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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Big B, Khans ahead of Narendra Modi on Twitter: Bollywood beats cricket stars in list of Indian celebrities with most followers; Sachin Tendulkar left far behind

Who is the most popular Indian on Twitter? Big B, Amitabh Bachchan, has 13.2 million followers.

Bachchan was active on Twitter long before other celebrities took to it.

Second is Shahrukh Khan, the Badshah of Bollywood, with over 11.4 million or 1.14 crore people following him on this micro-blogging site.

Surprisingly, Aamir Khan comes after him with 11.2 million or 1.12 crore people following him. 'Dabangg' Salman Khan is fourth with 10.6 million or 1.06 crore people following him.

But PM Narendra Modi is giving them a tough competition. The Prime Minister of India has over 10 million followers (10.1) too, and this makes him a rare politician in Asia with such a huge number of followers on this social media platform.

Modi has more than 0.1 million followers now. The difference of one digit may seem less but there is still a difference of 3 million or 30 lakh with Big B and over 1 million or 10-14 lakh followers between him and King Khan.

In fact, earlier it was reported that Modi was second only to Barack Obama among politicians in terms of popularity on Twitter. India's huge population is definitely an asset for its movie personalities as well as its politicians.

Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra are also knocking at the door of the crore-pati [10 million followers] club on Twitter. Deepika has 9.5 lakh followers while Priyanka Chopra has 8.79 lakh. Then comes Hrithik Roshan [8.5 lakh]. Akshay Kumar is also in the line with 7.5 lakh people following him.

Tendulkar is not a crore-pati on Twitter yet: Bollywood beats God of Indian cricket

The general perception is that two things Indians love most is Bollywood and Cricket. But here, cricket seems to be lagging. The 'God' of Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar has 5.07 million or over 50 lakh followers. Not a crore-pati on Twitter yet. Even Karan Johar has more followers that him. 

The exception is Virat Kohli, who has quickly reached 5.5 million. Given his popularity and that he is in full flow, he is likely to give a tough competition to other celebrities on the social media site.

Dhoni has 3.5 million or 35 lakh followers. My hero of yesteryear Sunil Gavaskar has less than 50,000 followers. Can there be anything more saddening? We all know that on Twitter, many inactive tweeple follow their celebrities, even if the latter rarely tweet.

But given the huge difference in following, it seems, cricket maniacs are less in number now. The movie stars are far ahead. Among politicians, once, Shashi Tharoor, was far ahead in popularity. But now, he is far behind, with 2.78 million or 27.8 lakh followers. Digvijaya Singh is close with over 25 lakh followers.

Twitter: The handles of these celebrities are mentioned below

List of the TOP TEN Indians on TWITTER

Celebrities               Twitter handle                          Number of followers

Amitabh Bachchan @SrBachchan                                        13.2 million  [1.32 crore]
Shahrukh Khan       @iamsrk                                                11.4 million  [1.14 crore]
Aamir Khan            @aamir_khan                                        11.2 million  [1.12 crore]
Salman Khan          @BeingSalmanKhan                             10.6 million  [1.06 crore]
Narendra Modi        @narendramodi                                    10.1 million  [1.01 crore]
Deepika Padukone  @deepikapadukone                                  9.5 million [95 lakh]
Priyanka Chopra     @priyankachopra                                     8.79 million [87 lakh]
Hrithik Roshan        @ihrithik                                                  8.51 million [85 lakh]
Askhay Kumar        @akshaykumar                                        7.54 million [75.4 lakh]
Karan Johar             @karanjohar                                            5.6  million [56 lakh]
Virat Kohli              @iamvkohli                                               5.5 million [55 lakh]
Sachin Tendulkar    @sachin_rt                                               5.07 million [50.7 lakh]
Arvind Kejriwal       @arvindkejriwal                                   3.63 lakh
Dilip Kumar            @TheDilipKumar                                 3.36 lakh
MS Dhoni                @msdhoni                                          3.52 lakh

The leaders are mostly movie stars, politicians or, yes, some cricketers. The rabble-rousing politicians (the names which may come to your mind) have followers in thousands only.

