Social networking on the Subcontinent

Orkut, India and Pakistan: Don't be a hater

Published October 11, 2006 5:26PM (EDT)

In June 2006, 5 percent of the members of Google's social networking site were Indian. As of yesterday, the numbers had jumped to 9.83 percent of a total membership of 29,553,188. India still doesn't come close to Brazil, which claims 63 percent of the Orkut population, but it's clearly rising with a bullet, and might well overtake the second position (currently held by the United States at 13 percent,) in another four or five months.

Why this has happened is anyone's guess, but the positive feedback loop inherent in the concept of network effects means it is not likely to stop any time soon. But naturally, with growth comes conflict. I noted, two weeks ago, the rise of Indian caste-based communities on Orkut. On Monday, an Indian court "served a notice on Google" for permitting "a hate campaign against India" via Orkut. The crime? The creation of an Orkut "community" called "We Hate India," illustrated with a picture of a burning Indian flag. (Thanks to India Uncut for the tip.)

The "We Hate India" community was started by a trouble-maker named Miraslov Stankovic -- among his other Orkut communities are "Israel Must Be Destroyed" and "I Hate Himmesh Reshammiya." (Reshammiya is a Bollywood singer-director.)

"We Hate India" has spawned almost a dozen "We Hate Pakistan" communities, and at least two "We Hate Those Who Hate India" that are all equally as moronic as the original cesspit of sophomoric babble. To do any of these groups the honor of elevating them to the level of "hate speech" is an utter waste of time. But this is neither the place to hang one's head at the malign stupidity embedded in human nature, nor an opportunity to contemplate the absurdity of attempting to regulate, by court order, such juvenalia.

Instead, consider this: "We Hate India" has around 100 members. That's also about the average of the "We Hate Pakistan" communities, although "We Hate Those Who Hate India" tops 1000.

Meanwhile, the community "India Pakistan Friendship Club" boasts 38,112 members, and "India Pakistan Cricket Matches" has 8189.

After inadvertently chewing on the sour feast that is "We Hate Anything," it's worth savoring those numbers, and cleansing one's palate with the introduction to "India Pakistan Cricket Matches":

"An India-Pakistan cricket match is then the clash of egos, the clash of ideals, the clash of history. It is a duel to end all duels; it is the fuel to inflame sub-continental passions. And yet there is something inherently positive achieved by such passionate encounters --- the promotion of peace and goodwill. Non-militant expression of national pride and more importantly, a peaceful atmosphere for the mingling of the people of two countries. Cricket, as the most popular of sports, is thus a perfect cathartic activity for the two frenzied sub-continental nations of India and Pakistan."

Yay catharsis.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Globalization How The World Works India Pakistan