PM Modi’s longer beareda, a message of social distancing

late March when PM Narendra Modi appeared on television screens to announce a one-day voluntary curfew, he was his usual perfectly trimmed self. This week when once again he appeared on television screens to talk about the novel coronavirus, there was a difference — a visibly longer, but neatly groomed, beard.

In between these two national addresses have been about 70 days of a nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Was there a hint in his visibly longer beard? Of practising what one preaches? That the Prime Minister has not met his barber? Not even in the last one month, when the country began ‘unlocking’ and salons and barbershops started re-opening in several states.

Here’s a look at PM Modi’s various virtual appearances during the lockdown period:

Coming back to the point. It’s not as though PM Narendra Modi has stayed cooped up at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg. As the Prime Minister, he does need to step out, hold meetings. But meeting a barber? That’s probably unnecessary.

And that is the message. Hold off on that visit to the salon. Work from home if you’re able to. Don’t go out to pick up groceries at a time you know the supermarket will be filled with people. Don’t throw a party; meet your friends over a video call instead. And, when you do step out, wear a mask.

It’s tough, of course. But it is needed. India is registering daily records of new novel coronavirus cases almost every day. The peak, arguably, is far, far away. The virus is unpredictable, crafty and, above all, extremely dangerous.

Protect yourself. Stay home, stay safe.

(Photo research by Nishwan Rasool; pictures sources from PIB)

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