[Just the most popular personalities with highest following on Twitter have been mentioned. Not all celebrities have been mentioned here. The statistics are till February 15, 2015]

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

AAP's victory in Delhi broke a psychological barrier: Cracking jokes, making fun of politicians is no longer blasphemy, even 'bhakts' are doing it finally

By Indscribe

Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) victory has not just shattered the myth of Narendra Modi-Amit Shah team's invincibility but has also broken a psychological barrier.

People in cities, hundreds of kilometers away from Delhi, including many BJP supporters, are cracking jokes, laughing and seemed genuinely enjoying the landslide.

Perhaps, they are enjoying it like a great Indian tamasha or they are just happy seeing an underdog's victory. One can interpret differently but this was unthinkable for a long time.

In WhatsAPP groups, people complained that how even a slight criticism of Narendra Modi upset the rest and old friends would get angry, as if it was a sort of blasphemy.

Post February 10: Not just cartoons are being shared in social media and even in groups [Facebook, WhatsApp] dominated by the BJP supporters, the laughter is back. Even BJP supporters are sharing these jokes and very few are feeling offended anymore.

Congress sympathisers would often rue that 'they crack jokes about Pappu and his mother all the time but if we speak a word, we are cornered and old friends are ready to snap relationships'. 'Yeh ho kya gaya hai'. Yes something had happened to people.

Now, many even seem relieved. They include BJP supporters. Why? I get call from a childhood friend, with whom I had stopped discussing politics long ago, as I didn't want to ruin my friendship. He said, 'checks and balances were required in politics and it would do good for the BJP'.

This will help the party as they won't be complacent anymore and it would also be in the interest of the citizens as both parties would compete in doing good work. Hmm. Such pieces of wisdom are coming from all sides.


The neighbourhood shopowner waved at me and I had to stop though I was in a hurry. He said, 'ha ha...kya karwa diya Dilli mein...badhiya ho gaya'. I knew, he was a BJP supporter, but why was he enjoying.

Why was he so happy that he felt like sharing it with others. Others were also receiving calls or discussing it. They may or may not like Kejriwal's win but seem to enjoy this 'unexpected thing'. This is in our psyche that we support underdog and naturally such a performance has flabbergasted everyone.

But the question is that why have we suddenly rediscovered the ability to laugh or crack jokes. Many of them will vote for BJP in their states but are right now, savouring the moment. Why they had stopped cracking and making fun of politicians?

This is like old times when after a victory in a cricket match, friends would call each other and discuss. The feeling of joy, when you want to share with others. 'Maza aa gaya yaar, kya kar diya'. There are many such examples since Tuesday.


In fact, there was a hard polarisation--Modi walas and the rest. So you were a 'traitor' if you didn't love Modi. This sort of positioning can't go on for long. People were simply spellbound. In Jammu-Kashmir, Modi-Shah failed to form government though the BJP got lot of seats.

Now, Delhi has shattered the myth of Modi's invincibility. People realised that he couldn't bring black money or get things done magically, as promised. Yes, even Kejriwal would be put to scrutiny, now.

Modi government is to stay for four years. In fact, it may win states after states. But, at least, people are out of the phase. For long they acted like they were 'possessed'. They are back, being natural. It was a strange psychological barrier. And it has gone. 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Controversy surrounding Urdu newspaper Avadhnama after publishing Charlie Hebdo cover and its editor's problems

First, the facts of the entire controversy. Mumbai-based Urdu daily Avadhnama stopped its publication after the controversial cover of French paper Charlie Hebdo was reproduced in this paper.

The editor of Avadhnama, Shirin Dalvi, is now out of job. She has several FIRs in police station in different cities in Maharashtra, for hurting the sentiments of Muslims, and is living in hiding for fear of being attacked.

Either it was mistake or foolhardiness, the newspaper had published apology for the photo. The issue should have ended there. The Avadhnama group shouldn't have shut the paper. Some Urdu editors said that she shouldn't be harassed after the apology.

Her problems, her living away from her children, has been mentioned in several news reports [See the news link HERE], people tweeted in her support, but will this help her? No. The reason is double standards in applying law in the country. Her LETTER, [read it on NDTV website], 'I, an underground citizen...' led to outrage on social media.

