Tasneem Rosner, The Legacy Of Social Media

Tasneem Rosner
Founding/ Director
Washington D.C. Metro Area

“I am passi onate about Government and Politics, Social and Political Theory, International Politics, World Religions, Conflict Resolution, Art, Psychology, Cultures Sociology and Anthropology. My objective is to work for peace and understanding in positive ways through research, writing , personal life-examples and my Organization ; I work and do social and academic advocacy for causes related to poverty, hunger, special and medical needs , human rights and social differentiations. Important to me, - I like to help build international and cultural amity and cooperation ; and understand, appreciate and try maximally to bridge-build between diverse national, cultural and religious and social contexts” ( Profile Linkedin)

These are my views and thoughts in response to a post shared by Tahira Shah on the Facebook. Originally , the post was written by Fiona Childe. The latter underlined the problematic sense of comparison with others that the social media brings up in us. But commendably, Fiona asks us to believe in our own uniqueness. In other words, encourages us to have our own , what I would rather ideally call, heart song, so to speak.

A deep insight shared here. I find this very thought-provoking .! Sets me thinking ! Hence, may say a few words about this ( actually a thousand) : Jokes apart, Fiona has highlighted one of the main disadvantages of the social media that we ordinarily don't think about much : the comparisons. She then profoundly asks us to be ourselves and have our own unique heart song. Now, indeed that is beautiful ! As far as the comparison goes, it may exist at a subtle level perhaps at times, but we must understand that we have all been visited by the Dame Destiny in one or the other way. Some may not even venture talking about it; some may be too private and only show a jovial side of the life through the pictures and so forth. Some are just very quiet folks. Comparisons that Fiona refers don't occur 2 us off the bat , but it is possible that they could or do exist at a subtle level; I don't really see what is there to compare all about and why ? We all realize and recognize that we all r very different. And thank God 4 that we are.!!!
Each one of us is a universe in itself and we all learn constantly something from each other, regardless of age, color, background, education, economic privilege, or our station in life. I really find that there r sometimes the hidden nuggets and pearls of thought, ideas and wisdom; It is like a sudden awakening in us wrought by and evoked inadvertently by one or more of the comments, posts , thoughts , or a picture of one of our FB friends. It sets us thinking deeply, though productively. It happens to me with Nighat hafiz's posts sometimes . They plunge me sometimes into philosophy, at other times into esoteric, other times in theology or spiritualism and so forth. Some other friend's posts and comments, even though brief, raise a plethora of swirling emotions and sentiments; some help us dream and aspire; some force us to reflect on life and phenomena , some fill us with pathos, some others with a simultaneous though powerful sense of apathy, empathy, sympathy and commiseration . It is a given fact naturally that we can't be similar or exactly alike -- that would be the utmost travesty of the nature.! God meant to make each one of us different so that the world is a far more interesting , unique and myriadly diverse place than we would like it to be . Can U imagine a planet full of carbon-copied Homo Sapiens.? " La Howle Walla ", meaning 'May God Forbid '-- I would say.!
Just the thought of it is so deeply disturbing and unaesthetic because that would deprive us of so much variety, beauty, diversity and cheer. But we also realize that each one of us views and treats social media a tad differently perhaps ---depending on what we believe in or how we feel or perceive life, the factor of privacy , other people & things etc. Some of us may use it just as a "Hi, hello" forum; some of us to stay in constant or off-and-on touch ; some to create a social forum of like-minded ; some to open up more of themselves ; some may even use it as an outlet for social, cultural and political reform ; some to vent or just hint about their inner-most thoughts, awakenings and rumblings. Some may use the social media instrumentally as the additional launching pad 4 their businesses or for new idea/s. All this can go in hundreds of multitudinous ways and directions .
The important thing to remember and note should be that we don't become judgemental about other friends or any of the friends on the social media. Afterall here is finally in the 21st century an evolutionary sphere of the foundings and workings of a dialogic community. It has the tremendous potential to maximally ensure our continued dialogue and its interactive potential and competence . Along with such dialogue would automatically evolve both a short-term and long-term productivity, openness, competence and comfort-level with not just the technological advancements of which the internet is a bulwark and a symbol. It would also help evolve and contribute to two important areas, our public and private sphere, as these interactive groups of people discuss and dialogue more often. These two spheres or realms acquire prominent importance for anyone like me who studies the Social (& Political) Sciences in any form or manner. I will return to this point/argument (of 2 realms) shortly in the paragraph below. For our purposes here, one can say that the FB , LinkedIn, Twitter and a host of other social media , if used appropriately, helps evolve a sense of common direction, purpose, history and culture.
I see some reflection of this when I read some important as well as casual posts and comments of our FB Friends who have originated and Live/ or have lived in Kashmir, for example. At best it reflects a gradual evolution of a national conscience as well as a common shared experience of history, culture and society. Mr. Autar Mota's pictures of William Carpenter's art depicting the places , markets, shrines and the monuments around the turn of the century evoke such strong sense of a unique experience and aura. In addition, his beautiful superb poem on "Badam Vaer" and the ensuing deep nostalgia that it struck in the subsequent conversation and comments of the FB friends , are prime examples of this genre in my opinion. I can't forget the experience, when suddenly, across the bridge of the time, I felt ( and many must have felt this way perhaps) I was making acquaintances with a character, - Mr. Daena . The latter seemed as interesting , twisted, archaically funny, serious, savy and complex as some characters in Charles Dickens novels. Bakshi Anwar Aftab's "- what I consider to be an iconic picture - of "The Pahalgam Princess" and her symbolic innocence and smile, has permanenetly stuck to my mind.

