Friday, October 26, 2012

Facing abuse and a backlash of rumours

Beginning January 2011 somehow I had been at the receiving end of a lot of abusive tweets from people, who predominantly tweeted in the Tamil language. Initially I ignored them. In some instances I thought I could tell them not to indulge in derogatory language and believed they would understand. Here I made my first mistake. I hadn't begun to know the behaviour of some people on Twitter yet.

Here are some compilations made by someone in the past few days.

After a point I started blocking them. It didn't end there. New people would jump in and Rajan leaks would either be retweeted in which I will be tagged or I will be tagged in tweets they had sent to Rajanleaks. And I was known as the famous singer who blocked anyone who tweeted in Tamil. This became a campaign : "Chinmayi is against Tamilians on Twitter". The numbers began increasing and was predominantly instigated. Otherwise I don't see why people would generally join together for a 'cause (!)' like this. Manthiramoorthy alias @thalapathy_8787 also wrote a huge blog about me which ended with "I will marry a better figure than you". Apparently he wants to be directing films and had approached my mom through someone stating he would like to get married to me. Mom refused.

March 10 2012 saw Mr Mahesh Murthy publish this article

After this description about me "Chinmayi who, you’ll ask, and Chinmayi Sripada would be the equally puzzling answer. This babe from south of the Vindhyas is less known for her playback singing and more for her meticulously updated online diary of every single thought she’s ever had", he had also made a pretty insulting description about Shreya Ghoshal, which was subsequently removed after she tweeted to him openly too. The comments section will reveal that a lot of her fans were plain irritated with the way she was written about. 

Now I tweeted to Mr Mahesh Murthy asking on what basis he wrote that I am less known as a singer and more as a blogger. Yes I could have mailed him. But I also asked, of all people he had to include rajanleaks in this huge line-up as the sole representative of the Virtual Tamil World? His timeline was filled with profanity about most public personalities and how, in God's name was he more influential than the veteran Tamil poets and writers on Twitter. I stated Madhan Karky was on Twitter whose tweets were read by at least 10 times more people than Rajan on a daily basis and how did Rajan become a person of huge influence? He definitely said it was a personal opinion. The article also expressly states that. And then he finally said "I am not journalist from paid media owned by you (Parthiv) or Chinmayi to do your bidding about @rajanleaks or other issues". Insinuating this "paid media" with regard to me, in my opinion was very wrong, but we left it at that. Parthiv was one of the fans of Shreya Ghoshal and I who argued with him asking him to substantiate how he came up with these numbers/data.

I don't regret this conversation with Mr Murthy though. I wanted to ask him why he came with this article the way he did. This irritated the people who were already up in arms against me, to no end. Rajanleaks started #AsingapattalChinmayi where there were some who did go up and ask that he shouldn't tweet "Asignapattal" about a girl. And the standard response to such people would be, "Why is Chinmayi your girlfriend?"(This is just a decent way of saying it). I don't know if women dared speak to him.

The introduction to these guys happen in a very rude manner, explained later in this post.

In the meanwhile I continued to block some tweeters. Mom and I also continued to take the advice of several people in the print and TV media, the industry and several others about what I was facing on Twitter and why this could happen. 

In addition I was accused of supporting one political party or the other because I refused to cow down to any of their abusive tweets on political leaders masquerading as "satire". 

I have been widely accused of saying things against the TN Fishermen and supporting the genocide of the SriLankan Army. 

I had posted the following tweets on January 26 and 27, 2011.

Even to those who alleged that I said something insensitive about Fishermen, I wonder which one of these can be termed insensitive.

On the 28th January @maamallan (after reading all my tweets on 26th and 27th January) said "Beti tum meen khata hai..." and I responded "There is nothing I can do but tweet. Or blog. Please channel your energies in writing to the authorties also" "naanga uyirgala kolradhum illa, thunburutharavanga illa (torture by keeping them in an aquarium) PETA Supporter."  I have not even said "meen" (fish) in this tweet.

However Maamallan seemed to have told a few people, right after I lodged a complaint earlier this month and Cartoonist Bala (I am told) was the first mouthpiece to spread this story amongst his readers. This spread like wildfire. With a lot of people threatening me with dire consequences. 

We had expected this to happen.

