Sonia Gandhi’s caricature in WhatsApp group claims a life. When did jokes become so lethal?

Posted on by Abhishek
 
  

How bad can a caricature be of your favourite political leader to get into a brawl? I mean, were not cartoons and jokes on political figures a part of our mainstream life? From RK Laxman’s common man to the current lot of cartoonists in leading newspapers, they have made a biting point with their cartoons.

But nobody has ever heard of fans fighting over any such cartoons. Not until today.

Caricature of Sonia Gandhi in WhatsApp group led to violent clash in MP.

Recently, a fight over an ‘objectionable’ caricature of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in a WhatsApp group turned into a violent street brawl in Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur city, leaving one Congress worker dead and five others injured.

A WhatsApp group led by Congress municipal councillor Jatin Raj and another by advocate Prashant Naik clashed on the streets of Jabalpur that resulted in the death of 33-year-old Congress worker Guddu Verma.

One group posted a photo in the WhatsApp group, which showed Sonia Gandhi doing the dishes, with a satirical caption saying ‘Modi ne kya bana diya’ (PM Narendra Modi has reduced Sonia to such a bad condition).

Like in a typical Hindi movie, the two groups gathered at Ahimsa Chowk (the irony is not lost) around midnight that quickly escalated into a violent fight, and the eventual death of a man. It’s difficult to understand why people would choose to fight over a caricature. They are harmless and meant to share a good laugh.

Amul posted this when Rahul Gandhi came back from his foreign vacation

The internet is full of such pictures. Known as trolls, if you key in any political leader’s name in a search bar, you will find hundreds such cartoons. The bigger the designation, the dirtier the trolls. Nobody has been spared from such internet jokes. Sonia Gandhi and ex-PM Manmohan Singh were trolled as a couple, with their faces morphed into all popular film actors.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is always at the receiving end of Internet trolls. His every action is made fun of. Another popular trolled personality is Rahul Gandhi. The politician is made the butt of jokes; kiddy TV serial Chhota Bheem and Rahul are synonyms in caricatures.

Sonia and Manmohan

Is this picture controversial enough to egg people to take up arms?

But all these jokes have never harmed anyone. Neither have the leaders objected to any such digs at them. They know that it’s a part of the political games that they play. If people start getting so sensitive about internet trolls, we will soon have mob fights breaking in every nook and corner in the street. Jokes are meant to tickle our funny bone, and it should be left at that.

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About the Author

Abhishek Dinman is an Indian journalist with over 12 years of practice in the media industry. Before setting up The Voice of Nation as a platform for unreserved expressions, he designed content for ESPN STAR Sports. Prior to his stint in sports writing, he was an investigative journalist for ZEE’s India’s Most Wanted’. In school and college, he edited the in-house newsletters. He focuses on social affairs and the dynamics and theory of how people receive and react to different forms of information on a variety of subjects. He loves exploring hidden beaches in South East Asia, counseling and spending time with recovering addicts. He spends most of his TV time on watching National Geographic and old episodes of ‘Friends’.