Now back to the point mentioned above --the point/factor that I have always profusely wondered about and pondered over is -- as to how we all in kashmir (or those of kashmiri background/origin ) or, for that matter (in other societies or social systems) have thought of the need for essential harmony of the relationship of our private and public sphere. I bring this up because I believe , in Kashmir, the lack of coordination and harmony in these two spheres is chronically present. Have we ever agonized over the current or past dichotomy between our general and private good?! The answer is both a "yes" and a "No" : Yes, because I have seen some clear dismay, expressed annoyance, deep disenchantment, and obvious disillusionment in varied degrees among the posts and comments of certain friends. This does give an indication that they r deeply aware of many dichotomies, including this one . No, because, afterall the social media can become a theoretical social force, but not necessarily a concretized, interpretable political-social action. The question arises what we all can do about all this ? That question may be answered in time as the social media evolves further.
The prime fact remains that the essential first step, i., e., the awareness, the dialogue , the conversation should be there to begin with as a prelude. The awareness is both a prefix as well as a suffix to a central theme -- in this case of improvement and reform. The awareness of a problem is always the first launching pad or platform for any effective social, cultural or political action and its subsequent outcome. We know this to be an indisputable fact that in kashmir, just like in any other society, the private and public spheres are inextricably woven and linked together.They go hand in hand.
It is obvious to the observers of the historical evolution of the social media as well as the socio-political systems that when both spheres are ensured progress evenly - they both prosper. Consequently so does the community, people and the great Polities in question. As the History is strongly indicative, in the history of nations, no single nation has made any remarkable progress if its people or Governments choose to subject , sacrifice or neglect the public sphere for the private good. Or, in other words, the private advantage , personal good or welfare was/is unscrupulously chosen over the general public good.The opposite, i., e., only nurturing public sphere excessively over and above the private good is also harmful for the progress of the communities/people. So neither extreme is good obviously. This would be , in essence, qualitatively different when both spheres are or will be helped to improve evenly in any given society which might be indicative of a critical lag as mentioned above. And this includes kashmir as well , for example.
I have seen the sparks of this kind of feeling , i.,e., what I call an evolving discursive community of our Kashmiri FB Friends on the social media. I have noted the rumblings of many a socially-pertinent thoughts; many a voices; many a feelings , some subtle and many not-so-subtle , but all a part of a dialogue. Dialogue leads to synchronicity; The synchronicity leads to synthesis. So I keep reiterating the fact that a discursive community or forum leading to dialogic synthesis is an essential harbinger of a deep awareness and subsequent progress of those communities. In a far-fetched , although a definite manner, social media can foster those changes and outcomes for our society as well , if used maturely. The famous Chinese proverb that is one of my favorite quotations, goes: " the journey of a thousand miles starts with one single step". The social media inherently has the potential of doing that; so its power can not be underestimated entirely.
It also ensures connectivity; connectivity factor is very critically important boost and lifeline for humans as Social beings. We get to know a whole lot of nice, productive and fantastic people we would not have known otherwise. We get to acknowledge other's talents and ideas and share other's grief, thus becoming less of our narcissictic and self-absorbed selves. For a change, we learn to appreciate others than just merely indulge in (thanks to Muzaffar Aazim for reviving the memory of this famous Kashmiri saying lately in me, which goes) "CHHAM HA CHHITT TA CHHAMA KANSI" ( When translated loosely, it means ," I have got the fabric/print, and no one else does'.) As I view it, Social Media is not, in essence, a place for issuing judgement/s , but rather for ensuring positive reinforcements ; I agree with Fiona that it is not a place for competition. It is rather for appreciation of a higly dynamic and diverse talents-smorgasbord. Let us hail and revel in the Social aspects of the media for now , until something drastically changes about it in the real time , going forward . Let us meanwhile enjoy the connectivity, the conversation, the discursive quality and have the heart-song that Fiona and Tahira and all those who shared the post of my inspiration , brought us today.