Meme-culture is usually considered to be an expert area of internet-savvy millennials. But for a couple of years now, Mumbai police has been co-opting the meme-culture to propagate their news and initiatives.
Especially when it comes to coronavirus awareness, the official Twitter handle of Mumbai police has displayed some fine creativity. Using pop-culture references, events from sports, television or films to create messages of public service. A picture is, after all, worth a thousand words. And in today’s digital environment, a meme is worth a hundred slogan posters.
In the latest tweet, Mumbai Police used a still of Pankaj Tripathi from the web series Mirzapur. The caption says: Them: Now that the lockdown is getting eased, shall we take it easy on the COVID-19 precautions?
It’s not that hard to decode. The clear message is to be safe.
Simply because the lockdown is easing up, doesn’t mean the virus will stop. The safety precautions need to maintained as vigilantly as they were during the lockdown. In fact, since the lockdown is lifted and movement has started, people need to be even careful as their chances of coming in contact with the virus has also increased.
Like always, the Twitter folk could not get enough of the meme savvy Mumbai police.
However, this isn’t the first time they have used memes to educate people about the virus. In a previous post, they used Nawazuddin Siddiqui from Netflix show Serious Men. They: Why do I have to wear mask around my friends and colleagues? That's so stupid! Me: For the sake of science, Sir."
Amidst the applaud for their creativity and jokes, there is an alarming development. The commissioner of Mumbai police and the department itself is getting abused by internet trolls. The Cyber Cell department announced that these unknown persons are abusing the police and the officers on not only the official police page but also their personal handles.
These accounts are all fake- created solely for the purpose of trolling. They can be spotted throughout the comment threads. Usually newly created, with either a carton or a shape for a picture or no display picture at all. They also use provocative political language as well as abuses against the department or the commissioner.