When Narendra Modi inaugurated the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Shramev Jayate scheme back in 2014, one of the points he made in his speech was that “we have to see labour issues from the eyes of a Shramik [labourer]”.
Which is why this new image making the rounds feels doubly insulting. MyGov.in has started an online challenge that lets people become the “New India Champion”. To this end, you can earn 100 points by “paying tribute to manual workers by posting a selfie with them” on the MyGov.in website.
Of course, it’s no secret that governments in India seem to think that a selfie is the best way to tackle anything from female infanticide to school drop-outs, but there’s something particularly rankling about this new initiative, such as it is. Taking pictures with your kids and students could be fun, if useless, but there’s nothing fun or okay about interrupting a manual labourer to take a fucking selfie with them so you can feel nice about yourself and be 100 points closer to becoming a mythical New India Champion.
Another way to get 100 points in this championship, by the way, includes posting a picture of yourself “sharing extra food with the needy”. But why?
Hadn’t we all decided en masse to make fun of people who flaunt their philanthropy? And what do you make of a government that aims it’s initiatives towards an audience that would be happy to participate in something this egotistical, classist and pointless?