Now he made fun of me being a vegetarian. I get a lot of that on Twitter or real life. I replied in a similar vein. Here is the tweet flow.

 However it was twisted and presented as though "Naan uyirgala thunburutharavanga.." was the response for Save Tamilnadu Fisherman

And here is the tweet dated January 26 2011 where @maamallan has tweeted to someone else. These are more or less the words he accuses me of saying. Cartoonist Bala propagated this on Facebook.

Now after Rajan tweeted "Meenava meena kolra.... Chinmayi 2010 il" A lot of people believed that I said this.
The source of the words tweeted by Rajan is this website (Thanks to Mr Nadarajan who mailed me two days back, based on a mail part of it reproduced here "மீனவர்கள் மீன்களைக் கொல்கிறார்களே அதனால் அவர்களையும் இலங்கைக் கடற்படை கொல்லலாம்" என சின்மயி பேசியதாகச் சொல்கிறார்கள். அவர் அதை மறுத்திருக்கிறார். "மீனவர்கள் மீன்களைக் கொல்கிறார்களே அதனால் அவர்களையும் இலங்கைக் கடற்படை கொல்லலாம்" என்ற இந்த வசனம் 'இந்து' என்.ராம் பேசுவதாக 'வினவு' இணையத்தில் 2009ல் வெளியாகிய 'என் ராமாய ணம்' என்ற வீதி நாடகப் பிரதியில் வருகிறது.

அந்த வசனத்தையே சின்மயியை பழிதீர்க்க பயன்படுத்தியிருக்கிறார்கள் என நினைக்கிறேன்."

The #TNFisherman hashtag mostly contained abuse about politicians, because perhaps they ran out of ways to make the topic trend and they wanted the national media to take note of this serious issue. Many were agitated that national media was not reporting the death of fishermen. Starting a topic like this and making it trend would mean it would be covered by national media, they thought. When I opened the topic, I saw tweets by the very people I blocked. I didn't want my tweet to figure under a tweet which referred to a political leader in  vulgar terms. Nevertheless I had already posted a tweet sending out prayers.

Not many except 3-4 of my followers from Facebook who accompanied us knew that Mom and I regularly volunteereed in a fishing village near Chennai not too long after the Tsunami. We'd be there every Sunday. She went more often than I did, because on several days, work would keep me away. We still have the miniature Catamaran they gave us. 

Cartoonist Bala's "headline" for the article on me on his Facebook page was "Tamizhargal mugathil kaarithuppum chinmayi yai kandikkiren". A lot of people, going by the reputation (?) he has already built, believed him blindly. Now how in God's name did I kaarithuppify on Tamils?

BTW efforts are on to prove I am originally a Malayali, Telugu, Kannadiga and Oriya by various people. :p

Now I hardly understand what the basis of his "sensational" article was. Perhaps this was a way to get more hits to his page. He belongs to a Tamil magazine and all that he needed to do, before publishing this was ask us if all this were true. He failed to do that. If some random person posted content on Facebook like "Krishna Tamil Tiger" "Aham Brahmasi" -( said "you may show proof, but I have better photoshop experts. Wait and see what I do with your photographs. I ll make you regret this. Better take the case against my friend back") and also Anbalagan Veerappan, posted messages, they wouldn't want to know my side of the story. But Mr Bala holds a position that comes with the responsibility of at least attempting to know the truth. He didn't. Since the day I questioned him, he has been hiding and posting this particular 'article' on his page according to his will and pleasure. This article does a hide and seek every once in a while. I am sure it will be posted again some time in the future.

If some Tamil tweeter supported me, their accounts are hacked.

Tamil Aman on Facebook left the same comment on every post asking the same question even AFTER I clarified in a post on my facebook page, written in Tamil saying I did not say anything against Tamilians/ Fishermen or Srilankan Tamils. Here is the screenshot

Now this guy, for his own publicity stunt went about saying "Chinmayi agrees" to the reply which said Ongala special a tag panni, (fishermen ku edhira onnum sollalannu) sonna dhan puriyuma?) (Do I need to specifically tag you and say I have not said anything against TN Fishermen and would you understand only then?)

