Courtesy online trolls, Odisha’s much-loved sand artist Sudarsan Patnaik may ‘stop making sculptures’

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Online trolling has increasingly become a big social malaise in India many people complaining about this nuisance. Fed up with online bullying and intimidation, some have left social media and online space for good.

Faraway in Odisha,  hit hard by political trolls in the cyber parlance over his choice of work, India’s renowned sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik now says he doesn’t feel like making sand sculptures as a mark of respect for anyone anymore.

“I feel like completely stopping doing the sculptures now. I get trolled online for anything I make these days,” Patnaik, 39, said at the famous Puri Beach on Friday evening.

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Asked the real reason behind him thinking so, Patnaik, who has won several international accolades, said: “They have a problem with everything. Many of them are writing to me questioning why did I not make a sculpture for the tribals who were killed in a crossfire in the Kandhamal district. I wanted to make one but the breeze on the beach was very violent at that time. And as the days passed the matter got political.”

The Puri-based artist said a lot of trolls accused him of being a “supporter of Navin Patnaik”.

Asked if the online trolls disturb him, “of course it does”, said the artist who has been conferred a Padma Shree for his works.

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“How can someone decide what I want to make? People from Kashmir and even Pakistan are asking why I am not making sculptures on the Kashmir killings. My simple answer is that it’s me who will decide what I want to make,” he said amid a soothing breeze along the Puri beach.

“See, right now I am making a sculpture to pay my respects to the victims in the deadly Nice attack in France. Now, they will ask again as to why did I do this.”

He concluded: “I make sculptures based on the topics and events that dominate headlines and are of public interest.”

Online trolling has become a major challenge in the recent past with increasing popularity of social media sites, principally Facebook and Twitter. People take to such sites to express their views but it often takes an ugly turn if their views don’t match with others present there, leading to a heated war of words.

Celebrities, politicians, women and journalists become the easy target online.

Although there’s is no such strong provision to check online trolling in our country, in a landmark proposal, the union Ministry of Women and Child Development has proposed to set up a team to monitor people trolling women. The ministry has also introduced a hashtag — #IAmTrolledHelp — for the users to raise an alarm whenever they are trolled.

(Courtesy: Prashant on Facebook)

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