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Dhruv Rathee: The Godsent counter-propagandist

By Shibangi Sinha Roy
Updated on :

In a world of fake news and propaganda, real information takes a backseat. Thankfully, more youngsters are coming out and voicing their opinions taking advantage of the visibility social media platforms provide. While fiercely opinionated partisan videos continue to dominate the cyberspace, Dhruv Rathee uses the platform to disseminate information on issues mainstream journalists generally refrain from taking on.

Mostly known for his political explosive videos with an essence of satire, Rathee has over 50,000 subscribers on his channel, which he started in 2015. Be it the controversial cow politics or AAP-BJP war, his videos are popular because of the latent dark humour he incorporates.

Here is an exclusive chat with Dhruv:

1)What was the idea behind your YouTube channel?
It wasn’t started with a certain definitive idea. I occasionally made videos on issues which I felt needed to be addressed and it grew from there. Propaganda, fake news, reality behind serious issues and logical opinions gradually went on to become the highlight of the channel. I want to educate people now, spread awareness on critical thinking and important issues, while at the same time providing solutions to everyone.
2) Did you ever expect there will be widespread acceptability to a channel that tackles serious issues?
I always believed if great content is being presented and marketed well enough, nothing can stop it from becoming widely known and accepted.
3) You are often alleged to be politically funded against the current dispensation. What do you say to them?
Haha, true, I get to hear it very often. Mostly I just reply honestly, in simple words, that I’m not funded by anyone except my parents. I don’t blame people for having this question, it is true that most of the stuff appears to be against the establishment. But what people fail to realize is that the current ruling party is the one ruling with absolute power, majority in centre and over 13 states, which statistically makes them responsible for most problems and the increasing crisis our country faces today. Digging hard to find reasons to criticize opposition when they don’t have the power to act is like beating a dead bush and I don’t think there’s any point in doing so just to “appear” neutral. The reality is skewed against rulers. Moreover, the paid media, fake news phenomena and propaganda has reached an all-time high since the last couple of years only. And there doesn’t seem to be an end to this, just look at the recently launched propaganda “news” channel by the famous noisy entertainer-pretending-to-be-a-journalist, even Kim Jong Un would be jealous looking at how effective is propaganda machinery in India today.
The most crucial things are being hidden from the public by the media and establishment via all these politics on cows and religion and caste. When the Finance Bill was passed, except for one, there wasn’t a single mainstream media channel that talked about its dangerous implications. Which is why I make videos on such subjects.
4) Considering some of your videos are critical of certain political parties, have you received any threat, intimidation from any supporter?
It is very common to receive abuses (what else are trolls there for :D), but I have pre-blocked pretty much all well known abuses from the comment sections, don’t really get to read them anymore. Now I only get to read clean criticism, which I personally think is very important to understand in order to grow further. It was imperative to filter out the constructive criticism from plain abuses.
As for proper threats, I don’t think so though I can’t really say. Maybe someone threatened me in messages but I don’t get time to read most of my inbox, so I would never know.
5) What was Dhruv Rathee doing before all of this?
Apart from normal studies, I was still casually practising and experimenting with my video-editing and film-making hobby and trying to educate people, albeit infrequently. I was always interested in learning about how the world works, having a holistic view and knowledge in all fields of life. Be it physics, psychology, politics, parkour or philosophy, I found interest in almost every possible subject.
6) What is your plan for the future?
I will continue to utilize the social media platform for spreading mass-awareness and education among people. There are many problems which can be solved if people are aware and act on them together, I would like to be more solution-oriented in the future so as to help people in improving their rational thinking and in turn, the world around them.
There is a serious lack of critical thinking among Indians, for which I would blame the rote learning in our education system and “your seniors & elders are always right” culture. This makes a lot of people very gullible, easy to get fooled through some easy marketing & PR tricks, which is very dangerous for the society on the whole. Not only does this affect our voting behavior, but it also makes us easily exploitable by advertisers, scammers, and corporations. The amount of jingoism is so crazy today that even a 5th grader can tell you how to exploit these nationalist sentiments through WhatsApp forwards. Now combine this with all the unsafe digital data in the form of aadhaar, digital transactions, it makes India a goldmine for companies and political parties waiting to gain power / money. I also believe critical thinking can solve most problems arising due to religious, caste and social differences in people.
You will also see me collaborating with India’s largest online learning platform – Unacademy. I will make knowledge oriented videos here on purely educational topics, which I feel should be known, in a fun interactive format.
7) Is there a team involved in research or are you a one man army?
Nope, research for most videos is done by me only. I just find it easier and quicker to manage it all alone. But sometimes, people have helped me or inspired me for specific videos, in that case, you would have seen them being credited in those videos itself 🙂
A lot of people do ask me on how they can help my cause, I am constantly looking for ways to get more people to contribute and get involved.

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