Sneha Dubey Anjana Om Kashyap video: When India’s first secretary to the United Nations Sneha Dubey gave it back to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for his Kashmir statement, the entire country was smitten by her. As it is in the era of social media, Dubey found instant fame for calling Pakistan “an arsonist disguising itself as a fire-fighter”. Naturally, what followed was a media frenzy around Dubey sparked by curiosity over who this sharp IFS officer is. However, Dubey refused to be drawn into the show and declined to indulge in a journo’s attempt to get more out of her than she wanted to say.
After Sneha Dubey’s UN General Assembly speech went viral on social media, she was approached by journalist Anjana Om Kashyap for a byte. Kashyap not only touched her on the arm, which felt very awkward but refused to budge from her place until Dubey showed her the door. Dubey tried everything from politely saying that she had said all that she needed to in her statement and ignoring the journo by keeping her gaze glued to her phone, but when nothing worked she got up from her seat, smiled at Kashyap and then pointed her hand back to the door from where Kashyap had come in.
Now Kashyap’s conduct in this scenario is controversial. While many have slammed her for invading the Indian Foreign Services officer’s personal space, some have argued that like Dubey, she was simply doing her job.
However, we need to talk about Dubey’s firm stance as well – in times when 15 seconds of fame are enough to cloud a person’s judgement, Dubey politely sidestepped her chance to encash her instant popularity. It reminded me of the recent interviews given Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Neeraj Chopra who responded with a “dur se namaste” to RJ Malishka’s statement that she wanted to hug him. He smiled through awkward questions about his love life as well. However, when Arshad Nadeem got targetted by social media after Chopra’s comment on having to retrieve his javelin from the Pakistani javelin thrower was distorted and misinterpreted.
“Don’t use my comments to further your dirty agenda,” Chopra responded to the trolling. It shocked many because celebrities and sporting personalities are expected to be neutral, and often refrain from making strong statements targeting agenda-driven politics.
How Dubey and Chopra have handled social media fame, ensuring (so far) that they don’t get carried away by it is a big lesson for us. It is easy to give in to the temptation of stretching the limit’s of fame and momentary popularity, it is convenient to not say anything, but such behaviour also enables trolls and journalists to cross boundaries that they are not supposed to with other people.
Sneha Dubey and Neeraj Chopra have showcased the importance of drawing well-defined boundaries in times of aggressive journalism and trends that don’t last over a day. Fame can come and go, but integrity always stays with a person and earns them true respect.
Views expressed are the author’s own.
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