Snapchat vs the Sensitive Indian


Snapchat vs the Sensitive Indian

Illustration: Akshita Monga

Let’s close our eyes and say a prayer for Snapchat. A target has been painted on their backs and it isn’t going to fade away in 24 hours. So take a selfie with a mournful filter and shed a tear, because it’s time, dearly beloved, for Snapchat to be put to rest.

It has now become painfully obvious that Snapchat must die. And along with it must die also Snapdeal, snap pea, and even the very word snap. In fact, Indian children across kindergartens will no longer be allowed to “snap their fingers and clap their hands.” A petition calling for a ban on the nursery rhyme is doing the rounds and one billion Indians are expected to sign it.

Snapchat and Evan Spiegel do not know the magnitude of what they have done by taking on our madly beating patriotic hearts that collectively yell, “Tu jaanta nahi mera maa kaun hai? Bharat Mata,” even when we’re fast asleep.

Spiegel should have known better. He should have learnt from celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, who discovered earlier this month, that even a badly made medu vada comes under the Protection of Patriotism Act. India is a holy cow, and everything from its medu vada to its slums is sacred, never to be mentioned disparagingly, be it in a tweet or an Oscar-winning Hollywood movie. Danny Boyle also realised that he cannot just make a movie about our slums and reference our poverty without Photoshopping the ugly bits, so why would Spiegel get away with straight out calling India poor? How dare he? We may have the highest number of people living below the poverty line, but hell, we are not poor. We may love to live in denial, but we are not poor.

Even as we speak, some of the country’s top technology innovators are at work, creating a desi alternative to this anti-India app – ShubhChat.

Even before Spiegel spoke (and we are not even sure if he did), gau rakshaks, India’s new moo-ral police, should have started a morcha against Snapchat because it released a dog filter and a bee filter way before it released a cow filter. The app’s saucy reputation as a convenient sexting medium cannot possibly go down too well with the custodians of our culture. With the app tiptoeing around the lines of propriety in this manner, it was only a matter of time before #SENDNUDES turned into #BOYCOTTSNAPCHAT.

So, for the last few days, Indians have put aside the business of living their lives and are busy boycotting Snapchat. They are downloading Snapchat only to delete it, taking potshots at its CEO, and even going after his fiancée. It’s part of our culture, isn’t it? We troll Anushka Sharma every time Virat Kohli does not meet our expectations.

Amid all this, a group of inventive Indian hackers went a step ahead and claimed to have leaked over one million Snapchat users’ data. Our sense of justice and nationalism is so strong that the million plus users’ compromised privacy was not a concern at all. In fact, our leading Hindi news channel, Aaj Tak, featured this story of triumph with great pride.

But do not mourn Snapchat’s death. Even as we speak, some of the country’s top technology innovators are probably at work, creating a desi alternative to this anti-India app – ShubhChat. An app that promises to be sanskari and India-friendly. An app that includes an auto-response feature to #SENDNUDES which sends a photo of Nirupa Roy in a white saree, and more importantly an app that blacklists those who use the hashtags poor, third world, and slum.

So it is with absolutely no regret that we send off Snacphat to the Great Offence Party in the Sky, where it can enjoy the esteemed company of Salman Rushdie’s and Wendy Doniger’s books, MF Husain’s paintings, and Fawad Khan’s films. Farewell, dear friends, you will be missed. Not.