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A video titled "The real communal face of the Aam Aadmi Party" is doing the rounds, and shows Shazia Ilmi recommending that Muslims become communal. If we go by word counts, we can end the post right here with "OMG communal", but is it really communal in the manner usually condemned?

This is the video

Here's a transcript by a volunteer.

Shazia seated along with long bearded people

Shazia : me to manti hu musalman k liye insaniyat ke khuda ke waste itne secular na baniye

Guy One : nahi nahi humko banna padhega aur kaam karna padhega, humare islam k khilaf jo kaam karoge to hume karna padhega..
Shazia : mein to ulta kehti hu.. Me kehti hu musalman bahut secular hai.. Musalmanon ko communal hona padega pehli baat.. Musalman communal nahi hai.. Apnon ko nahi deta he vo.. Aravind Kejriwal aap ke apne hai. Ham to kah rahe he.. Secular bahut ho gaya musalman. Ya congress ko jita rahe hai, kisi aur ko.. jo apna nuksan kar rahe hai.. Aap log itna secular mat huiye.. ab apne ghar ka dekiye.. Na huiye itna secular...Musalman secular hai.. Dete rahte hai auron ko vote.. Baki partiyon to nahi karthe hai kuch.. hamare vote bighadthe hai. Apna faida sochna.. Bahut controversial baat hai.. lekin saroori baat hai.
Guy Two : kuch baat to aap sahi keh rahi hai wo baat apni jagah sahi hai lekin humare zimme do kaam hai daro aur harao, dare bhi hum haraye bhi hum aur malayi khaye dusre
Shazia : kaam badal dijiye ladho aur jeeto

Guy Two : abhi apne sarfaraz arzoo se baat ki na aur aise bahut sare log hai

Shazia: sarfaraz bhai se puchiyega ????

I want to make this clear that this is how I see this situation. Your mileage may vary. Also note that I have no idea what the Aam Aadmi Party stand on this is. Last I heard, they were condemning. I see a very ignorant person, but not someone who is "communal" or "polarizing" or even aware what the words "secular" and "communal" actually mean (and apparently neither do those sitting with her). Ironically, she actually seems to be talking them down from a communal high.

For those who don't understand Hindi, here's a rough translation:

Shazia seated along with long bearded people

Shazia : I am saying for the sake of God don't be so secular

Guy One : no no, we will have to and act. If you act against our Islam, then we will have to act.

Shazia : I am saying the opposite. I am saying Muslims are very secular. Muslims will have to become communal. Muslims are not communal. They don't vote for their own. Arvind Kejriwal (who is not a Muslim) is your own. I am saying Muslims have become too secular. Either you make Congress win, or someone else and suffering losses on themselves. Don't be so secular, see to your own home. Don't be so secular. Muslims are secular, keep giving votes to others. Other parties don't so anything, only spoil (waste?) our votes. Think for your own advantage. This is controversial, but essential to say.

Guy Two : what you are saying is somewhat right in its own way, but our role/task remains at two things. Fear and defeat [competing candidates]. We fear and we defeat [political opponents] and the rewards are reaped by someone else.

Shazia : change your task and win

Guy Two : you spoke with sarfaraz arzoo now, right? there are  many others like him

Shazia: Ask sarfaraz bhai????

If you go by the dictionary meaning of "secular" and "communal", this above conversation makes no sense. Shazia Ilmi is asking the people to not be secular and recommending that they be communal, but how? By telling them not to vote for those who usually represent their comminity and exploit their votes for political gain. She is telling them to support Kejriwal, who is a Hindu.

In fact, when "Guy one" initially disagreeing with her is a full on Alice in Wonderland moment if you go by the Oxford dictionary. Shazia says for Gods sake don't be secular. Guy one negates this (implying they will have to be secular) if someone acts against Islam and they will have to act. So, acting on a religious threat is passing as secularism for this group.

Either she is doped, or she has learned what secular and communal mean from Indian politics and its unique warped "opposing sides". If you are a Hindu zealot, you are communal, which means if you are a Muslim zealot, you are secular in the name of protecting minorities - essentially, both sides operate from a premise of religious loyalty. It is also how Mayawati actively chasing dalit votes is not seen as communal, because you have to be an upper caste Hindu to be communal. Mayawati is secular. All dalit community should vote for her. This is the brain damage our opportunistic and exploitative political leadership has inflicted on the country by lobbing labels at each other to the point they make no sense.

