India is rocketing up the COVID charts (now No. 7 in the world) , but somehow, as befits a nation on day 69 of the lockdown, someone, somewhere seems to have decided that there is only one way of defeating it: by boycotting Chinese products.
The ostensible provocation, of course, is the Chinese incursion across the line of actual control, during the time of the pandemic. But as the former chief of army staff Gen V.P. Malik points out, this is an old, old story.
So the real intent behind the is mass distraction, from the mounting toll and the burgeoning humanitarian crisis.
News anchors are calling for a boycott of Chinese-made products.
News channels are lining up shows against Made-in-China products.
Furious lists of Chinese companies are being readied by “journalists”.
But some good questions are being thrown at the studio “warriors”.
And to those who write their paycheques.
And to the forces driving the campaign.
After all, the giant statue of Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat was built in China.
The Chinese incursion only happened in the first week of May, but like in the United States, the anti-China script had been ready from long before that through editorials and op-ed pieces in newspapers.
For days now, The Times of India group has been leading a charge against the popular Chinese video app TikTok.
And the IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has been touting the virtues of an Indian app that is actually of Pakistani origin.
And an AAP social media man wants Indians to resign from Indian unicorns in which the Chinese have major investments.
Then again, one of the unicorns, used a well-known brand ambassador on the day after prime minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation in 2016.
Thankfully, some on social media can see the funny side of the boycott call.
The inadequacies of India’s manufacturing facilities, and the Indian quest for paisa vasool, is apparent. But for TV warriors tweeting from a Made-in-China mobile phone, the battle is on in right earnest.
Stock market bull Rakesh Jhunjhunwala says India should build itself into a manufacturing hub rather than seek to benefit, on the rebound, from the world’s anger at China for Coronavirus.
Obviously, India is in no position despite the grand pronouncements of Make-in-India to manufacture everything on its own, a point marketer and angel investor Lloyd Mathias conveys through a map of the worlds manufacturing output.
The last word, as always, is with the sage of social media: Subramaniam Swamy.