I keep thinking about the 23-year-old software engineer from IIT Hyderabad, who has been caught and jailed for giving a rape threat to Virat Kohli's infant daughter.

I'm glad he's being held accountable - but it's disturbing and tragic to see: this is who we are now.

His background seems antithetical to his actions:
- He studied in a premiere Indian education institution
- He worked at a top-tier food startup
- He is a software engineer who was studying to do a masters in the US
- He is from a higher socio-economic background
- He is 23!
And yet, why would a young Indian, who was well on the path of achieving the Indian 'middle-class dream', peddle in and pursue such horrific hatred?

What's more disturbing is: this is not even a question being asked, because of how normalised and endemic this hate has become.
We cannot brush this away as an individual act of online violence; we must speak of - and question - the societal and institutional failures that have led us here today, and that have helped create this powder keg of venom we're sitting on, that's about to explode any day.
This is a failure of our educational institutes:
that are teaching young Indians how to get marks in examinations and placements in companies, but not how to be decent human beings, who are sensitised to gender, equipped with empathy, and compassionate to those with lesser means.
This is a failure of our family setups:
that condition young people to get ahead in careers, get ahead in life, get ahead in money, to prioritise oneself over others, at the cost of having no empathy for anyone apart from a successful 'future self' they are doing this to benefit.
This is a failure of our fourth estate:
that is doing little to make our youth more aware, intelligent or perceptive, and are instead polarising them into believing that their fellow Indian is the enemy out to get them - and abusing them is the only way of loving your country.
This is a failure of our tech + social media firms:
that are intentionally prioritising algorithms that push outrage over concern, misinformation over truth & violence over kindness, to sell more ads or raise more capital, even if it rips the fabric of our communities & society.
This is also our collective failure:
each time we stay silent when someone we know speaks the language of violence, each time we laugh when someone shares an unkind joke, each time we share something that bullies the marginalised, we are encouraging this toxic, abusive behaviour.
We've already allowed this cancer to metasize in our homes & country; if we don't take a stand against those who perpetuate hate, we risk more youth falling through the cracks of our broken humanity.

Let's make our kindness louder than their hate: that is the only solution left.
Let me add one other important point: this is a failure of our parenting:
that teaches our boys to pray to goddesses and talk about their country as their 'mother', but treat women they don't know (and many times the ones they love too) as objects for lust, violence and abuse.
PS. A few folks have spoken about my tweet where I mention that his background *seems* antithetical; they argue it isn't.
I agree with them: I tweeted that as the premise, and then explain in the thread why it actually is *not* antithetical, and how we need to introspect on this.

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More from @tanejamainhoon

11 Oct
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Mail us on career@yuvaa.co.in.
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