengers in the bus) would have remained oblivious to their actions they would have got away with their misbehavior. On top of this, there was this other DUDE, who was more concerned about my demeanor than that of the goons and expected that i should be quiet ??

I was not upset that I would have to stand with 3 bags to carry, their attitude towards Women in particular, the arrogance and the pride in being the way they were, ticked me off. In the end I did no wrong, I voiced against injustice, big or small, I made a point very clear that unlike many other “ladij” they encountered and oppressed, I refuse to be party to that. Whether by choice or force or by pressure LAW has to be enforced and RULES must be followed. I don’t know what lesson those goons took away from this, but out of some of the things i learnt, such parasites in society have to be outnumbered by the anti bodies like me: it is important to let people know you need their help, in my case the passengers heeded; may be in a small number but that is all I wanted!! That is all it took to scare off the goons. Sometimes people don’t have the courage to rebel for fear of being left alone, but once they know the numbers are growing and more people supporting, they will join in. Secondly the more you let someone get away with a miscreancy, the more you encourage it and increase the chances of them repeating it again So don’t be afraid to speak up and speak out.

A complaint was lodged by me against the conductor who did not step in and take necessary action, it is too shameful to quote here the reason for his abstinence.

In which trupz saysWalk On,Mumbai!

, ,

And if the darkness is to keep us apart And if the daylight feels like it’s a long way off And if your glass heart should crack And for a second you turn back Oh no, be strong Walk on, Walk on What you got, they can’t steal it No they can’t even feel it […]

In which trupz writes Father, let my country awake …

, ,

Where the mind is without fear and the head held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come out from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection; Where the clear stream of reason has not lost […]