Online world Labelled This Malayali Singer as ‘India’s Taher Shah’ : Now She Has Been Living in A Nightmare
Thiruvananthapuram, June 8: It was sometime in the evening — three days after Jacintha Morris’ video was uploaded on YouTube — when she got a frantic call from her son-in-law. Morris, who was attending a local literary group meet-up, had ignored the first call. She would, of course, call him back later. However, the phone wouldn’t stop ringing. An alarmed Morris excused herself from the meeting only to hear a strange, terrifying news she couldn’t make any sense of. The song called ‘Is Suzainne a sinner?‘ she had recently written, sang and turned into a video, she was told, was making life miserable for her children.
“‘Do you know what all people are calling you?’ my son-in-law shouted. ‘They have called you a whore, a slut, a sex maniac, a crazy woman,’ he told me. ‘Please take the video down Mummy. We can’t step out of the house otherwise’, he requested. I couldn’t understand who is saying all those things,” Morris tells.
Fifty-two-year-old Morris says she barely manages to operate Facebook, forget figuring out how YouTube works. So after ‘Is Suzainne a sinner?‘ ‘ was released in form of a CD in her hometown Trivandrum, an acquaintance who helps her manage some of her social media accounts, uploaded the video on YouTube.
The first two days went fine. There were a few thousand hits on the video, she was told. On the third day morning, the acquaintance informed her that the views have spiked steeply. Morris still had no clue what was up. “It was good to know people are watching the video,” she remembers. And then in the evening, that call from her son-in-law came.
“I couldn’t figure who was saying such terrible things. Then, my children, started sending me the comments on WhatsApp. Some sent pictures of the comments on the YouTube page,” she says. That was still the tip of the iceberg.
Within a day, several fake profiles were set up in Morris’ name, some of them leading to pornographic content. “People started scanning my Facebook profile. Some of them tagged me in posts saying nasty things. I initially didn’t know how to delete them – everyone on my friend-list could see those dirty comments, I was told,” she says, adding, she got someone to delete those comments and untag her.
People she knew told her that they didn’t want to face the consequences of the ‘rubbish’ she has done. In a week’s time, the same thing her family applauded her for, had turned into a liability which they desperately wanted to get rid off. “I was also told, it won’t be easy. Everyone has seen it. Everyone knows my name. Everyone has taken pictures from the video. It can’t be undone,” she says in a small voice. Suddenly, Morris was left to deal with the idea that she has committed, what she calls, ‘a great crime’. “I really couldn’t say why these people were doing this. I have never hurt anyone and all I wanted to do was make an entertaining video which also gives a message.”
‘Is Suzainne a sinner?’ went viral on social media, with several websites calling her India’s answer to Taher Shah. Morris pulled down the video immediately a day after it was written about by several news and entertainment sites.
Fed up of being trolled, however, Morris decided to ‘keep faith in herself and God’. So, she put the video back up on her Facebook page today.
“A lot of websites have apparently written about it, my children told me. They have only mocked me and said terrible things. We can’t delete those reports anyway,” she adds.
‘Is Suzainne A Sinner’, Morris says, was meant to talk about social evils that no one talks about in the open. She says her song meant to ask people, especially men, if they think twice before labelling women “sluts, whores, and bad influences”. Morris, who has been working in a Central government office for over two decades, says she had met several Malayali women who led ‘perfect’ lives when they were young. Later in life, they were driven to desperation, heartbreak and desires. “Does anyone want to know why they do, what they do? They are quick to label these women terrible things, they will comment on them and gossip, but what changes these women?” she asks.