JHARKHAND: As the second wave of Covid makes inroads into rural areas, it has met with a typical Indian counter-measure in Jharkhand’s Pakur district: awareness shared via parodies. A village-level worker (VLW) in Amrapara block is using songs to spread awareness on Covid-appropriate behaviour and vaccination. Sumit Mishra, posted at Dumarchir panchayat, shares his stuff on social media and is getting massive response from his fans.
Amrapara is one of the backward blocks of the state. Sumit says when he went out in rural areas he saw the people were completely unaware about Covid-19.
“As I am fond of singing, I thought why not give it a try by singing a parody on Covid-appropriate behaviour and post it on social media. I took up an old Hindi track and put my words in it and shared it on social media. Surprisingly, I got responses beyond my expectations,” says Sumit.
“After putting out 3-4 parodies on social media, I started getting good response from local people. My followers increased on social media. Besides 4,900 Facebook friends, I have more than 1,250 followers, which is something that strengthens my resolve to carry on the work,” says Sumit.
Though his type of singing looks easy, it takes him at least six hours, right from setting one’s own words as per the lyrics of the song and sing it finally, to complete a parody.
“I have sung around 15 parodies, both in Hindi and Santhali languages, and put them on social media since the outbreak of the pandemic last year,” he says.
He recorded his first parody on April 10 last year. Sumit says his choice of words is based on Covid-appropriate behaviour like maintaining physical distancing, wearing mask while going out of home, washing hands regularly and avoiding unnecessary travel, not spitting in the open and greeting each other without physical contact.
Of late, he has also started encouraging people to go for vaccination through his songs, he saus.
Local panchayat representatives say Sumit has succeeded in persuading villagers through his parodies. “The region is dominated by tribals, who do not understand any language other than Santhali. Sumit sir makes us understand in Santhali language the precautions to be taken to keep coronavirus away,” says Pederkola Deepa Malto.
His songs have a massive impact among the people in this region, he added.
The local administration believes that Sumit’s initiative has made a positive impact in rural areas. “It is creating awareness about COVID appropriate behaviour, as well as for vaccination. His efforts are commendable,” says Pakur Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kuldeep Chaudhary.