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Creators on VMate show how rural India is fighting Coronavirus

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MUMBAI: India is practically under a house arrest by the deadly global pandemic Covid-19 or coronavirus. In the prevailing 21-day lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government, there is increased reliance on television channels, news websites and newspapers for any information. However, the lockdown has confined the scope of media to a great extent, compelled by restricted movement of journalists and cancellation of events. And this is the situation in metros and other urban areas, which have better literacy, enhanced media and FM stations. But have you wondered how the battle against the pandemic is being fought in rural India?

Videos shared by users on trending short video app VMate, which is also referred to as ‘Rural India’s TikTok’, have showcased how the rural parts of the country are dealing with the unprecedented crisis that has gripped the whole world. Videos shared by creators on the short video app have shown how authorities are leaving no stone unturned and excluding no means of communication to reach out to millions in villages and remote areas.

Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBZR0b6G9VQ&feature=youtu.be

Those of us who grew up in areas beyond metros, loudspeakers on bicycles or autorickshaws, announcing the latest movie release in cinema theatres was a usual sight. And VMate videos have revealed that this same mode is being used by government authorities to disseminate information related to the pandemic/lockdown in villages across India. In one of the videos shared by Jitesh Kumar, a user from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, government officials can be seen announcing the Dos and Don’ts related to the virus on a bicycle. The video also features avid listeners who keenly listen to information such as why they should not venture out of their homes.

Another video, posted by Max Khan from Samastipur in Bihar shows announcements being made from an autorickshaw, telling people that there is still time to take action to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 virus. Similarly, Prince Lal Gabru’s video from Jehanabad shows a police jeep informing people about the lockdown and asking them to stay inside their homes. The announcement further says that only essential commodity shops are allowed to remain functional.

VMate user Deepak has also shared a video of Faridabad police jeep, wherein the cops can be seen warning people against venturing out of homes without valid reasons. SungHo Jamali, another short video creator, has posted a video of similar announcement being made in a regional dialect and people being asked to refrain from even meeting relatives during the lockdown period.

The videos shared by users of the platform, who hail from smaller towns and villages, has displayed how rural India is battling the crisis, which has virtually brought the biggest economies in the world to their knees. While most social media platforms are flooded with trending hashtags and monologue videos, apps like VMate, which is among the 10 most downloaded social media apps globally, has shown the real battle being fought at ground zero.

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