It is in this that Shazia Ilmi is wading. Recommending that they don't be secular. Meaning, that they don't vote on the basis of being a Muslim minority and bring someone to power who will again use their fear and their efforts to defeat the threat for political profit and forget about them, but to vote for "their own" - who happens to not be a Muslim. So how does communal compute? It doesn't.

Unless the community you are talking is not one of religion but caring. It is a cheesy explanation, but there is no other. It is exactly what Aam Aadmi Party tells everyone - Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, rich, poor, film stars, rickshaw drivers.... that it is YOUR party. If this is to be interpreted as Aam Aadmi Party being communal, then I imagine there will be mass conversions. And all AAP members will aslo change professions to rickshaw drivers, or bankers, or whatever.

In my view, Shazia Ilmi's only crime is monumental ignorance. It would not matter so much if it were a random worker, but a politician getting a ticket to contest elections in a country where communal politics rules ought to know the basic meaning of the words secular and communal, regardless of how they get warped in use. That said, it is impossible to know everything we don't know, till we find ourselves ignorant. I doubt if Shazia Ilmi is going to be confused about this again.

About the "polarization". It is a BJP con being run on social media that takes advantage of more political labels that can be flung regardless of meaning. To polarize anything, you need two entities. You speak with Hindus about Muslims, in a manner that highlights differences, you are polarizing. You speak with Muslims about Hindus in a manner that highlights differences, you are polarizing. You speak with Hindus about themselves, or Muslims about themselves, where is the polarization? It is merely conversation pertaining to the community. If speaking with Muslims about Muslims were polarizing, then BJP probably needs to trash the Ram Mandir from its manifest, yes? It isn't, which is why no one is screaming bloody murder about the manifesto, like they are, about Togadia, who is inciting Hindus about minorities (as opposed to talking about Hindus themselves). If Togadia spoke of the need to build a Ram Mandir, as long as he didn't mention other communities in a way that created ill will about them, he wouldn't be polarizing (though that one is tough, since Togadia has turned himself into a polarization symbol - but say if Modi spoke.)

Speaking of Modi and secular and communal, the BJP people yelling about criticism of secularism and promoting communalism may want to check out his Jammu speech. He pretty much knowingly rejects secularism and stops an inch short of thumping his 56 incher on being communal - within careful boundaries of the Model CODE of conduct.

Lastly, taking this opportunity to recommend YET AGAIN that AAP have some kind of code of conduct for representatives to follow when they interact on behalf of AAP. It is not merely about saying the wrong things, but as this incident proves, it is also about finding the right words for what people want to say. Given the state of our education system, public intellect and political stupidification, the abilities of various people to articulate the AAP view on various subjects will fluctuate wildly, and standard protocols will help bring some stability for everyone's speech. Shazia Ilmi is hardly the only reckless speaker in AAP.

Priyadarshan Pathak, Websol Media, Railway Road, Gurgaon

According to Priyadarshan Pathak, Facebook is the best media available for promotion. The biggest benefit of Facebook is that you can categorize the likings of the individuals who visit the page. Although Twitter is not a paid service as Facebook is, yet Pathak can get us packages of followers: “Toh dekhiye Twitter ka kya hai ki Twitter ka kahin paid services filhal nahin hai … agar humein operate bhi karna hai toh US se karna hota hai … toh main unse packages mangwa sakta hoon ki followers ke packages wahan se mujhe bhej dein wo (The problem with Twitter is that it does  not have any paid service … if we want to operate it we will have to operate it from the US … I will ask them to send us packages of followers).”

His company is also handling, we are informed, Narendra Modi’s campaign on social media.

Pathak says he would assign our netaji’s campaign to a Congress baiter who is a die-hard Modi fan: “Main aise bande ko aapke ispe lagaoonga … wo Congress se bahut wo hai … matlab khilaf hai (I will get a fellow on this project of yours … who hates Congress …).” A dentist by profession, this fellow generates about 2000 likes a day on his page. Pathak promptly shows us pages created by his friend of various BJP luminaries, and calls him up asking him to come over to meet us.

