Dear Modi fans, if economy tanks, your digital tribe won't fill your stomachs
Photo: narendramodi.in

Days come and days go but nothing really changes.

If you are one of the millions of users on social media in India, your daily experience ranges from recreational outrage to sob stories where every single irrelevant topic is discussed and dissected. By the time we are done with digesting one sob story, we are already hit with another one. At times, it seems like we are akin to those dogs on the street whose daily routine seems to be barking at cars and running after them. Just like in the case of those dogs, all that changes is the model of the car. Everything else remains the same.

Let us take the current discourse in the midst of an unprecedented lock down. We are in day 45 of the lock down. Everything is pretty much shut down. Yes, the green and orange zones are seeing some movement, but it barely accounts for anything if we look at the contribution of the zones in our economy. As per this report, this is the contribution of the top nine richest cities of India to the GDP in terms of Purchasing Power Parity.

Dear Modi fans, if economy tanks, your digital tribe won't fill your stomachs

What is common in all these cities?

Each and every one of them is in a red zone. This means that the largest contributors to the Indian GDP are effectively dead. But if one was to look at social media we see something completely lopsided. The media seems to be debating everything under the sun other than the most important aspect, i.e. the economy.

The opposition is silent, the media is silent and the average social media base is happy shouting and screaming at each other as they try to claim the latest gold medal in the Digital Oppression Olympiad. Not a single person is willing to question the current government on its plans for the economy.

Is the government going to come up with an economic stimulus package? If yes, when? If no, why not? Also, what will be the exact nature of the package? Are we allowed to ask these questions or not? Why is the PM silent? Why is the FM silent?

Even now, social media cannot rise above its digital tribalism. If the economy tanks, your digital tribe won't fill your stomachs. If we don't make enough noise now, the hubris of the top leadership will cripple our nation.

The Wuhan Virus will go eventually. But the economic damage will last far longer. We should get out priorities sorted. Yes, we have seen some positive announcements by the state governments of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. But the silence of the central government has been deeply disappointing. Especially if we consider that historically the strength of our current Prime Minister has been his ability to communicate to the masses.

The lack of communication from arguably the best communicator in India leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Everyday some overzealous bureaucrat on social media will make some lofty pronouncements which leads to push back and then, the government backtracks. One day it is orders written in Morse code and the other day it is someone breathing down a company's neck to pay the salaries while they have zero revenue generation, only to back track in a few hours.

Ralph Waldo Emerson had said, "Patience and fortitude conquer all things".

The government seems to be taking his words far too seriously.

One can only use the words of @IronMind3 and say "Don't underestimate me. I know more than I say, think more than I speak and notice more than you realize".

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.

Kushal Mehra is the host of The Carvaka Podcast. He is pursuing a Masters in Philosophy and is currently jobless.

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