How to Win the WhatsApp Wars

Here are some broad suggestions for those of you who might want to bring your friends and family back from Right Wing hateful propaganda hell. Please note that all of these may not work for everyone. But don't let that stop you from trying. And if you have managed to bring a family member out of the IT cell toxic propaganda bubble, do share your story also.

First. Reclaim your living room. Part of the reason behind where we are right now, is that we all exist in different information environments. You don't know what your parents are watching and reading while they are no part of your media consumption habits. Don't let them exist in the pool of toxicity that is much of the Hindi TV news universe. Change the channel to NDTV every once in a while and let it play as you eat dinner, even if they have left the table. Don't let your family pretend that other viewpoints do not exist.

Second, even if you don't engage with lunatic relatives on WhatsApp, do not allow those groups to become dominated by bigoted opinions. If you don't want to argue, just drop a link that counters their illogic and leave. If you don't do that, the propaganda goes unquestioned.

Third, in living room conversations, don't let discomfort stop you from calling out a blatant lie or support for a vile communal thing said by someone on TV. Don't hesitate to say things like "you should be ashamed" and "you are not welcome". Be firm in your disapproval.

Under no circumstances should you ever let anyone convince you that doing a certain thing, having a Muslim friend, or listening to a particular public intellectual is a thing worth hiding. Be you without fear and without shame.

The reason we frequently hear gutter level religious bigotry in our homes these days is because we remained silent when all this was rising. Time to take back our share of that conversational territory. Be heard, even if you don't "win".

You are not going to change anyone's mind in one day or over the course of a single conversation. We didn't get here in a moment and we won't get back in a hurry. Prepare to resist these subtle influences on a regular basis.