Why just 'outrage' won't work: Double standards in applying law in the country

1. Getting multiple FIRs registered against a person is a sure shot way to harass him/her, in a big way. The person would spend years, making rounds to the police stations and courts, dealing with lawyers.

2. In MP, an influential Hindi newspaper published the Charlie Hebdo cover. There were massive protests (and yes a law-and-order issue of bigger magnitude than the one cited in Maharashtra), but the police didn't register a single FIR. The Cops said, 'We are examining the complaints and will take action after preliminary investigation'.

3. But, in Maharashtra, FIRs against Shirin Dalvi was registered in half-a-dozen police stations in different cities. Why? It is because she is not a big shot and probably because her paper was not influential enough.

4. Though, both Maharashtra and MP are BJP ruled states, and the laws are also same. The issue was exactly the same, then why police in MP didn't register FIR despite huge gatherings. The reason is 'show me the Man (person), I will show you the rule' style of functioning.

5. It is totally in the hands of police to deal with such issues. If those at the 'top' give nod, FIR is registered, else police conveniently say, 'give us a written complaint, we will examine'. This is a way to delay the FIR and hush up the issue. Often, people are satisfied by just handing their complaint.

6. It requires political or administrative will to take a decision at that level, not going by the book. Citing law-and-order, police may register FIR or they may not. This happens in almost all crimes around us, depending on complainant/accused's influence, financial status, connectivity.

7. There are exceptions though. Someone like Raj Thackeray may have numerous cases registered against him, but being a politician with a cadre, he can get away for long. MF Husain also faced scores of FIRs but he had the means to live away lavishly, though he had to leave the country.

8. It is just like, if you have a row with an MLA or MP or business tycoon, and you go to police station, they generally ask you to leave your complaint, not registering FIR immediately, unless you also have some 'weight' or you are too persistent. This is the problem in our 'system'.

9. The issue is this 'freedom' to register FIR or not register FIR, at will. To register FIR or not register FIR, under pressure or influence. Everyone is affected by these double standards. And even 'police reforms' in certain states and the introduction of commissioner system in certain states, failed to tackle the anomaly.

10. The issue of filing multiple FIRs also needs to be redressed. Though it is a fundamental right, but often, organisations with all-India presence, do it to hound a person. They are able to do it because of their network. Should such FIRs be clubbed or can it be discouraged! Can this issue be redressed?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bihar court blast not termed terrorist act: Urgent need to stop distinguishing crimes on the basis of culprit's religion

On Friday, a blast in a court in Bihar led to two deaths and 17 persons getting injured. 

But wasn't termed a terror act, either by the police or the media. Reason?

Immediately after the blast, it was clear that the woman responsible for the act, did not fit into the 'criterion' (she was not a Muslim*). 

So it is just a 'crime' and won't be labelled as an act of 'terrorism', which would have led to round the clock coverage, talks about modules and Bihar becoming particular organisation's den or about handlers.

Cops say, 'no terror link'. What does that mean? Journos also parrot the same line. In a way its good that there is no scare, no panic caused through mass media. There are no indiscriminate arrests and detentions.

TV channels didn't stop other stories to show the incident for hours and hold panel discussions, there is no NIA teams rushing there, no senior spymaster's visit (unlike in Bardwan where no one was killed), papers just reporting it plainly without screaming headlines. 

The coverage of crimes in media and TV should also be balanced and similar. That reporters on National Security Beat would suddenly get active and start holding forth just because a crime is committed by a Muslim but ignore and pretend as if nothing has happened, if there is no Muslim connection, shows their hollowness and lack of professional ethics.

Real terror in public mind is created through coverage and by distinguishing acts of crime as 'crime' and 'terror'. All incidents of crime should be dealt with equal toughness, but without distinguishing the ideological motive or religion of culprits. 

Two posts on this blog on the same topic. How to defeat terror and stop getting terrorised, and the role of media in the entire issue.