Nothing wrong is allowed to show up on our Facebook page as they would set certain parameters on the page. Pathak claims: “Jo banda yahan baitha rahega na wo humesha … agar ye kuch karta hai na toh wo humesha kisi ne kya comment diya hai … kuch galat diya hai toh turant wahan se remove karega (the fellow who sits here will always … he observes what kind of comments the fellows have written … if there is some mal-comment is given he will remove it immediately).”

Pathak would launch an attack on Netaji’s opponent a few days before election, using a different tool, a dongal as a static IP, to avoid detection. He can do negative campaign from abroad, as well: “Aap chahen toh bahar se bhi karwa sakte hain …bahar se b hi karwa dete hain … bahar ki IP se bhi karwa dete hain (If you wish, we can get done from abroad as well … will get it done from abroad … will get done using an overseas IP).”

This would be done by hacking an offshore system with the help of Team Viewer software: “… Team Viewer software sabpe daala hua hai … usmein kya hota hai ki jaise bahar se koi mail aaya toh us client ka computer humare system pe aa jaata hai … humare iss pe aa gaya … hum kya karenge yahan par … hum uske system pe chahe jo bhi open kar sakte hain jo bhi chahein wahan pe chala sakte hain … toh hum yahi karte hain (… every computer is equipped with Team Viewer software … what happens there is suppose we receive a mail from a client abroad … his computer appears on our system … we get it on our system … what will we do here … whatever we want we can open on his system … whatever we want to run we can run there … this is what we do).”

Then, he will write all nasty things about the opponent. It is safe and hassle free when he is not using his IP address: “Wo band karne ki bhi zaroorat nahin hai kyonki humara IP yahan se type hi nahin hua … haan … mujhse kya keh rahe ho jaaka pakdo usse (No need to close it down because we have not typed our IP … [in case someone comes calling on us, I will tell them] … yes … why bother me … go and catch that fellow).”

He would send bulk sms using soft code which makes it difficult to trace.

Netaji’s opponent will be attacked both on Facebook and on Twitter, in a similar way, as he says: “Usmein hum kya karenge ki hum … usmein jo bhi pratikriya … uske baare mein jo bhi dikhana hai wo hum bahar se dikhayenge (What we will do for that … whatever the reaction … whatever we have to show about him we will do it from outside).” This will be done through a different company: “Dono ka alag alag company se karaoonga … positive ka alag company se … negative ka alag company se (I will get both done from different companies … positive will be done by a different company … negative will be done by another company).”

We meet Pathak again to see if he is able to deliver what he is promising after asking him to throw all the muck on a fictitious company, Mercury Aviation, and he does not disappoint.

At the outset Rakesh claims to have bailed out a scam-tainted senior army officer with his reputation management skills on social media, although he would never reveal the identity of the said officer. Listen to Rakesh making the claim on camera to have provided such services to many clients: “… humne kai logon ke ORM kiye hain  … jaise humare Google pe kisi ka galat naam aa gaya ki bhai ismein ye corruption hai funs gaya kaam … ye iss officer ne chori kiye hain … usko saaf karne ka kaam jo hai wo humne kiya … usko saaf karne ka kaam jo hai wo humne kiya hai … (… we have done ORM [online reputation management] for many people … for example, we have a fellow whose name was earning flak on Google for involving in a particular corruption case … his work gets stuck … this officer has done this thefts … we did this name cleaning job for him … ).”

When Cobrapost reporter asks how they would manage to secure fan following for Netaji, Agam Panwar has this to reveal: “Saari ki saari aati hai iss madhyam se … mujhe pata hai … main kyonki … politicians ka bhi kar chuka hoon … past mein toh mujhe pata hai aapko exactly kya chahiye … kyonki ek toh BJP ke spokesperson hai Sanjay Kaul …. unka maine hi kiya hai … Facebook pe saara aap jaake dekhiyega (All following comes through this medium only … I know … because I have done it for politicians as well … in the past … so I know it what exactly you need … there is this BJP spokesperson Sanjay Kaul … it was I who did it for him … you can visit Facebook and see it yourself).” Now Kaul has a good number of following in the digital world, claims Panwar.

To defeat our opponent in this ORM war, Panwar wants work on in a proactive mode so that if anything unpleasant happens we can give a befitting reply to our competitor. Panwar promises us to deliver one lakh likes by November: “Toh November tak itne hi kar lete hain … itne kar lete hain (Then … by November we will do this much).”

