There are lot of fake news on social media, purveyed by conscious design, by professional creators of such content and disseminated over multiple platforms and millions of WhatsApp groups. Fake news serves not just to spread false information but also to popularise false binaries: secular vs nationalist, blind loyalty to the powers. The Sangh Parivar has long identified Muslims with Pakistan, Christians with western powers and alien culture and communists and followers of any shade of Left politics with national betrayal. The social media have been working overtime to reinforce these identities. The result has been to erode democracy.
Democracy is not an absolute state but an evolving process, anywhere in the world. The arrival of President Donald Trump in the US and of xenophobic leaders in various parts of Europe expose the contingent core of the so called advanced democracies. India is a young democracy, stumbling along the path to recognition of majority rule as something altogether distinct from a codified balance between individual and group rights, including minority rights. India’s polytheistic religion with great theological diversity that allows little space for deeming any religion as deviant, its multicultural society and history should actually help India evolve swiftly as a democracy.
Secular has become sickular in the parlance of social media. India’s 14% minority, the Muslims, are seen as an object of appeasement, a vote bank, rather than as the socially, economically and politically deprived group placed just above the scheduled castes and below the other backward castes in a groupwise ranking of human development.

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