Wali Rahmani and his crusade against fake news

Asia Contributor
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Wali Rahmani

He has just stepped into his 20s. He is one of the most-heard young voices on the Indian social media. This young man doesn’t mince his words. He is a relentless fighter. And yet he doesn’t believe in hurting anyone, for the only ammunition in his armory is love. Wali Rahmani, 21, one of India’s brightest youth icons. Wali comes from Kolkata, West Bengal. His father Md. Shafiuddin Rahmani owns a leather factory, and mother Shabnam is a homemaker. Over the past few years Wali Rahmani is based in Delhi, studying law.

Wali Rahmani and his battle against misinformation

Unlike most people of his age, however, Wali’s hands are full nearly 24 X7. Besides his studies, whatever time he finds is spends in research and studies. But in issues that are not in any way directly related to his academic course. The knowledge and information from this hard work is spent wholly in a crusade that is of utmost importance in today’s digital world. A crusade against fake news and misinformation. Often purposefully disseminated by extremely wealthy and powerful lobbies with vested socio-political interests.

One of Wali’s major preoccupations is to make citizens aware about issues that are of utmost importance. His struggle on the social media against communal hatred and misinformation is relentless. And his only goal is to make people at large understand and process in their minds complicated issues pertaining to governance, policies, constitutional obligations of those in power, irrespective of political colour.

Media then and social media now

It’s not an easy task by any means. Simply because his opponents are often powerful lobbies who trade in the politics of division and hatred. Wali is particularly disturbed with the current tendency of a portion of the mainstream media to sidestep important issues. They remain on the right side of the ruling powers that be. “In my schooling days I was taught that media is the eye and ear of the people as the fourth pillar of democracy. But how true is it now? Media is no more the fourth pillar of democracy. We have paid media houses which have become business houses today,” said Wali in a recent interview. Thus, he feels, a vast section of the society is not being provided with the true picture of the state, economy and society.

Wlai is also extremely worried about the dangers of overdependence on the social media as well. “Today the WhatsApp authenticity has become much more than the authenticity of books. People have started referring WhatsApp for facts check. It seems that soon a time will come our premier universities like JNU and BHU will have lesser influence than this WhatsApp ‘university’,” warns Wali. His concern is based on the solid unshakable logic that in a country where the supreme state power is handed over to individuals and parties through universal franchise, disinformed voters are bound make dangerously wrong decisions when they use their valuable ballots.

Wali Rahmani still has Hope

Over the past couple of years Wali’s crusade against injustice has not remained limited to the virtual world alone. In April 2018 Wali founded an organisation named Umeed (Hope). This organisation took under its wings 10 malnourished, underweight, destitute children, to begin with. The idea was to take complete charge of their health and education. The number has since gone up to 23. Overwhelmed by the love they get in Umeed, these kids fondly call Wali ‘Abbaji’, father. Hence the good natured joke that goes around in Wali’s circle: Come and meet a 21 year old boy, who is the father of 23!!

 

(Written by Author and Translator Nilanjan Hajra)

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