Somethings move forward or go backward. Word forward elucidated the movement or a player’s position in Hockey or Football. A country was developed or under developed, sometimes called backward. But as things change in life the meanings of words change too. Now the word forward implies the action of sending a message, received by someone, to the next person or a group (mostly in a hurry!) on WhatsApp!
This word has become very important in our lives but it brings out different emotions from various people. Persons are so excited on WhatsApp that if they receive a message and they like it, in their excitement, they are very uncomfortable if message is not forwarded. It is like a game of pass the parcel! They will not even bother to check if the message has been recently forwarded on the same group. I have seen same message forwarded on the same group, by different people, within 2 to ten minutes of each other, five times! Have these folks read the forwarded message..nah.. no way (in most cases)
Some are very uncomfortable if too many forwards are received by them. As in life, in this new medium of WhatsApp, there are likes & dislikes, pros and cons of doing various things. We are all learning to live in harmony. I feel that a good idea will be to define a “Forward”.
My definition of a Forward” is as below.
A message received by a person
o Which cannot be verified
o Message in which the sender may not believe- people find a way out by saying “forwarded as received”. To me all forwards are “forwarded as received”.
o Which is known not to be proven or proven in a small sample size
o So called stories assigned to dignitaries
o Anything derogatory to a race, religion or to political persons
o Suddenly flooding with 10/20/30 messages on the same subject
o Suddenly remembering old unknown patriots with some unknown stories and glorifying them.
o Glorifying India’s greatness by discussing things from mythology and trying to prove how we were scientifically advanced.
o Jingoistic stories of patriotism
o And many more
What according to me is not a forward?
An article, poem, painting created by an individual is not a forward. In a close group of friends, relatives sharing a link about something of common interest is not a forward. For example in an alumni group if they share some news link about the Alma Mater or about a classmate, I will not treat it as a forward. Sharing a link about some new things of current common interest for example “cashless transactions” is a non-forward. But sharing old story link of recession in 2008 will be a forward. Of course this statement can be challenged and there could be improved suggestions. It’s about trial and error being done on a new medium. Sharing normal news items is a big no no! Suddenly you start getting so called home photos where Jayalalitha supposedly lived? Why would groups be interested in such photos? You may suddenly get a battery 20 photos giving details of home remedies! Oh come on! Every family has its home remedies!
There is always a question asked if we cannot send “forwards” what do we do on a group? Well on one group I see that people put puzzles and discuss them and dissect them for a couple of hours to many hours. On the same group suddenly a discussion started about the hostel stay from college time. If there is a will one can discuss many different topics but people always want to find an easy way out. On some groups people discuss songs, one of the friends is a painter who shares his paintings with others. Some people share photos taken by them or their family members.
Advent of WhatsApp has proliferated Ultracrepidarian – it is pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside the area of his or her expertise. At the same time the “non-forward” group objects to information, link, article shared by an expert in that field. This is treated as breaking the rule! I understand that it is tough to find a golden mean.There is a sudden proliferation of people who have become experts on demonetization, in medical field, internet, and old mythology, Shivaji, lately on Jayalalitha and on majority of the subjects existing on the earth. This is because they just “forward” messages on any of the subjects. When challenged they get very excited and try to defend the forwards without any knowledge on the subject. When all their arguments fail they go to the last resort “Forwarded as received”. I tried to question this “Forwarded as received” by someone, I asked him if you did not believe in a message why did you forward it? He replied, “Just in case it is right, it may be useful to someone!” I had no argument on this statement. I am talking about the persons who are professionals and who have worked in large organizations and have seen the world. The interesting aspect is they don’t “own” the forward so why the need to justify? Ego?
The suggestion of non-forwards group is fought valiantly with freedom of speech argument! But what about freedom of not receiving stuff which is not sent by known people, which is not verifiable, which cannot be proven? At the end, non-forward thinkers can prevail only if they are patient, persistent and logical.
I will finally tell a story of extent to which people go and try to prove things and create stories and forwards out of the same. A story suddenly started circulating on WhatsApp about Shivthar Ghal, a valley in which Ramdas swami, Shivaji’s guru, lived. The story came with a website link about the valley. The story said that this Valley is a very special space and world’s ultimate place, where no signals from anywhere in the world reach. Ok I agree and be done with it. But story does not end there. It says that Ramdas swami wrote the treaties, Dasbodh, in the valley because of the ultimate peace the valley provided, as no signals could reach the valley. To prove this, a so called satellite signal scientist Bhopale was created. He is supposed to have tested with 24 satellite devices that no signals reached the valley. A curious person will naturally write to the website about apprehensions. They had engineer available to reply to such queries in a scientific language so that one felt that well may be it is possible! Ramdas Swami died in the year 1681! My current tools, including Google, are still searching which type of signals were present in Shivthar Ghal at that time. When there were no signals there was peace anyway! When you drive through a long tunnel, you lose your FM signal, is it not?