“Where Is Your Gratitude?” Privileged India Scorns At Baba Ka Dhaba Owner

“Where Is Your Gratitude?” Privileged India Scorns At Baba Ka Dhaba Owner

THIS, RIGHT HERE, IS THE PROBLEM WITH INDIA.
People across social media forums are unabashedly misinterpreting reality and calling Baba ‘Ranu Mandal 2.0’ – a classist epithet that is supposed to be funny?!

It is so easy to victimise the deprived. You feel they should always stay indebted and obliged to serve your privileged existence, just because you ‘helped’ them. Philosophical implications aside, this exact attitude conflicts the very dictionary definition of ‘help’.

YouTuber Gaurav Wasan was accused by hundreds of misappropriating funds raised originally for Baba Ka Dhaba owner Kanta Prasad. This in turn led to the police complaint filed by the octogenarian. Whether the allegations are true or not comes later.

First of all, Gaurav posted a clarification video with Prasad vouching for his honesty and blessing him. Later, others might have gotten in touch with Prasad and informed about the entire amounts raised. Now, it is assumed that Prasad has little understanding of the banking system, tax complications or frauds for that matter.
So, tell us, if you were a person in Prasad’s place, hearing rumours of being misled and allegedly scammed by your “messiah”, would you stay quiet?

Prasad wearing a sunglass is being perceived as ‘swag’. The photograph has birthed hundreds of ‘harmless’ memes. But, if you are aware, recently a doctor performed free cataract surgery on both him and his wife. Hence the prescription black glasses. Not something he picked from a Ray-Ban outlet to show off his newfound affluence.

Prasad’s interview with ANI which is at the root of the controversy shows him merely stating a fact that he didn’t go to Gaurav seeking help, rather Gaurav came to him and things went unexpectedly viral from there. Even after considering Prasad’s ‘arrogance’ in daring to say something like this about his so-called saviour, still, how would that justify Gaurav allegedly misappropriating the funds raised for him originally?

I personally have faced a similar situation once, when one of my articles prompted netizens to immediately reach out to an elderly woman in Kolkata who had resorted to begging out of despair. Overwhelmed by her plight, the readers
started a fundraiser that collected a substantial amount for her. But, their empathy lasted as long as the article floated around social media. After a week or so, nobody was there for the harder parts – opening a bank account for her, verifying her Adhaar details, helping her sign the bank forms or just being there for her beyond selfies and hashtags. My family and friends personally supported her as long as possible, but let’s face the truth, none of our privileged selves is ready to take on the responsibility of supporting her forever. NGOs and old age homes declined.  In the end, her funds were exhausted, her situation plunged back to square one into her begging bowl.

If we starve for at least a day, before making fun of people like Prasad or his likes, we probably would think twice before launching a scathing attack on an elderly streetside stall owner, while siding with a smooth-talking YouTube celebrity.
Worst are the social media netizens who idolise and vilify a person at the same breath.
Yes, Baba may be flawed. He might as well be an arrogant, ungrateful fraud as you suggest. But, then, so is Gaurav. You cannot expect Baba to turn into a suave ‘gentleman’ acing the art of critical thinking overnight. If you are arguing that Baba’s is the first-ever video that led Gaurav into trouble, remember that this was also the first video that earned him momentous popularity. Who is right or wrong here comes later, but people with double standards are everything that’s wrong with India.

Photo Credits: Keralakaumudi

(Views expressed are the author’s own)

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