Are we foolishly lapping up lies and misinformation on social media?
Here's a typical message once again doing the rounds, in the name of patriotism, after it was proved a hoax four years ago...
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Social media is a jungle with no rules and no restraint; it is the domain of the loudest and the most blatant. And gullible nuevo socialites lap up distortions and perpetuate misinformation in the name of being socially active.
Below is a typical social media message once again doing the rounds, even after it was proved a hoax four years ago... and the saddest part is that it was forwarded to me by someone who is otherwise sane and responsible; but in that person's defence, being removed from the land of birth has possibly shielded the quantum of untruth that has been unleashed on the motherland in the guise of misbegotten patriotism.
I am forwarding an interesting message received by me.....
"YOU COULD BE SHAMELESS, I AM NOT..!!!" Lines by Ratan Tata.
Few months after 26/11, Taj group of Hotels owned by TATAs launched their biggest tender ever for remodelling all their Hotels in India and abroad. Some of the companies who applied for that tender were also Pakistanis. To make their bid stronger, two big industrialists from Pakistan visited Bombay House (Head office of Tata) in Mumbai without an appointment to meet up with Ratan Tata since he was not giving them any prior appointment. They were made to sit at the reception of Bombay house and after a few hours a message was conveyed to them that Ratan Tata is busy and can not meet anyone without an appointment. Frustrated, these two Paki industrialists went to Delhi and thru their High Commission met up with a Minister. The minister Anand Sharma immediately called up Ratan Tata requesting him to meet up with the two Paki Industrialists and consider their tender "enthusiastically ". Ratan Tata replied..."you could be shameless, I am not" and put the phone down.
Few months later when Pakistani government placed an order of Tata Sumo's to be imported into Pakistan, Ratan Tata refused to ship a single vehicle to that country. This is the respect and love for motherland that Ratan Tata has. Something that our current Politicians should learn from. Hats off to you sir...Awake Country men, the Nation is above everything else.
Pl circulate if u approve Mr Ratan Tatas Behaviour
This is the message doing the rounds of social media, and a quick search on Google points to the genesis of this message being a post on Bharatautos.com in August 2012.
When the information about the Pakistani government wanting to buy Tata Sumos turned out to be a hoax, the website carried the following apology:
EDITOR – WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE ARTICLE POSTED EARLY-TODAY
Posted in News by Mohammed Asrar on August 8, 2012
We seriously apologize for the mistake and the error is regretted. Early-today we posted an article regarding ‘Tata motors had rejected Pakistan’s proposal for supplying 380 nos. Tata Sumo Grande for use of Pakistan police.‘ Actually the sources that we referred turned to be a fake news and only after Tata Motors contacted our team the truth was revealed.Would you have approved of Ratan Tata's behaviour, as alleged in the hoax message? (Photo credit: India Today)
Tata Motors too came out with a statement that was carried on the same website:
“The news is incorrect – the company has not received any such order, and the trade between India & Pakistan, automobiles are in the restricted list. Hence, the question of Pakistan having placed any order with Tata Motors for automobiles does not arise.”
Even otherwise, let us consider for a moment that the message was not a hoax and the information being given out was not blatantly false and mischievous. Would you approve of Ratan Tata's alleged behaviour?
I would not and I think even Tata and any other right thinking person would not. There is a difference between the private lives and actions of individuals and a state's overt or/and covert activities.
However much politicians and unthinking supporters of misplaced nationalism may spew venom - India and Pakistan are not enemy states. Officially, neither government has designated the other country as such, there exist diplomatic relations - albeit strained at times, there is some amount of restricted commerce that exists between the two nations, and most importantly the vast majority of the peoples involved do not want hostility. Every day there are nationals of either country visiting the other and there is enough evidence that people want peace.
Under the circumstances, drumming up nationalistic fervour through falsified information is akin to war-mongering and no mature society should be promoting the use of arms to settle scores.
The cost is unreasonable to both victor as well as the vanquished. There is no winning side in a war, for there is the pale of individual death and the end of dreams surrounding each of those individual deaths.
Getting back to the point of the false information - take a look at the Tata Group's presence in South Asia from information available on their own website.
Among the companies in the region, check the number of times Pakistan comes up:
- The Taj Group has properties in Maldives (Taj Exotica Resort & Spa and Vivanta by Taj - Coral Reef), Bhutan (Taj Tashi) and Sri Lanka (Vivanta by Taj - Bentota, Taj Samudra and The Gateway Hotel Airport Garden Colombo).
- Tata Communications has made strategic investments in Sri Lanka (Tata Communications Lanka) and Nepal (United Telecom).
- Tata Global Beverages operates in the region through its joint ventures Tetley ACI (Bangladesh) and Tetley Clover (Pakistan) and Estate Management Services, Sri Lanka.
- Tata Power has commissioned the 126 MW Dagachhu Hydro Project in Bhutan. The power generated is sold to India.
- Tata Motors markets its passenger and commercial vehicles in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan.
- Other companies with presence in the region include Tata Steel, Voltas, Rallis and Titan Company.
- Ramesh Mani, global head, metals trading division, Tata International (TIL) says: “We primarily serve the Indian sub-continent including India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. We also trade in sponge and pig iron and are a preferred partner for a lot of foundries and steel plants.”
- Tata Global Beverages is headquartered in Uxbridge, West London, UK. Outside India, it has plants and facilities in the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and South Africa.
Apart from this, there is also the Tata-owned Tata Daewoo:
Tata Daewoo is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Motors. The company was established in 2002 as Daewoo Commercial Vehicle Co Ltd, after it was spun off from parent Daewoo Motor Co Ltd. In 2004, it was acquired by Tata Motors. Tata Daewoo has CKD Projects in India and Pakistan. Tata Daewoo-Korea and Afzal Motors-Pakistan signed a technical assistance agreement on December 12, 2005, in Pakistan. The CKD Plant of Afzal Motors in Pakistan was inaugurated by (the) Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr Shaukat Aziz on January 8, 2007. Tata Daewoo and Afzal Motors are exporting Daewoo Trucks assembled in Pakistan to Middle East and Central Asian States.