Panwar makes another shocking but interesting claim: “Main aapko clear bata raha hoon … maine dono terah se kaam kiye hain … politicians ke liye … even maine toh CBI aur Raw walon ka kaam kiya hai (I am telling you clearly … I have done both kinds of work … for politicians … even, I have done this work for CBI and RAW officers …). ” Using his ORM skills Panwar claims he helped a scam-tainted senior RAW clear his name from the Internet.  The officer is back with the external intelligence arm of the Indian Government. Then there is a CBI officer and a chief minister of Punjab and how they mastermind a scam, and how he helped the officer redeem his image.

Their operations would remain untraceable. Look what he claims: “Google pe baap bhi nahi dhoondh sakta … mere yahan proxy code lage hue hain … jab jab hum kaam karte hain toh location change hote rehta hai unki har ek ghante mein (Nobody even among the experts can find it out on Google … I have put in place proxy codes … so when we are working the location of the codes keeps on changing).”

Panwar will destroy the reputation of our political opponent on social media: “Dekho Sir mujhe bas ye pata hai ki mujhe koi news milegi … uska positive negative karna aata hai … agar aap kahoge iska image barbad kar de kar doonga … aur wo bhi image bacha ke humari … (You see Sir … I know only this much that if I get some news I can make positive or negative out of it … and if you ask me to destroy the image of this man [our opponent], I will do it … that too keeping our image clean).”

Vishal Saini and Harmeet Singh of Webstreaks, Derawal Nagar, New Delhi are forthcoming and tell how the BJP had run a negative publicity campaign against Congress and has come up triumphant.

They will mention local issues in our campaign showing the negative side of the incumbent government. Saini claims: “Negative chahiye uske andar … agar wo Congress hai toh BJP ki nikali jayegi (You want negative campaign … if it is Congress then the BJP’s loopholes will be brought into open).”

In other words, social media cuts both sides.

There will be best posts and reviews in your favour, and there would be a separate team for the job. Saini promises to create 10 lakh likes on Netaji’s Facebook page: “Haan teek hai dus lakh ke aas paas tak likes chahiye (Yes … all right if you want about 10 lakh likes).” Negative feedback, if any, would be immediately deleted by Saini’s team. These likes will be generated both manually and using a software. The likes thus created will be a mix of genuine and dummy.

His friend Harmeet Singh explains how they will do negative campaign against Netaji’s opponent: “Ek aur cheez ho sakti hai iss kaam mein ki jaise page hum apni positivity show karne ke liye kar rahe hain na … wahi cheez hum unki negativity show karne ke liye ek alag page banayein … ki jaise matalb … why not choose … why not elect Congress … yahan pe (One more thing can be done … we can create a page to show negativity of that fellow the same as way we are creating a page to show our positivity … I mean, for example, tell them why not choose … why not elect Congress … here).”

Harmeet gives an idea how they can destroy the reputation of our political opponent with the help of a video: “… hum kya kar sakte hain ek teen minute ka sarhe teen minute ka … wo bana liya … ijkse andar uske jitne kaale kaam hain wo likhte rahenge aur usko itne aise ache artistic tareeke se dikhaya ki banda bore bhi nahin ho raha aur dekh bhi raha hai … pehle image aa rahi hai fir text aa raha hai … ye dekho ye isne kiya hai iska saboot ye raha … ye isne kiya hai iska saboot ye raha (… what we can do is we can make a three-minute or three-and-a-half minute long video … in which we will describe all his misdeeds … and this will be depicted in such an artistic way that the visitors will not get bored watching it … the image will show up first, then will follow the text … [telling the watcher] look the fellow has done this and the proof is here).”

This video will be uploaded and promoted through viral marketing, chips in Saini. It is like spreading rumour. An example of this viral marketing, according to Saini, is the recent riots that took place in Muzaffar Nagar of Uttar Pradesh.

Viral marketing against our opponent will be done using a fake ID and assembled laptop. Listen to Saini: “Viral marketing ke liye ek bilkul fake ID … laptop assembled (For viral marketing [we will use] a fake ID … an assembled laptop).” Both the fake ID and the laptop used thus are destroyed after they have served their purpose, without leaving a trace.

I don't actually see a problem with detailing wrongdoings of election candidates - as long as the wrongs are real and not invented slander. However, the need to use fake IDs and disposable laptops clearly indicates that the videos may not be above board.