India x Rihanna 2021 Controversy: Here’s All We Know

The farmer’s protest in India started on 26th November 2020 and the reason that led hundreds of farmers to come down on the streets to protest was the opposition to both the farm law reform and proposed changes to labour law. For 3 months now the farmers have been demanding for the law to be withdrawn and with the end of 2020 and the start of 2021, these protests started gaining more attention from people across the globe such as Rihanna as the government continues to deny taking action as per farmers’ demand.

Rihanna, Farmers Protest
Activists of United Hindu Front (UHF) hold a placard and pictures of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and Barbadian singer Rihanna during a demonstration in New Delhi on February 4, 2021, after they made comments on social media about mass farmers’ protests in India.

On Tuesday (2nd February 2021) the Barbadian singer, actress, businesswoman, and pop-sensation Rihanna tweeted about the ongoing protest with a link to a CNN article titled “India cuts internet around New Delhi as protesting farmers clash with police” and captioned it “Why aren’t we talking about this? #FarmersProtest“. The tweet went viral and took the Indian media by a storm questioning her and painting her tweet in the colour of propaganda. Her Tweet indeed came as an eye-opener on a worldwide platform. The fact that the entire world is watching the unrest, protests, and marches and that the Indian Government has yet to come to an agreement on the three contentious Farm Bills really puts things in perspective for everyone.

A few hours later, Swedish climate crisis activist Greta Thunberg tweeted in solidarity with the farmers’ protest as well. Next to tweet on this topic was Meena Harris, lawyer, and niece of the U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, followed by Mia Khalifa. The tweets are as follows:

Soon after, the Indian government’s Ministry of External Affairs released a statement that reiterated its stand on the controversial laws and said that groups with “vested interests” are trying to mobilize international support against India.

“We would like to emphasize that these protests must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity”. “The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible,” it stated.

Furthermore, most of the Indian mainstream media has been reporting a different narrative of the farmers’ movement, which sides with the Indian government’s point of view for their own best interest birthing propaganda yet again. Leading EGI to tweet the following.

While the tweet by Rihanna is not wrong on any level but rather, it is the right thing to be done, it gathered horrible response from certain factions of the Indian population. There was a significant rise in Google searches relating to her religion and her affiliation to Pakistan. Humanity stoop to an all-time low as people started making memes relating to abuse using her images justifying everything that is wrong.

People tried to find links between her and the Muslims, Khalistan, Pakistani supporters and even questioned whether it was a paid Tweet or if she was a farmer’s union minister paid by Congress or other political parties. Evidently, none of the claims is true, and it is clear that those who were in favour of the government oppressing and vilifying farmers were just clamouring to push their agendas by spreading hate.

People started congratulating Chris Brown for abusing Rihanna and he is a convicted felon (horrible). These trolls running to a criminal and abuser like Chris Brown is a depiction of the state of mind of the afore-mentioned trolls. India, as a country, currently stands on such a fragile ego-maniac ground that folks are ready to resort to abuse of any kind to prove a point or to just create havoc and shameful deeds.

Bollywood – Before & After Rihanna’s Tweet!

Bollywood was in slumber before RiRi’s tweet it seems. Very few people from the fraternity talked sense about the protest but other than those nobody spoke about the same, neither in its favour nor against it. Not a single influential A-lister talked. While Punjabi singer Diljit Dosanjh supported the movement as a sensible human should, Kangana Ranaut, Bollywood’s mindless right-winger who often blabbers on the keyboard chose an ugly road – slut-shaming her and called her a fool among other things when the latter questioned the deafening silence about the biggest protest in a while. To Right-winger Kangana, farmers are terrorists. SHAMEFUL!

Trigger Warning: Slut-Shaming

After the entire shenanigan oven a right thing done by Rihanna, Bollywood didn’t miss a chance to jump on the bandwagon with their opinions all of a sudden. Actors, directors, players like Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan, Karan Johar, Ekta Kapoor, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, etc too had things to say. While the list is endless here are some of their tweets:

While some of these celebrities showcased their cowardice with utmost brilliance, some saved our day with sense and mind. Here are some more tweets for you to choose your role models wisely!

The list is huge and there is no end to this debate and controversy over Rihanna’s tweet. Indians have managed to file a complaint against Thunberg in Delhi and there is no possible sensible solution to this. Regarding the protests – To break the logjam, the government has proposed to put the laws on hold for 18 months, but the farmers’ unions have not budged and it only makes sense. Summing up, Bollywood has always been dubious regarding its stand on any matter, whether it’s farmers dying or actors committing suicide. All we hope is some sense and sensibility for the folks of India and more power to everyone who stood up despite every single troll who tried pulling them down!

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