[*Police identified the woman killed in Ara civil court as Rina Gaud of Ballia district in UP. She was known to 2009 Ara court blast convict Lambu Sharma, who escaped from custody after the explosion along with another rpsinoer on Friday. Reported Indian Express on January 25, 2015 ]

READ: 80 including 29 children killed in Bodo outfit's attack in Assam but this is not Terror

READ: Media's hysteric coverage leads to worldwide panic, just one madman enough to scare us?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nasheman: Reading the weekly Urdu newspaper from Karnataka

That's Nasheman, the Urdu newspaper, on my table.

It comes to me from a distant place--1500 km away i.e. Bangalore.

So when it comes from that far, you do take sometime to read it, at leisure.

The paper that has a pan-India circulation, has been running for 54 years.

I grew up reading this paper and hence I was dejected when it ceased publication for a while. I had written a post on this blog about Nasheman, its uniqueness and its history. But, Rizwan Asad sahab has revived it.

Now the paper looks more impressive. It also has a website that has English news, apart from plan to put up the Nasheman epaper. Of course, the columns, the tone of the paper and the satirical style remains same.

Karnataka has a large population of Urdu speakers, however, it is a mystery that overall on the map of Urdu, this state is not given its due. While Hyderabad has far more Urdu speakers and newspapers, surprisingly, none of them could get pan-Indian readership to such an extent.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Crisis in Islamic world: Clerics have failed, Muslims desperately need statesmen now


A group of terrorists commit an act in a city but Muslims across the world, in towns and cities in faraway countries bear the consequences.

They are expected to condemn it (everywhere--online and offline), worry about hate crimes or Islamophobia and face even more trouble in finding rented accommodations or getting jobs.

This is an unprecedented situation today. The argument is that these terrorists commit crime in the name of Islam.

Yes, they might, but Muslims repeatedly say that terrorists are defaming the Islamic teachings and their acts have nothing to do with Islam.

A man holds a few persons hostage in a city in Australia and because he is a Muslim, the images are shown live across the world, and it becomes a global problem. However, crimes of much higher magnitude are often not reported outside particular countries.

But when a crime qualifies to be 'terror', it becomes an international issue. And when does a crime become 'terror'? It is when the perpetrator is a Muslim. So when a 'terror' releated report breaks out, TV channels and media lap it up, shows it round the clock, and this in turn leads even more scare and 'terror' for society.

Terrorism COULD BE TACKLED and contained if crimes aren't distinguished i.e. crime remains crime irrespective of perpetrator's faith and if terrorist aren't given publicity, which they badly want. There is no dearth of loonies in our society.

Many commit such acts because they know media would fall in the trap. So the incidents keep happening. Muslims feel that why 1.6 billion people are stigmatised because of acts of a few individuals. But the other argument is always ready, 'the commit the act in the name of Islam'. Huh.

So what's the solution? After 9/11, the Us Vs Them stand has brought the situation to such a passe that no one wants to listen. This is a terrible situation where the entire Muslim world find themselves in. And it's even sad that we have no VOICE.


The entire Muslim world hasn't produced an intellectual voice, a statesman, a leader of leaders in these years, why? That's a crucial question.

Though I am not a big fan of Saudi monarchs, but they could have taken the lead, given their celebrity status and their being custodians of the holy mosques.

But they don't utter a word or shown any interest in this regard. The truth is that if they speak, despite the sectarian differences, everybody would pay heed.

They have excellent rapport with the Western rulers, but have remained content with the relationship as long as West doesn't interfere in their internal issues, especially, their poor human rights record and their treatment of women and minorities.

Further, they seem more interested in containing Iran's influence or maintaining their regional supremacy, rather, than taking up a stand. It is such an irony that none of the countries in entire Middle East, has a leader whose voice is heard. Or even who is willing to speak.

The Saudis have a privileged position and could have used it to issue diktats over Islam's liberal tradition, and for shunning fundamentalism. Millions of Muslims go for Haj and throughout the year too for pilgrimage, and appeals or messages by Sheikhs would have worked.

Had they taken a stand to urge Muslims and reminded them about Islamic tradition of tolerance and good treatment of minorities, it would have been heard, and also message would have gone to rest of the world too.