I am amazed at this man's devious brains because he just put one screenshot and said oh She said she is against Tamilian Fishermen. He is just one of the several. I am sure there are many more. Either these guys have brains that don't work well, or they work in such a fashion to think about some of the smartest ways to make someone look guilty.

Puthiya Thalaimurai debated the issue of my going to the police. Kiruba Shankar, Ms Nirmala Kotravai and Manushya Putran were panelists. My mother called in when someone told her (I didn't watch the show, I was out dubbing. Mom was watching via the web and she called in) Ms Nirmala happened to mention to my mother if you are against vulgarity ask your daughter not to sing a song like Mayya Mayya. She also is said to have mentioned she has personally received several such abuses. But she had ignored them. But I had gone to the police/press because of an "ego issue".

It was sad that she trivialized it. Here I am facing the brunt of something I had not even said - accused of hurting Tamil sentiments when I had done nothing like that - and she pronounced it an ego issue.  I wasn't aware of Ms Kotravai before this. I hear she is an activist. She also mentioned she has ignored tweets like this. Its fine to ignore tweets/calls/EMails which I have been getting, ever since I became a playback singer (I guess I have to clarify: 2002 onwards calls/SMS/EMails/comments on my blog, After twitter came along, tweets), but when it becomes this ugly, I'd be a fool to not seek help. We had been discussing this issue ever since it began, with several journalists, friends and those in authority. Trying to find out how serious it can get.

Not to mention @sharankay had also tweeted the same words "Chinmayi cannot sing a song like mayya mayya and ruin the society".  (As though their vulgarity is going to cleanse the society)
@Athisha's also tweeted I have said the Meenava tweet and he works in Puthiya Thalaimurai (I completely understand that he may have not even been involved in the team that put together this show that debated my issue at all)

"மீன்களை மீனவர்கள் கொல்லுகிறார்கள். மீனவர்களை இலங்கை கடற்படை கொல்கிறது. இதில் தப்பென்ன? #அருமையான தத்துவம்." 

We first went to Cyber Crime in March, when I tweeted I coming to Coimbatore for a concert.

* Chinnatha is the nickname given to me.

Now the conversation continued to "she'll never be able to sing anywhere again". Now, after a tweet like that, we didn't know whether they could be serious or joking. Yes, they could definitely be joking. But what if they were serious about this? What if the organizers were put to trouble? We had to seek help but also added to the authorities the same and also that we don't want to avenge anyone. 

We had requested them many times. Actually mom did. Here is a long tweet she posted

She also spoke to a few people over the phone requesting them. As they ceased to be part of this bullying, those who wanted to abstain would be in turn be bullied to "join.. or else..."

And I posted this after which "Tamil Aman" mentioned above asked did you speak against the Fishermen? Now after this, everyone wanted an individual reply. If I didn't, they would start off on posts and tag everyone in their circle. 

I also realize now that they'll probably come up with something new. Each day. 

As for the reservation my response was to ONE girl who said she couldn't get a seat inspite of her marks as she was in the OC and her parents didn't make enough to buy her a medical seat. Empathising with her was the crime which hurt the sentiments of several people.

When I said "so called inferior people" (Added: Thaazhthpattavargal was a word I had misunderstood as the Tamil word for "inferior" and I didn't know that it was a word to denote the oppressed. Someone had tweeted to me even during the 'argument' saying I am wrongly using inferior and inferior-ized. This tweet came from someone who understood what I meant and what I wrote and pointed out the mistake. I have only repeated that I had wrongly interchangeably used thaazhndhavargal and thaazhthapattvargal a million times to Rajan or his sympathizers. I also said that it would be better if I tweet in English so that I don't say the wrong word again. My argument was that there is no such thing as an inferior man). However this tweet and the other tweets that I wrote are missing from the compilation.  - I meant that I don't understand why anyone would be called inferior. How is anyone inferior was the question. There cannot be inferior people I argued. All human beings are superior creations. Now I was a fool talking philosophical words to someone who didn't want to get it at all. And I had no idea that all my words will be distorted. 

(Not to mention my Facebook page now has a lot of Anti Brahmin Slogans with details on how Periyaar said a snake has poison only in its fangs but a 'Brahmin' has poison all across his body)

There is also a compilation of the tweets on one blog. Carefully edited, tweets posted out of context as replies and this was the same conversation that contained "You need to be raped.." . I m not surprised that this particular tweet along with others were Rajan repeated "naan madha/jaadhi veriyan" throughout the 140 characters are also missing. 

