If Bengaluru were Gotham, Dushyant Dubey (u/St_Broseph) would be Batman, according to the ‘Bengaluru subreddit,’ a Reddit group dedicated to the city. Better known as St Broseph, he has developed a name for himself as the go-to “contact” for anyone on the forum with an issue.
On 11 December last year, he put up a post on Reddit titled: Let me be your “contact” for when cops/rowdies/anyone harasses you in Bangalore. In his post, he said, “I’ve always been a ‘Broseph’ to all my friends. If anyone needs any help in my extended circle, they come to me.”
It’s one of the sub’s most upvoted and rewarded posts. He helps in various ways, including counsel, emotional support, the correct contacts, and, on occasion, money. Here’s how he does it!
The Go-To Contact
Dushyant Dubey, unlike Bruce Wayne, is not a billionaire. Mr Dubey, a marketing manager at Mahindra, moved to Bengaluru six years ago and began creating a network by attending events hosted by local politicians and volunteering with NGOs and social workers.
He told The Print, “The first month I moved here, I found out about a political event. I went and asked the organizers if they needed help. And they did. I was asked to man the doors and guide the attendees.” He added that he made ten political contacts that day, and the BJP hosted it.
He further told them, “I’ve attended events and helped people from across the political spectrum.” “When I go to these events, I ask the politicians what I can do for them instead of asking for favours.”
Dubey claims that his attitude to politicians and authorities makes them more eager to help him when the occasion arises.
That’s how he met former Bengaluru police commissioner Bhaskar Rao, who recently joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Dubey praises Rao for empowering him through citizen engagement programmes organized by the latter during his term as commissioner. Today, Dubey has an extensive network of friends, cops, politicians, and NGO s from which he seeks assistance whenever Reddit users contact him.
He does not have access to every DCP in the city, so his network comes in here. He says, “I ask people if they are connected to the DCP in their area and to speak to the police and put in a good word regarding the case.”
Then he asks the individual who contacted him to come to the station and explain their situation. If the DCP cannot assist, the next step is approaching the police commissioner. However, he says, “But it has never come to that.”
Here’s How He Does The Miracle!
The Reddit forum is flooded with daily postings, including news items, pet adoption requests, comments on start-up culture, dating tips, and questions like where to find Kannada novels and the best eateries. The page also receives reports of harassment by the Bengaluru Police and hefty bribes paid by users when the Reddit community cannot assist, ‘Mr Fix-it’ steps in.
A user stated, “Nowadays whenever I see a post explaining someone facing an issue, I expect this man’s words to already be there on the top.”
Mr Dubey claims that the nature of the situations he deals with requires him, among other things, to assist people in writing FIRs. Recalling a recent incident of eve-teasing in which he helped a woman add Google Maps views of the site where she was harassed, he told The Print, “We get on a video call, and I guide them through the process.”
Sameer K, Mr Dubey’s friend, assists him in communicating with the police and others who speak Kannada. He told The Print, “He’s passionate about his work and won’t hesitate to take up others’ problems like his own.” Mr Sameer met Mr Dubey on Facebook 4 years ago and “bonded over our mutual inclination towards social work.”
Dubey works on social issues from his one-bedroom apartment in Indiranagar, where he lives alone, using a two-monitor setup. Wrestler miniatures adorn one wall, while two massive posters of Chelsea football club and metal bands adorn another.
The most prominent place is devoted to a poster of former defence minister and trade union activist George Fernandes. According to Mr Sameer, he is Mr Dubey’s greatest inspiration. Mr Sameer says, “He told me he wants to be as accessible to the people as Fernandes was and wants to keep his doors open to anyone at all times,”
Mr Dubey gets around two to three cases daily; however, he says, The number goes up on weekends as there are more police-related incidents.” He has asked users to text him on WhatsApp as it verifies their identity and gives him some surety.
Mr Dubey helps people to write college applications or to find flats on the subreddit. Moreover, he helps people who require it by finding a therapist and has put in extra effort to help those going through suicidal thoughts. Aside from personal problems, he’s also “nudged” the local municipal body to repair damaged street lights “within three hours” without paying bribes, according to a Reddit user.
Why Was He Motivated To Help People?
Rajesh Dubey, Mr Dubey’s father, stated that his son has been like way since seeing a suicide online in 2008. Dubey was 16 years old at the time. In a blog post, a teen in Florida, United States, declared that he would be live-streaming his suicide. According to him, most of those comments “egged him on.” Mr Dubey said the teenager was lying on his bed when he saw it and appeared lifeless.
“The chat section was filled with people egging him on,” Mr Dubey, now 31, recounted. He says he contacted local police in Florida to request that they intervene. The teenager had died by the time rescue came. Mr Dubey stated that it opened his eyes to how society views issues behind the screen.
Mr Dubey has used his experience to assist individuals in coping with the trauma of harassment and abuse. He once helped two sisters who had fled their house to avoid their “abusive mother.” He said he went with the sisters to the police station. Mr Dubey told The Print, “I also talked to the mother and tried to appease her. You never know what connections she has, and I didn’t want the matter to be escalated.”
He realized that he required guidance from experts. He says, “I reached out to therapists I knew and they sensitized me on issues like consent to tone when talking with people who are stressed.” He added that he consciously avoids using phrases like “consider me like your brother.”
Aishwarya, an MPhil psychology trainee at NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences) in Bengaluru, is one of those contacts. She says, “He told me about the cases he comes across and asked how he can better help them.”
Praising him for destigmatizing mental health, she says, “His on-ground community-level approach is something we clinicians also need to emulate.”
His Alter Personality: Broseph
Mr Dubey stated that the internet “raised” him. He was early interested in computers and began “active” online when he was six. He dropped out of regular school in Class 9 and completed his education and graduation through internet learning to avoid being “left out on paper.”
He began by assisting his social circle. He used to live in Ahmedabad, organize metal concerts, and manage indie bands for free. When asked why he chose Reddit for his alter identity, he explained that he appreciated the website’s tendency for anonymity. He told The Print, “People are more open to sharing what has happened to them because there is no identifying information.”
He also stated that he sets aside Rs 25,000 every month “to spend on helping,” such as for people’s rehabilitation, medical expenditures, or assistance with fine payment. He has helped people in abusive situations or who have been evicted from their homes in the last year.
While Mr Dubey does not have enough space to accommodate visitors into his home, he has recently paid a deposit on a modest apartment he intends to utilize as a safe house.
To keep up with the requests for assistance, Mr Dubey is currently developing a customer relationship management (CRM)-enabled website. He stated that the website would allow visitors to track the status. After posting his concept on Reddit, Mr Dubey got responses from users offering money to web developers who said they would build the site for free.
Some Redditors also encouraged him to contest for elections. When one person mentioned that it would cost Rs 5 crore “just to get a ticket” to run in an election, another user responded, “We’ll crowdfund. Better than paying taxes, we pay for our Batman.”
However, he says he does not wish to be a part of any political party. He says, “If I say I’m a part of one organization or support a certain ideology, people will be reluctant to help or reach out for help.”
“I like being just ‘Broseph’ — it’s neutral and personal,” he said.
With Inputs From The Print