What Virat Kohli doesn't know about courage

Here's a challenge for the Indian skipper.

 |  5-minute read |   05-07-2018
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Last month, your wife Anushka Sharma was seen schooling a young man seated in a car parallel to hers about not throwing garbage on the street and you, driven by admiration for your wife's "courage", posted the video on social media.

You tweeted:

Your video obviously spread like forest fire across Twitter and Facebook, and even WhatsApp. Since the day I saw your video, I have not been able to understand what the word 'courage' means to you. I don't even know the intention of you recording your wife's heroics and putting it up on social media.

There are many people in the country who think they are doing a favour by performing a duty. I believe we as a society need to introspect what we have become, if we call 'giving the simplest piece of advice' to a stranger as courage and shoot a video of it.

I don't think this is the first time you would've seen someone throw a piece of plastic from a car. If your intention was to advise him, you could've been friendly instead of being bossy. I saw many people on Twitter and Instagram, who perceived your cleanliness drive as an attention seeking publicity stunt. You're one of the most popular cricketers in India and it would be naive to think that you need the attention of your fans.

But observing the recent trends in Indian media and Indian conglomerates, you by now must have got the attention of the most powerful man in the country. The same person you allowed to stand in between you and Anushka at your wedding reception and the person you tagged for a pointless fitness challenge.

Our minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju till now hasn't said a word on trolling faced by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Twitter but he was quick to come to your defence when you were being trolled.

I'm neither your fan nor do I watch cricket but I would have respected your decision if you would have used the word 'courage' when you had the chance of using your celebrity status to call out the farce of certain hashtag campaigns which were passed around as grand initiatives.

Everyone from Robert Di Nero to JK Rowling to Eminem to Angelina Jolie to Brad Pitt to Mark Ruffalo to Leonardo Di Caprio, in short, the entire Hollywood has voiced disapproval of Donald Trump's governments. Every day, protests are organised on the streets, messages of dissent are shared online, stories of those who have been turned away, or in any way mistreated by the new president have been used to rally support against him and no one is going to 'embrace' Donald Trump in Hollywood.

This is what courage is. Being a sportsperson, you must also know that the National Football League (NFL) is also opposing Trump. We have seen hundreds of people giving 'lectures' to meek people on Indian roads every day but courage is what Hollywood stars and NFL players are showing by standing up against injustice and authoritarianism. Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and Swara Bhaskar were victims of abusive trolling during the release of Veere Di Wedding but neither you nor your wife had the courage to come out in their support.

The culture of mob lynching has become the new normal in the country and it is has claimed many lives since 2014 but you haven't spoken up against it till now. I understand you're a cricketer and you have nothing to do with politics but not every cricketer invites the prime minister of a country in his wedding reception, tags him to take up a fitness challenge and applauds him for his 'Khelo India' initiative.

If you share such a good rapport with the prime minister that he wishes you on your birthday, you should've shown courage by asking him to unfollow trolls on Twitter, who abuse and issue rape threats to women on a daily basis. You had the chance of using your awesome star power in a meaningful way.

Anushka's video came around the same time Robert Di Nero delivered a speech against Donald Trump during the Tony Award ceremony.

So while Di Nero used his status to speak to power, you misuse it. In choosing to publicly insult a strange man and then congratulate yourselves on being aware, and your courage, you have made your indifference to the problems of the country even more strikingly exposed.

Politics aside, a person living in a luxurious apartment in Mumbai might not know that their home city is among the most polluted metros in the world.

Monsoons are here and Mumbai's civic woes are seeing the city crumble.

I urge you record an encouraging video of your wife lecturing Shiv Sena leaders and the municipal commissioner of Mumbai on how garbage dumps still are spread across the city with waste spilling out of them and how it is unhealthy for citizens. Please share the video on Twitter.

It needs a lot of courage to stand and speak against the one who is in power and holds the highest office. It would've taken courage to insult that man on social media but to be honest, your courage took the form of privilege.

If you or Anushka someday film or raise your voice against the issues mentioned in the piece, it would really be courageous.

Also read: Mere Frog ki Shaadi – Mantras for crops, marriages for rain, why does government seek divine 'solutions'?

Writer

Vivashwan Singh Vivashwan Singh @vivashwansingh

Author at The Wire, DailyO, The Quint, YKA, Tehelka and The Citizen.

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