I have always maintained I wish for an equal society. I debated the two tumbler system on Live Radio on Aahaa FM, manual scavenging and men cleaning sewers manually even after court orders, 4 years back. I said on radio there is no such thing as a superior or an inferior man. Every man is a superior creation. 

How is it that the same people who believe caste should not exist and are against the caste system, kept abusing me citing mine? How is that fair? Of course, all this is happening because a good number of people lack the sense of fairness. "Why are all singers Brahmins?" "Why do reality show contestants speak like Brahmins?"" Why are brahmins here, why are brahmins there?" 

I have maintained that I don't know how a Brahmin is defined. Yudhishtra says conduct makes one a Brahmin, not birth in his tryst with Lord Yama. (Amar Chitra Katha). The one that walks the path to know the supreme being, towards enlightenment is the one who is a Brahma-chari. The story of Chokha Mela - God has proved to man each time that there is no such thing as a low caste by identifying himself not to the priest in the temple but the man sadly denounced as an untouchable. God only recognizes the one who treats all beings equally as his greatest devotee (Rantideva - Devotees of Vishnu, Amar Chitra Katha). Why should I identify something that is created by man? I have never trivialized someone's suffering. Never would I ever intend to.

It is heart rending to read the accounts of people who have had their "spirits broken" (the words in quotes were the very words of a friend of mine) by those who believed they are of a higher "birth". I wonder what makes one set of people believe they are greater than fellow human beings. Aren't we all conceived and born the same way? Did some people drop down from the heavens, as a full grown adult? Women were not allowed to be educated because an educated woman would mean her husband would die young they said, not too far before, just around 1940-s. It was all convenient for a lot of people to create such ideas and for others to follow them.

An oppressed caste woman is raped and her case is not even lodged which is also reported in the news. I tweet about that. However, this is overlooked. Discrimination is still continuing in this age where we believe education has seeped through society, people have become forward in their thoughts. But no. So many haven't. It is distressing to know that. 

In these 2 years I have learned all (That is all, I hope) the profane words and adages people have for a set of women starting with "paapaara....". Now that the fishermen issue cannot be taken forward, the reservation issue will be taken up and it shall do the rounds. And people will again take the name of a caste and say "Thimuru". 

Also Rajans and Saravana Kumars are entitled to say whatever they want because they have the Right to Speech.

Finally so many public personalities in Tamilnadu have been accused of hurting Tamil sentiment, misquoted and also told that they are not Tamil at all. I shall refrain from taking names here, but they have all been really big stars. I wonder if I'll ever be there. But never in my dreams did I believe that a few people would gang up and put in so much time on all this propaganda against me. Sadly, but not surprisingly, people believe them. 

As of today (I started saying at the end of it all, and realized it ain't over yet), I have realized one thing. I can just sit in one place, not say a thing. But even then I could be in the eye of a new storm. I also do wish the underlying motive behind all this would be brought to the fore. Why would random people make up stories like this?

I pray with all my heart for justice.

Friday, October 19, 2012

When I usually open the 'compose' page on my blog, I have the words running through my mind. At least a couple of paragraphs would have marque-ed in my mind's eye before I see this blank canvas, ready to spill out through the keyboard. 

Today however, I did feel the urge to write but for once I didn't know what about. The rains have in their wake a stillness that I sometimes romance in my mind. Only wish the stillness were in my spirit too. You know, all the divine romance thing, I spoke earlier about. Sometimes being a restless spirit is nice. But sometimes, I visualize gazing long into a silent, shimmering lake, sprinkled with moonlight, seated on a wrought iron bench in a lovely lawn. Perhaps just before dawn. When it is rumoured to be the darkest. And then it would be nice to see the silver streaks replaced by liquid gold flowing down from the skies and on to the surface of the lake. Fresh morning air and a promise of brightness, hope, clarity that each dawn promises to bring. 

The promise of a new day. Perhaps a day that shall usher in a crystal clear mind that shall not be rippled even when several stones are hurled at its waters.

And for that day, I wait.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Baking Love!