Not for the first time, social media trolls target M.S. Dhoni. Does he really care?

Mahendra Singh Dhoni didn’t attend Ram Mandir pran pratishtha because he didn’t want to hurt "his woke Tamil fans", claims a faceless X post

M.S. Dhoni with his daughter (photo: @ChennaiIPL/X)
M.S. Dhoni with his daughter (photo: @ChennaiIPL/X)

NH Sports Bureau

As a captain of two World Cup-winning teams and one of India’s biggest cricketing heroes, Mahendra Singh Dhoni perhaps thought he had done enough to earn the admiration of the nation and its people. Most of India would tend to agree, except for some faceless bigots who masquerade as trolls on social media these days. 

The once 'captain cool' is no stranger to social media trolls, and some may recall the horrific threats against his then five-year-old daughter in 2020 in the wake of CSK's poor performance in the IPL. If recent history is any example, he will simply keep calm and carry on, as he has always done.

Nonetheless, there has been an outpouring of vitriol from these trolls over the last few days since the reclusive Dhoni failed to make himself available for the consecration ceremony of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on Monday, despite having received an invitation.

The gathering otherwise boasted the who’s who of India's sporting fraternity, along with with a strong Bollywood contingent, with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Venkatesh Prasad, Mithali Raj, Saina Nehwal, and Baichung Bhutia present on the occasion. 

Regardless of his presence at Ayodhya, the normal cricket fan would attest to the fact that Dhoni's patriotism has never been in question — right from his admiration for the Indian Army to when he refused to take a break to head back to India during the 2015 Australia tour to see his newborn daughter. ‘’I am on national duty, so everything else can wait,’’ he had famously said. 

However, trolls cannot be described as 'normal'. While a number of social media users did nothing more than unfollow him, others vilified Dhoni for not being a true follower of Ram. ‘’@mahi7781 You did not go despite the invitation #ayodhya Sri Ram Mandir that’s why I unfollow you,’’ wrote Vivekkumarsingh_009 on his X handle.  

Im_vishal_21sen posted: "Jo Ram ka nahi wo kisi kaam ka nahi (one who does not follow Ram is of no use)". One @Satya_Prakash said: ‘’No insta Story, post or tweet for Ram Mandir from India’s icon MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. An Australian cricketer David Warner shared insta story of Shree Ram.’’ 

An anonymous user called @BekaarAadmi posted: ‘’MS Dhoni didn’t attend attend Ram Mandir Pratistha bcz he didn’t want to hurt his woke Tamil fans.’’ This is a direct reference to Dhoni's legion of Chennai Super Kings fans, for whom he is the thala (leader) and will be leading the team one last time in IPL 2024. Quite ignoring the fact that CSK also has legions of fans across the country simply because Dhoni is at the helm.

Of course, it is also a reference to DMK leader and Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin’s statement of September 2023 saying "Sanatan dharma is against social justice and should hence be eradicated", leading to a bitter war of words between the BJP and the DMK.

While Virat Kohli and current India captain Rohit Sharma were spared, with the first Test match against England looming, Dhoni was given no such concession. Clearly, in the eyes of a bigot, he could have had no possible reason not to attend such a 'historic' occasion.

We can't see Dhoni caring much, though1

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