By Sushil Kutty
Now we have a YouTuber Prime Minister. How many heads of state world over are YouTubers? Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unlike other world leaders. He can be as high and mighty as another. He can be as ornery and common as another. But this Prime Minister is the sort who will blend in anywhere and with anyone. So PM Modi has a YouTube channel and has been competing with a world of YouTubers and has 17.9 million subscribers on the channel. Does Modi count himself part of the tribe of Social Media influencers?
With 17.9 million subscribers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the top league of YouTubers. Also earning in the lakhs of rupees, all of it in dollars. To become a YouTuber isn’t a piece of cake. The debutant has to go through a grind and then comes the struggle. More often than not his work is not appreciated by the admins, who quite easily send a cryptic message informing the YouTuber he/she is no longer a “You Tube Partner” and his channel cannot monetize anymore unless…
Yes, it is Heartbreak Hotel. The hours wasted spent bent on making sense out of video and audio. Editing. Giving voiceover and commentary. And just when the subscribers are piling on with criticism and pats on the back, the admins pour cold water. Start all over again. That’s the end of becoming a Social Media influencer.
The Prime Minister will not be in that club of admin-trashed and thrashed. Being Prime Minister comes with benefits and losses. Multiply that several times over when it’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a gentleman who generates as much hate as he attracts fandom. That must account for the 17.9 million subscribers. Among them must be a chunk of Mod-haters, too. Who doesn’t want to know what the enemy is up to? Definitely, Chanakya must have given some “gyan” on this point if not Chanakya’s Chinese equivalent, Sun Tzu.
On September 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held forth on his YouTube channel at the YouTube Fanfest India 2023 with 5,000 content creators all ears. He is one of them and not very different from them. Of course, lying. For, how can a Prime Minister be the same as every other Tom, Dick and Harry? And just so that the booing did not interrupt, Modi shut the door on that possibility by saying he is “extremely happy” to be one of them .
That their content impacted people and policies. He made sure he called them “My YouTuber friends”. Is the Prime Minister making fools of the YouTubers because if the content they posted did indeed affect people and policies, it would have reflected on the Modi government’s actions and policies, which so far as we know haven’t. Fibbing should not come easy to people in high places and that includes the right honourable Prime Minister of Bharat.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the 5000 YouTubers that for the last 15 years, “I have also been connected to the country and the world through a YouTube channel. I also have subscribers in decent numbers”, adding in the most seductive voice that “together, we can bring transformation in the lives of a vast population in our country.” Somebody will have to fact-check that though it is a fact that YouTube hit the scene 18 years ago. Therefore, “15 years” is pretty much on the dot.
The Prime Minister wasn’t bluffing on the number of years. The question remains, why wasn’t the channel visible all these years and why is it that the Prime Minister cares to inform ornery folks, the electorate, only now? Modi says he has uploaded thousands of videos on the channel, singling out those which were about students and subjects like “exam stress, expectation management, and productivity”. Is the Modi YouTube channel copying videos of the numerous events he takes part in as the Prime Minister of India?
There must be on his YouTube channel videos on his pet programmes such as “Swachh Bharat”, digital payments and “Vocal for Local”. Also the largely invisible these days “Make in India” and others which carries the “India” name including “Startup India”. Our YouTuber Prime Minister must have an answer to the question why he kept his YouTube channel largely undercover?
And why reveal it to the world now, has it got to do with a difficult 2024 general elections in the offing? Could be, because Prime Minister Narendra Modi confessed to the 5000 content creators that he wanted to “inspire more people to be part of such campaigns” through YouTubers.
That is breaking news. And pretty much admission that the Bharatiya Janata Party is feeling the heat this election cycle and could do with a helping hand to spread the word to vote for the BJP one more time. Very recently after winning a couple of states, the Prime Minister had mocked political parties which had sprung from Social Media campaigns, arguing the BJP wasn’t like them. Today, the same man is asking content creators on YouTube to do their bit for Bharatiya Janata Party. (IPA Service)