On June 5, 2015, Ram Deen called his friend in Delhi to give him a news which had overwhelmed him with excitement recently. He could not sit on his chair, he got up and started to pace in the room. The call was connected.
“Hey Ram Deen!”, Damodardas Nehru answered the call.
“I have got very exciting news for you Damodardas, check your inbox”.
Damodardas hung up the call and checked his email. There was just one sentence in the email.
“Zaid Hamid has been detained illegally in Saudi Arabia, awaiting more details from my source.”
Instantiniously a bulb was lit, with the luminosity of a million candelas, in Damodardas’s brain. This was the greatest news he had heard in the last 7 years, it was like Dewali, Holi, Christmas and Hanukkah mashed together. In his wildest imaginations he could not have imagined this happening. He had been trying his best to get rid of Zaid Hamid from the first programs on Pakistan’s TV channels. But all his contacts, influence and money spent in Pakistan was unable to stop Zaid Hamid from his work.
This was the kind of thing he had been hoping to exploit. Damodardas called a few associates, emailed his superiors, messaged his social media team members. Damodardas had thousands of trained social media teams working for him. Their task was to spread propaganda and exploit confusion. Mud slinging, spewing filth, no one could do it better than Damodardas.
His first order of business was to find out more regarding the good news he had received. He searched social media. He found this news posted on a well known social media website by a unknown news agency account. It did not have a website, office address or any other existence than on social media. In other words a news from a subsidiary of the famous gutter press. It was a start, a good one.
He and Ram Deen had a working relationship for many years. Because of their similar goals, he and Ram Deen had always gotten on well together. He knew this news to be true because Ram Deen’s information was hardly ever wrong. He forwarded this vague, unverified and unattributed post to his team member and subordinates. It was as if a spark had been introduced in dry hay, everyone started work as if on fire.
Their first order of business was to spread this news as much as possible. Embellish the message and spread it to prominent press personalities and present it as the truth. Thanks to the internet, any illiterate could spread information as he saw fit. No checks, no accountability and promise of anonymity on the internet was the best way to spread rumors and propaganda. Damodardas and his team had spent close to a decade, refining their techniques. And oddly enough, in the last decade, their only high value target had always been Zaid Hamid.
For Damodardas and his team this was the easiest task. First they created a narrative around the piece of information they had. Their narrative need not be believable, it need not be logical, they just had to spread information which would create traction. The story they put out there needed to be so unbelievable that people would spread it without evaluating it to be true or false. The tale they spun had to just go viral. After few hours of brainstorming, Mission Accomplished!
Damodardas and his team started sharing the narrative they had constructed madly on the social media websites. While his team was spreading propaganda, Damodardas gathered all the material they had made and sent it to Ram Deen. Ram Deen had his own circle of like minded people who were just as keen to malign Zaid Hamid.
“I have sent you all the material I have concocted. This is a chance of trying to discredit Zaid Hamid further. I am glad to hear about Illegal detainment of Zaid Hamid”, Damodardas told Ram Deen on the phone, after he had emailed the material.
- The name Ram Deen is taken from the collection of essays, ‘Ram Deen’, published by Mumtaz Mufti in the 1980s. Ram Deen signifies a person who is a Muslim only by name, in reality these are secular minded people of the sub-continent whom believe that they would have been in a position, much better off, had there been no separation in 1947. [Book Review]
- Damodardas Nehru, is a name created by combining the names of current Prime Minister of Indian and the first Prime Minister of India.