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We are the mob and the mob is us: Apurva Asrani’s poem on lynchings is sharp and moving

A poem that touches the right chords and calls a spade a spade - that is exactly what Apurva Asrani’s poem on mob lynching does. Read it here.

bollywood Updated: Jul 28, 2017 20:09 IST
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mob lynching,Apurva Asrani,Shahid
Apurva Asrani is a film writer and editor.

Bollywood editor and writer Apurva Asrani, best known for his films with Hansal Mehta (Aligarh, Shahid), has written a poem on the mob culture. India has recently witnessed a host of public lynchings.

Asrani wrote the poem on his Facebook wall last week and it is being shared across the platform ever since. In the strongly worded poem, Asrani points out the lack of rationale in our current scenario with hashtags and click-baity headlines holding the sway.

Here is the entire text of the poem:

We are the mob and the mob is us.
Left-wing, right-wing or in the centre, what difference does it make?
Aren’t we all just looking for a fight, since we’re always right & the other fake?
Not thoughts or feelings, but trending hashtags tell us where to draw daggers, and how deep.
And before we hit the jugular, we are wowed by another trend, another bend, and we unflinchingly take the leap.

Dog thrown from a roof, child fallen in a well,
Valentine villains volley, kittens rescued from hell.
Perverted politicians exposed, potholes all the way,
#SelfieWithMamma is trending; smile, its mothers day.
Then there’s #climatechange #harassment #feminism and #gayrights.
Like bloodhounds we wait on standby,
For an invisible god to ‘trend’ the next fight.
140 character zombies, will then rise on two sides.

Each will uphold an idea of ‘truth’ that’s either black or it is white.
Their truth is ‘the’ truth, They have no time for nuance.
Craven web-warriors will turn lynch mobs,
dancing in a deathly digital trance.
‘Slam’, ‘demolish’, ‘destroy’;
headlines appear to provoke outrage.
Hypnotised by clever click-bait,
we are programmed to spew hate.
Often, a stray opinion will wander,
into this curfew of manufactured truth,
seeking no alliance with black nor white,
and with original thought to boot.
But contradictions will be silenced,
and trolled with damning labels.
And if it endures, persists and kicks back,
Of a new hashtag it may be found able.

The stray thought will then be co-opted,
A following of its own it will make.
And when it starts to believe its own legend,
fast fingers will claw at its facade.
After all, we are the mob and the mob is us.

Apurva was recently in news when he got into a row with Kangana Ranaut over the writing credits of Hansal Mehta’s next starring Kangana, Simran. While film writer-editor Apurva Asrani expressed his discomfort with Kangana getting credit for “additional story and dialogues”, Kangana claimed to have effectively written the entire film.

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First Published: Jul 26, 2017 17:28 IST