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Javed Akhtar gets trolled for typo in Girija Devi tribute even after apology; when will this inane trolling stop?

Javed Akhtar tweeted out a tribute on the demise of Thumri singer Girija Devi, with an 'autocorrect' typo, but the poet-lyricist was incessantly trolled even after he apologised. When will this culture of 'trolling just for the heck of it' really end?

Written by Soumya Mathew , Shruti Chakraborty | New Delhi |
October 26, 2017 2:27:36 pm
girija devi, girija devi death, who is girija devi, girija devi songs, girija devi singer, girija devi indian classical singer death, girija devi age, girija devi death cause, girija devi best songs, girija devi india, girija devi indian express, indian express news Girija Devi passes away: Javed Akhtar’s RIP tweet created a mild confusion on Twitter. (Source: File Photo)

In yet another example of how inane trolling on social media can take an unnecessary nasty turn, Javed Akhtar, noted lyricist, screenwriter and poet, was trolled for a misspelling in his heartfelt and emotional tribute to Hindustani musical doyen Girija Devi, who passed away at the age of 88 on Tuesday (October 24) after a cardiac arrest.

Girija Devi, who brought thumri from beyond the courts and kothas and was looked upon as a foundational figure of Banaras and Senia gharanas, passed away at the age of 88 on Tuesday (October 24) after a cardiac arrest. Condolences and tributes poured in on the Internet for the Indian classical music legend from people of the industry and those who love her music. People remembered the ‘Queen of Thumri’, referring to her as a ‘national treasure’ and how ‘an era has now come to an end’.

Joining the many who took to the micro-blogging site to share their memories of the Padma Vibhushan awardee and their condolences, Akhtar too shared his grief over the news of her demise. In what he later confessed was an honest autocorrect, he referred to the late singer as a “great classical sinner but a national treasurer”. And as has been the trend in the recent past, the trolls on the Internet wasted no time to point out what evidently was an honest mistake. This ‘nature’ of auto-trolling – often at the cost of sensitivity, much like in Akhtar’s case, given the fact that the tweet was one expressing condolences towards a virtuoso – has worryingly taken over the social media space.

From Twinkle Khanna, who was trolled for posing seated on a pile of books, to Arvind Kejriwal, who was schooled because of a typo error in his tweet earlier this year, there is an evident spurt in the number of Internet trolls waiting to pounce on well-known personalities – increasingly without much justification or even well-devised humour, and more often than not these comments are insensitive and even crass.

Take the case of Akhtar’s tweet. He had posted, “Girija Devi was not only a great classical sinner but a national treasurer . We are poorer with out her.” But then this was followed by an apology tweet once he realised his mistake: “My profuse apologies. While expressing my grief at the demise of the great Girija Devi autocorrect misspelled the word SINGER .Pls ignore it.”


But before the latter tweet could be sent out, Tweeple had already begun commenting.

Though Akhtar did respond to a couple of posts imploring them to be sensitive to the tenor of the tweet and let the typo pass, the comments rolled on, and eventually the tweets were deleted.

This is the most recent case of a kind of cyber-bullying. There have been other platforms where actors or actresses have shared photos, albeit slightly revealing or even as a photo-comment on body positivity, but those have elicited such harsh and crass trolling from people claiming to ‘uphold tradition’. But where does culture sensitivity go when those very people use the choicest of cuss words to target these celebrities. Back in January, Dangal girl Fatima Sana Shaikh was trolled for sharing photos of herself in a bikini that was actually part of a magazine shoot, Priyanka Chopra was lambasted for wearing a dress while meeting PM Narendra Modi in Berlin, and the list goes on.

In some cases, celebrities have shot back at their trolls, in some they’ve given in and in others they’ve just turned a blind eye. While the first at least shows some action taken, the latter two could further contribute to encouraging cyber-bullying. The social media tribe of people who think targeting celebrities would get them visibility seems to be increasing and that’s alarming, because not only does it bring so much unnecessary hate into the limelight, but also projects how one can get by being insensitive and crass without much repercussions.

A while back there was a social experiment done in which people would use the same language trolls use online on regular people on the streets or in cafés. Interestingly, someone or the other always stood up to the bully. If such language is unacceptable in real life, why then, do trolls manage to get away with it online? THAT is a question every Netizen liking/commenting/reacting/sharing any post should seriously think about.

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