Garba, rap, retro: How cops innovate in Battle Covid | India News

NEW DELHI: From Punjab to Bengal, from Karnataka to Gujarat and elsewhere in the country, cops are using social media handles creatively to promote coronavirus awareness.
Dancing to the beat of garba, crooning retro Bengali classics and jiving to Punjabi rap, policemen are innovating every day in their efforts to make people stay at home. Their appeals through videos, graphics, songs and animation have gone viral in the last few days.
In Gujarat’s Rajkot town, a group of 21 women cops performed the traditional garba to raise awareness, and released a video online. The song talked of social distancing and the importance of staying at home.
In Karnataka, the police tied up with several Sandalwood actors for a campaign called #ArrestCorona. Under this initiative, the Bengaluru city police releases short videos on its verified Twitter handle where these actors talk about people’s responsibilities as informed citizens. Bengaluru police uses graphics too. One viral graphic shows an ear covered with a facemask, with the message, “Protect yourself from fake news, not just corona.”
Punjab police is interacting with users through memes, graphics, animated videos and rap songs that generate awareness about Corona virus. It also posts short videos on TikTok and is hugely popular on the platform. The Punjab police handle has about 90,000 followers on the Byte-Dance owned platform, but most of its videos have been viewed over 5 million times.
“Most of our videos focus on infotainment. They are catchy, but they carry information about preventing Corona by staying at home,” said Naresh Arora, founder of Design Boxed, a digital marketing agency that has been making these videos for Punjab police.
The content has gone viral, and on TikTok alone, their videos received 45 million views in the last 10 days. “We made a TikTok account only 20 days ago because we realised that we need to reach out to the rural youth,” Arora said. Following the success of the TikTok campaign, Arora also made an account for the police on Share Chat, an Indian social media platform that supports several regional languages, including Punjabi.
In Kolkata, cops gave an interesting twist to a song from Satyajit Ray‘s superhit fantasy film, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, to spread awareness. A video of a cop singing the song with altered lyrics to generate awareness on Corona, went viral on social media recently. There were several other men in uniform, wearing face masks, who watched. Kolkata police shared a clip of this song on its verified Twitter handle on April 4 and wrote, “Yet another musical effort by KP personnel at Rabindra Sarobar PS area to enliven another stressful day of fellow citizens with a deftly modified song from the iconic Satayajit Ray movie ‘Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne”. The 2.06 minute long video was appreciated by several netizens who lauded the police for their efforts.
Earlier on April 2, cops from Gariahat, another neighbourhood, had sung a modified rendition of Anjan Dutta’s song Bela Bose to generate awareness about the highly contagious disease. A video of the song was posted by DC SED Kolkata police, with the caption, “An initiative… to cheer up the citizens in times of crisis along with spreading awareness. #FightCoronaTogether #StayHomeStaySafe.”
Besides engaging with people through the audio-visual medium, Mumbai police has also been making several graphics. In one of them that went viral, the internet lingo FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) has been altered to make it into Fear of moving out. “Here! We just updated the term for you. Having FOMO now is not just cool, but also safe. Stay home, stay safe,” CP Mumbai Police tweeted, which was then shared by Mumbai police.
In another viral image, Mumbai police used The Common Man by cartoonist RK Laxman to make a point. Sharing an image of his statue on Twitter, the police wrote, “The Common Man (practicing social distancing) is mightier than the most uncommon villain.”

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