For whom the bells troll?

Updated: Mar 17, 2019, 07:33 IST | Rahul daCunha

They assume aliases, odd pseudonyms, pseudo-patriotic handles

For whom the bells troll?
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Rahul da CunhaAnd so, they come out of the sewers, dripping with nocturnal negativity, shadowy anonymity their strength, safe in their numbers, silhouetted, shrouded, invisible from identification. They assume aliases, odd pseudonyms, pseudo-patriotic handles.

Hired guns to raise hell: has-beens, have-nots, with humongous dead hours to fill, the hunger to be noticed, hate to spread, harmony to disrupt. These hyenas hunting in packs, desperate for a hashtag to their name, #hatehatehate, no ideology except to scavenge, heckle, hammer away at the weak, the wise, the opposite view.

Like all bullies, when stood up to, the disappearing act. Sadly, leaving destruction in their wake.

And, so, I ask: is it that they finally have a voice, and a vicious one at that and just required a platform? Or, do they represent a sentiment that's always existed? Which came first: the viciousness or the expression of it?

No debating, or healthy argument. Instead, just plain rudeness, rancid potshots, insults, insinuations, inscribing your initials in blood.

They are repressed feelings, sans a megaphone, a microphone, a mouthpiece? And now, because the atmosphere is so murky, it's okay to let fly, openly attack.

Because now, oh boy, every day is party time. Anyone is fair game: celebrities, cheerleaders, comics, creative people, corporations, conscience-keepers.

Oh man, the voyeuristic pleasure, I can criticise, say exactly what I want without risk of censure, and wow, perhaps even get paid for my efforts.

Your five minutes to defame.

And, so, every morning, who shall we attack, what shall we destroy, how do we nullify democracy, take a step further towards autocracy, a dictatorship, let's totally help create a totalitarian state? Deaden the creative voice, kill free speech, close it down, find soft targets. People who stand up to us, or scream back, let's pulverise, because we have numbers on our side.

We are judge, jury, executioner, all rolled into one.
But I ask: where were you when a gunman opened fire in a Christchurch mosque?
Is it because it happened in another nation?

Okay, closer home, why were you absent when the overbridge collapsed? Why aren't you spewing your venom at a system that continuously and consistently betrays its citizens?

What's the venom worth, if silence is your recourse when harsh words are truly needed? A system failing your fellow man is not worth some verbal grenades?

Could have been you walking down that rusty bridge, yes?

Often, a harmless joke, a jibe, jocular banter, a jingoistic call out, a journalistic stand, can result in such foul-mouthed rhetoric from you. But, how many more overbridges have to collapse because of under-the- table activity for us to hear from you? Or, was last Thursday your day off?

Or, are you so zapped that you zipped up? Words failed you. Or, is it that you just don't know who to destroy when the target is unclear? Like, who to train your guns at: the commissioner? The corporation? The construction company? The citadels of power?

Hate, for once, you were late.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at

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