‘I’m a One-Man Har*mi,’ Says the Guy Who Runs ‘Humans of Hindutva’
(This article was first published on 14 September 2017. It has been republished in the light of Humans of Hindutva administrator’s decision to quit Facebook once again after allegedly receiving death threats.)
It began as a happy epoch – my relationship with Facebook. It was my life, I was spending all my time with it. Yet, six years later, there was nothing remarkable in the manner of its slow death – until Humans of Hindutva pulled me back from the edge.
My cursor was silently but surely dragging itself towards the “delete your account” button. But fortuitously, I took one last glance at my once-beloved. I clicked on the drop-down, and serendipitously, this popped up:
I pursed my lips, and clicked. Was I wavering? The name seemed out of place – Humans of Hindutva.
But the content wasn’t what I expected. After browsing a few posts, I laughed and decided to give my relationship with Facebook another chance.
I owed the reconciliation to HoH, so I decided to reach out and quiz the creators. Introducing the guy behind the viral Facebook page:
Q) Have you crossed paths with the REAL Hindutva guys?
A) Yes. This page was started as a direct result of heated exchanges with online trolls and nationalist friends.
Q) Why are you called the "Humans of Hindutva"?
Q) When you guys were banned, how did you give your creative energies vent?
Getting banned is part and parcel of running such a page. I wrote an open letter to Facebook explaining my position and they were nice enough to unblock me. However, of late they have limited my reach. I don’t mind because I do this for myself and for the few people who follow my page. Perhaps it was naïve of me to think that a corporation would take a stand with the individual rather than the government. There are several pages that openly make racist and sexist jokes but they have been given free rein by Facebook. I’m starting a satire website soon so that I’m not completely at the mercy of Facebook.
Q) If you were to interview a famous political personality, who would it be and why?
Q) Why aren't you guys on Twitter?
Q) You have a massive following on FB, but get trolled in the same breath, what keeps you going?
A) I don't think I have a massive following but it's nice to see it grow. As for the trolls, I feed off them. Hatred gives me energy. This page was started as a reaction to hatred and continues because of hatred. I would have quit a long time back but the hundreds of abusive messages I get in my inbox each day keep me going.
Q) Is there any person that you look up to for inspiration?
A) I have always had respect for Jon Stewart, the previous host of The Daily Show. He had a knack for getting his point across using humour. His comedic timing and delivery was impeccable and his convictions in his ideas shone through. I don’t think anyone has done political satire in the way he did.
Q) What's your next Facebook DP?
A) My DP shall always remain the same. I changed it to Bhagat Singh (Ajay Devgunnnn) for Independence Day and got several angry messages asking me to change it back to the sexy legs.
Q) India 2.0 is seamlessly transforming into India Offended. Do you consider yourself the country's voice of reason ?
If I’m the voice of reason then this country is truly messed up. I have no such delusions of grandeur. I simply put my spin on current events after going through the newspaper. Anyone can do it. Everyone should do it. Taking offense is easy but articulating your thoughts on a topic is a little more challenging. I like this challenge because it gives me an opportunity to be creative every day. When I started this I only wanted to make myself laugh by making silly jokes and pissing off a few people. I still make myself laugh by making silly jokes. The only thing that has changed is that now I’m pissing off a lot more people.
Q) How can someone become a part of your army?
Q) You page also comes across as an elite niche page. Your writing can only reach a certain section of our society. Have you considered an approach that reaches out to a wider audience?
A) This is a charge I find rather presumptuous. Yes, I write in English but does that make it elitist? Most of the popular right-wing pages on Facebook also put out content in English but somehow they don’t face this tag of elitism. I can only communicate in the language I am comfortable in. I love speaking and reading in Hindi but find it difficult to type in. I don’t mind reaching a specific audience because I’d rather have a dialogue with a niche audience that gets me then a large population that doesn’t. That’s the problem with India, people never let you do what you want to without making it about something else. Even if I were to start posting in Hindi, someone may argue that Hindi is not the only language and I should do it in their regional languages too. People need to realise that it is hard enough to write original content every day without translating it as well. I work alone and don’t have the infrastructure or time for it. However, I welcome my followers to translate my posts in their language and share it in their circle.
Q) Lastly, are you guys a group of people or a one-brain-army?
A) It’s just me and my smartphone. I’m a One-Man Har*mi. It makes me laugh when people keep referring to the HOH ‘team’ as if this is some underground collective run by a group of mysterious people. I only post two-three times a day when I find the time. I don’t know why people think this is run by a group when these ramblings clearly come from one juvenile brain.
Although the page has only been around for four months, it has made Facebook nay-sayers like me stick around a little bit longer. Watch this space for similar stories on the history behind viral Facebook pages.
Here’s the first one from the batch:
Yogi Adityanath, Anime Style: Meet the FB Page Making Hindu Memes