The internet is an overwhelming place. There are pages ranging from videos of cats falling down to a whole network of online social justice warriors who have taken it upon themselves to be vigilantes of the virtual. With the advent of the world wide web, people find it very easy to spread hatred. A small trigger online can set off a chain reaction leading to a lot of hatred that all of us have fallen prey to, at some point.
A small section of the bespectacled battalion of engineers our nation produces every year, much like in the famous Another Brick In The Wall video, have taken it upon themselves to let a student from Oxford University know that solving an IIT-JEE test with ease and bragging about it is the worst crime anyone can commit in modern India.
Jack Fraser, a third-year Physics student at University of Oxford, has a thriving profile on popular social platform, Quora, that lets users ask and answer questions related to topics they are interested in. He has answered over 2,000 questions about physics and has developed a following. His profile is full of questions like "How much time does Jack Fraser spend researching a question before answering?" and "will Jack Fraser ever write a book?" So, when someone asked Fraser about JEE, he decided to give it a shot.
"I thought it would be a laugh to sit down and do the paper, and see how I did. There were two papers, about 80 multiple choice questions each," he wrote on Quora. "Now. This is where I made my mistake. I told them how I breezed through it. I did it in about a third of the allowed time, and with 100 percent correct answers."
Fraser immediately started receiving hate mail from Indians on Quora, even after the post qualified the fact that it was expected that as a third year student of physics at one of the best universities in the world, he would be able to complete the paper easily, and in fact, it would be rather shameful if he couldn't, said an article by Factordaily.
"This is a high school-level paper, taken by 17 year olds who haven't spent 3 years at university studying physics", he wrote on his Quora wall. Fraser faced a ton of abuse. Not just on Quora, but on Facebook as well, where they found Fraser's profile, repeatedly reported his profile picture for "indecency", and sent vile abusive messages to his Facebook inbox, the article added.
"My mother got some graphic pictures of male genitalia. My brother got sent threats. My Facebook profile picture was reported for graphic indecency a few times, and I had a flood of abusive message appearing in my message request box. One guy sent me a picture of my old university accommodation, saying they knew where I lived, and that he was going to shiv me. It was really rather traumatic," he was quoted as saying in a report by India Today.
He said that the problem escalated faster than he could fathom. "It's not so much that the response was on Quora " indeed, the problem was that it escalated beyond the bounds of Quora. I'm not going to answer any more questions about the JEE. It seems like it's a bit too touchy a subject! This would have been more threatening if it wasn't the top result when you google trinity college oxford. And if I still lived there, which I don't," he posted on his Quora wall, according to a report by The Indian Express.
In the post, he says that the problems slowly went away after the post was deleted and Facebook took necessary precautions to block unwanted messages. He also said that he received a lot of apologies on behalf of the people abusing him online. "PS. To the hundreds of people flooding to the comments section and my inbox to apologise for these people and assert that it's not all Indians " no need. I am in fact madly in love with one of your countrywomen, and am perfectly aware that this is a small, idiotic minority. There is no need to fret that I am tarring all Indians with the same brush." View More