Saturday, March 26, 2016

Why am I politically neutral in my public social media posts & comments?

[This post is copy-pasted (on 26th March 2016 from a misc. blog of mine,
http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2016/03/why-am-i-politically-neutral-in-my.html.]

[This post is largely based on my part of a mail conversation.]

My first foray into blogger-activism was in the field of Indian Computer Science & Information Technology academic reform, http://eklavyasai.blogspot.in/ (started in Sept. 2011 after the Mahasamadhi chaos in the Sai university due to which I quit the Sai university in March 2012). In the course of time it became very clear to me that large part of Indian academia (barring elite institutions like IITs or IISc) was centrally managed and so very strongly influenced by the political leaders in power. Further, some top academic administrators were rumoured to have acquired their positions due to political influence rather than pure merit.

I wanted to avoid any political colouring of my Indian Computer Science & Information Technology academic reform activism blog. I had to write to the union Human Resource Development (HRD) minister(s) in charge of higher education (federal minister at Indian country level as against individual state level education ministers), and on occasion even to the Prime Minister, but I wrote to them in their capacities as union minister and prime minister respectively, without bringing in any content supportive or critical of any political party.

I also realized that if I publicly side with one political party even in my other blogs or social media platforms, it may affect my above activism efforts. Now, a few comments here and there are a different matter. But, especially during an election season, if I publicly commented supporting one party, I felt that it might get noted, and so come in the way of my activism efforts. Eventually my activism efforts in this area just petered out, with the blog now simply serving as a record of my thoughts, suggestions and efforts (over 21,000 views so far with top five countries by views being USA, India, Russia, Ukraine and France, in that order). So I don't think my politically neutral stance made any difference whatsoever in terms of results. However, it did make me feel comfortable when I was calling up the union education (HRD) minister's office or even mailing them.

As I later expanded my social media efforts into spirituality and religion territory which included coverage of Prime Minister's speeches touching upon spirituality and religion, I realized that it had become even more important for me to stay politically neutral. Some Hindu spiritual leaders are now viewed as being close to PM Modi and his party, the BJP, and so the Congress party and its allies view these spiritual leaders with suspicion, and are publicly critical of them!!!

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba rarely commented publicly in favour of or against any political party (though he would comment negatively about Indian politics in general). That, it seems to me, created an environment where Bhagavan and the Sathya Sai movement were (and still are) viewed positively by almost all political parties. This acceptability to various political parties was exemplified by the top political leaders of India from both the two main and strongly opposed to each other, national parties of India today (the Congress and the BJP), coming to Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi. L.K. Advani, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._K._Advani, and Narendra Modi, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narendra_Modi, two of the top leaders of the BJP came (now Narendra Modi is the sitting Prime Minister of India). So did then sitting Prime Minister from the Congress party, Dr. Manmohan Singh, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manmohan_Singh, as well as Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Congress president, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonia_Gandhi.

As now my main blogging activity is on spirituality & religion, I have decided to follow the path of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, by staying neutral in my public comments on political leaders & parties.

In my study of current USA presidential election I extended that neutral approach to the USA political leaders and political parties too.

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