Suddenly in recent years, a handful of voices have emerged on social media with strong political ideas, thoughts and influences. These voices gathered a growing power and momentum in 2019. They are expected to grow stronger in the coming years.
1. Swara Bhaskar: A powerful actress whose career received an unexpected boost when her voice began to be heard on Twitter. Swara speaks on issues ranging from rape to corruption to masturbation. She is clear in her anti-establishment views and not afraid to express her opinion at the risk of being trolled (read: abused) mercilessly by those who don’t agree with her strong immovable ideology. Swara feels one needs to have thick skin to withstand the blows of the trolls. But she can take the heat. She has proven herself a warrior of dissension.
2. Sona Mahapatra: A singer by profession, a protester by right, Sona Mahapatra is scathing in her indictment of incidents of sexual discrimination and unrelenting in her criticism of celebrity-pampering. At the risk of taking on Salman Khan’s fans, Ms Mahapatra has dared to point out the anomalies, aberrations and contradictions in being the physical manifestation of the fable of the Emperor’s clothes. It is believed that it was Ms Mahapatra’s relentless criticism of music composer Anu Malik’s reinstatement as a judge on a singing reality-show that got him out of it. For the MeToo accused in Bollywood, Sona Mahapatra is Enemy No.1.
3. Anupam Kher: Though his affiliation to the Establishment is well-known, Anupam’s is a voice that carries weight and clout. His interests range into the far-reaching recesses of humanism and he seems to genuinely feel for the downtrodden. However, his political leanings do tend to limit his power and influence.
4. Priyanka Chopra: Celebrity influencers like Virat Kohli, Deepika Padukone are known to treat social media as big business. Apparently Mr Kohli charges one crore for every Tweet. One doesn’t know how far this is true. But among this elite circle of celebrity influencers, Priyanka Chopra stands out with her power to influence and mould public opinions and tastes. Sadly she uses most of the social media space to write about her marriage and pet canine. But when she does rise above the personal, she makes her point tellingly.
5. Farhan Akhtar: With his combination of social-political, savvy and pithy, non-toxic humour, Farhan often draws attention to burning social issues, even at the risk of burning his own fingers. Not afraid to stand up for what he thinks to be right, Farhan’s voice reaches far and wide. His recent comments in the Government’s Citizens’ Amendment Act bill have provoked a lot of extreme responses. But Farhan isn’t afraid to speak his mind.