But they are happy living in their ivory towers and managing 'order' in their nations. If not rulers, the religious personalities like Imam Haram could have issued a diktat. Sad. Nothing of that sort is even expected.

Why don't we hear a strong word from them against Boko Haram, Al Shabab or regarding the mindless sectarian violence in many Muslim countries. It is simply beyond comprehension why Muslim world doesn't have a leader today?


There is a need among Muslims to hear a leader, a statesman who can have DIALOGUE with the West. It is not that you always end up blaming US attacks on Iraq or Afghanistan, for problems in Muslim world.

There is restlessness among Muslims, who want someone to take up the position.There is a vacuum, but no leader is stepping in to the shoes of the statesmen of the past. No one is taking the lead.

Someone who can urge Muslims to do inward looking too. Someone who can also talk to France over the ban on Hijab, if not resolve it, but put this point across. Someone who can tell the world to stop the practice of terming particular crimes as terror, and then putting the entire community in the dock.

Someone who can remind Muslims about the Prophet's teachings regarding tolerance, how Muslims treated their minorities fairly, how to stop the barbaric practices, how to stop misusing laws on blasphemy, give call to make Muslims focus on education rather than sectarian divides, reviving intellectual tradition.

Muslim world should have many statesmen today. Sadly, it has none. Why there are no public speakers, motivators, statesmen who could have come from countries like Turkey, with its cultural affinity to both East and the West.

In the early part of 20th century, we had visionary leaders like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in India. Even Agha Khan was a major figure in British India.

In those days no one thought which leader belonged to which sect.If today, the current Agha Khan, speaks, won't the world listen? 

I have taken his name just as an example. The point is that there is a space, a huge vacuum. We want to hear someone take intellectual leadership.

No one would prop you up, rather, you have to take up the leadership. But no one is willing to speak to the large number of Muslims and also on behalf of them.



Islam doesn't have a system of institutionalised clergy. It was once a boon, as there were no separate class of Monks or Gurus.

Unfortunately, it is the clergy which is today seen as the voice of Muslims. But clerics have failed us. BADLY. Another tragedy is that motivational and articulate 'Islamic' speakers who have a huge following, rather than talking of reason, turn towards bigotry and sectarianism--thereby harming the community.

There is need for modern, educated, sensible, liberal Muslim to come forward and claim his religion from the clergy. There is dire need for this. Muslims in countries where they are in a majority, especially, in Middle East, probably don't realise this as much.

The reason could be that they don't face religious prejudices (or Islamophobia) on a daily basis, in their own land, but across the world, Muslims are fed up of the situation. They do feel the need for saner voices.

They won't come from the skies. It's we who have to speak and fill this void.

READ: Media's excessive, hysteric coverage of Australia hostage led to worldwide panic

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Saluting the Suregon: Courageous Haryana doctor confronted Bajrang Dal activists over a hate speech against Muslims, gets attacked

Dr Jitender Phogat, a eye surgeon, was going to the chowk, when he heard a group of right-wing activists spewing venom against Muslims.

The doctor took a brave stand, he confronted the Bajrang Dal activists on the spot.

He was the lone voice against the hate speech, and was assaulted. The doctor was injured in the attack, and approached the police.

It is a different issue that the police are yet to register a case for either hate speech or assault. But the doctor did what many of us don't.

The harsh truth is that generally educated people don't take stand and this is the reason that extremists--Hindu or Muslim, get emboldened.

This is no doubt inspiring. A man sees that there is something very serious going on in front of our eyes, and the police are standing silent, he dares to object. Dr Phogat, 38, is a surgeon with the PGIMS at Rohtak (Haryana).

Journalist Sat Singh reported the news in Hindustan Times, and soon it became viral on internet. Dr Phogat is getting praise from all corners. In fact, it is inspiring and if we intervene against Hindu, Muslim radicals, with the same passion, we can change our society for good.

The Bajrang Dal workers at the same spot, caught a Muslim pearl-seller, termed him a spy and handed him to police, though the police said that he was targeted just because of his religion. READ THE NEWS at this LINK.