Home Columns Anantha Narayan Trolls on a roll

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    Three jokes exemplify the true nature of the Twitter troll: #YoKejriwalSoHonest that he got his 4GB memory card arrested when it got corrupt! #YoNamo SoFeku that he claims to have created a solar plant in Gujarat to power the sun! #YoRahulSoDumb that he’s asking why the missing plane MH370 has a Maharashtra number plate! Being mean, witty, obnoxious and acerbic, are trademark traits of trolls. They are judged not by the number of arguments they won but by the number of people they ridiculed and bullied with their barbs. Political parties of all hues have pressed an army of cyber warriors into service to max the electoral match on the internet.

    Which is why, there is a profusion of synonyms for Kejriwal on Twitter — from ‘Tragedywal’, ‘Dramewal’, ‘Khujliwal’, ‘Muffler Don’, ‘Paltu’, ‘Anarchist’ to ‘AK 47’. In contrast, Narendra Modi has fewer monikers. He’s sometimes called ‘Feku’ (Hindi for Mr Bombastic), ‘Maha Feku’, ‘Feku Express’ or ‘Bluff Master’. Rahul Gandhi is universally panned as ‘Buddhu’ and ‘Pappu’. Poor chap!

    Subramanian Swamy, the granddaddy of trolls, started the practice of running down rivals by spewing vitriol. Sonia Gandhi was the first recipient of Swamy’s unrequited love. At different points in time, she’s been vilified as ‘TDK’ (after Tadaka, a demoness), ‘Putana’ (another demoness) and ‘Vishkanya’ by the patron saint of insults.

    Taking Swamy’s cue, legions of trolls dished out slanderous nicknames to the ones they presumably hate. Barkha Dutt has been spoofed as ‘Burkha Dutt’ by the saffron chaddiwalas, Rahul Kanwal has been scoffed at as ‘Rahul Kamal’ by AAPtards who assume all journalists to be BJP stooges, Rajdeep Sardesai has been unfairly caricatured as Mr Chordesai and Chetan Bhagat as ‘Satan Bhagat’.

    The only way to keep pesky trolls off your timeline is to ‘report tweet’ when you find something objectionable. Some with a sense of humour and a thick hide merely hit back by trolling the trolls.

    -Anantha Narayan
    Sparred with trolls online? Share your war stories with (anantha@albertdali.com)

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