In the good old days when kings sat in their castles and sent their men into battle, quite often, guards from his fort watchtowers would shout, “Lone horseman riding to the fort!” And soon, they would identify him through his banner as one of their own, coming from the battlefield and let him in, where tired and exhausted he would be led directly to the king.

“We have lost the battle your majesty!” he would blurt out and quite often in his rage, the king would in a fit of temper draw his sword to kill the man.

“Don’t kill me, I'm just the messenger!” the poor man would shout falling at the king’s feet.

Today as I see social media, especially WhatsApp being blamed for riots, and incidents of lynching, I think the same is happening; we are blaming the messenger!

Let us look at the old messenger, the fellow who rode in on his horse again, why did he hurry to the king? So, his majesty could take preventive measures; like sending more troops, raising his drawbridge, or fleeing to a safer place to do battle later.

In the same way social media of today, which I liken to the messenger of yore, is helping such preventive measures in a big way: Today, people know that any act of violence can be filmed, but more than just filmed it can be flashed in a jiffy to thousands and millions, and knowing this, such violent acts, which otherwise would have been a daily occurrence are actually being prevented.

Social media has become the policing of the world! Yes, there are sporadic cases of lynching, rapes, assaults on women and so on, but there’s always the fear somebody is recording the whole act and they will be caught and punished.

What we don’t see is the marvellous work of the messenger in preventing crimes, maybe hundreds and thousands of them.

What we are told about is a riot here or a lynching there, spread through miscreants using social media.

Today, the country is actually a safer place because of our smartphones, the CC cameras, and finally the powerful ability of social media to reveal the truth to the world like nothing else can.

‘Why?’ I ask, ‘Do you want to kill the messenger?’

Do we want the only safeguards many of us have to be removed?

Do we want terror and injustice, rapes, lynching incidents, assaults on journalists, and molestation of women, not to be exposed, hidden and thus increase?

Is that the reason we want to kill the messenger? If the video on the horrible Manipur rapes had not come out, we would never have known how serious the situation is up there and thousands of many more such incidents would have happened. 

So don’t shoot the messenger, because the nation and world wants to know..!

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