During a speech on Thursday night, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, asked the nation’s public to “clap their hands” on Sunday as part of efforts to combat coronavirus in the country. However, netizens deemed the tactic unnecessary.
In his 28-minute speech, Modi called for a self-imposed ‘Janata’ (public) curfew to be observed on Sunday from 7am to 9pm.
“March 22 will be a symbol of our effort, of our self-restraint and our resolve to fulfil our duty in service of the nation,” Modi said during his speech.
The premier then called on Indians to come to their windows and balconies at 5pm on Sunday to display their support for healthcare workers.
“We will clap our hands, beat our plates, ring our bells to boost their morale and salute their service,” he said.
The hashtags #TaaliBajao (clap our hands) #ThaliBajao (beat our plates) soon began trending online. Social media users took to twitter to react to the tactics Modi proposed with many calling them “gimmicky” and asking for "tangible" efforts.
Twitter user @C_Indrajeet shared a post about Korea’s efforts to combat the deadly virus and wrote: “Now that's the differences... Professionals planning test kits for #CoronavirusOutbreak while amateurs are busy with #TaaliBajao.”
Tweep @AtulSharmaDelhi commented on a post with a clip of hundreds of Indians lining a railway station and wrote: “These people would need real tangible benefits from the government and not the #TaaliBajao drama.”
Doctors reacted too. Tweep @unkittenish, who is apparently a surgeon, posted: “@narendramodi I don't want your claps. I want your genuine and wholehearted effort in ensuring my wellbeing. I want personal protective equipment. I want better government strategies. I want to have faith in your actions. Do better.”
Twitter user, @IchbinUjjaini, another medical professional wrote: “Here a doctor speaking, stop #TaaliBajao gimmick and focus on supporting doctors, if you respect their hard work.”
While Modi had asked the Indian public to clap to support medical professionals, some took it as a direct way to tackle doronavirus in the country.
Avid followers of Modi and India’s Bharatiya Janata Party believe that the clapping will help ward off the virus and “negativity”. Some also claimed that the ritual will have a cleansing or positive effect on people’s bodies. Some even referred to old religious beliefs and astrology.
User @RenukaJain6 wrote: “The 5pm clapping Modi asked us to do is extremely interesting. At that time moon is passing to a new 'nakshatra' [astrological term for one of 28 sectors along the ecliptic] called Revati. The playing of bells and clapping: The cumulative vibration will encourage blood circulation in the body.”
Tweep @priyagupta999 posted about how the virus will “run way” at the sound of the claps: “’SOUND’ is a very powerful vibration. All religions use it (Ghanti temples, chanting Buddhism, bells Churches etc). It cuts off your negative energies you bring with u when you enter to pray. PM @narendramodi ji knows that. At 5pm #Corona will run hearing sound of #130crIndians.”
Some like user @KarmicThoughts went as far as calling the Indian premier a “scientist” for his proposal: “Some more WhatsApp astrological and scientific theories supporting the clapping call by Astrologist and Scientist Modi Ji. #Covid19India #Covid_19 #TaaliBajao”