"I urge users of social media to be cautious. Social media outlets are not to be fooled around with."
The latest social media rumour swirling around Lata Mangeshkar is that she has sung her last recorded song as her health is deteriorating.
It has left one of India's most beloved singers displeased about the ease with which false statements are made on social media.
She is also unhappy about the fact that messages of her death and the death of other celebrities are regularly circulated on social media. "How many times will they kill me or Bachchan Saab or Yusuf Saab (Dilip Kumar)?" she asks.
She urges people to be cautious as she speaks to Subhash K Jha about this huge problem society is facing today. "One dangerous WhatsApp message can lead to mob violence and communal conflicts."
One more attempt to spread false rumours about your health?
I don't understand why there's the need to report so negatively about my health. It's almost as though a section of the social media enjoys the idea of bad news about me.
That's a ghoulish thought.
There is an unhealthy trend on social media to kill off or hospitalise people who have created a name for themselves.
We can see this as a sign of desperation in a society hungry for news.
Sadly, sensational headlines have taken over from real news. Achchi khabar mane boring khabar, buri khabar means TRPs and trending on the Internet.
So what is your solution to this terrible problem?
I have no solution.
You can't stop people from spreading vicious rumours unless the government makes a law to prevent it.
And how many times will they kill me or Bachchan Saab or Yusuf Saab (Dilip Kumar)?
Repeated attempts to create news out of our lives make the audience/reader immune to tragedy. My fear is that people will start treating such false reports as a joke even when it is true.
How would you describe your presence on social media?
I use it to remember my colleagues on their birth and death anniversaries. I have no interest in sharing my day-to-day routine on social media.
How did you handle false gossip about yourself in your heydays?
I didn't. My well-wishers did. No one wrote nonsense about me. When someone did, people reacted very strongly to the canard.
Do you hope to see a falsehood free social media?
Not in my lifetime.
Falsehoods have become a part of our DNA. We can't help projecting lies as sansani khez khabar.
This is a volatile medium and it is still in its infancy. People are experimenting with their thoughts and ideas.
One dangerous WhatsApp message can lead to mob violence and communal conflicts.
I urge users of social media to be cautious. Social media outlets are not to be fooled around with.
Photographs: Kind courtesy Lata Mangeshkar/Twitter