Leading by example, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen covering his face with a Manipuri gamcha (towel), also known as Meitei Lengyan, during his address to the nation on Tuesday, wherein he announced an extension of the coronavirus lockdown till May 3. Minutes after his address, PM Modi changed his display picture on his social media profiles — his mouth and nose covered with the ‘gamcha’ and hands folded in namaste pose.
“Wearing a face cover is an essential exercise during the lockdown for people when they step out of their homes,” PM Modi said before removing it and continuing with his nearly 25-minute speech. The Lengyan is a symbol of unity of all indigenous communities in Manipur and is highly regarded by its people. Mostly worn by men in the state, it is a cultural symbol too.
Last week, during an interaction with Chief Ministers of various states, PM Modi was seen wearing a homemade mask aimed at spreading awareness over COVID-19.
Soon, others too started following his footsteps. Several senior BJP leaders, including party president JP Nadda, also put pictures of wearing face covers on their Twitter profiles while others photoshopped their existing DPs with the same gamcha worn by PM Modi.
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) April 14, 2020
— Shandilya Giriraj Singh (@girirajsinghbjp) April 14, 2020
Wear a homemade 😷 to combat #COVID2019 !#StaySafe during #Lockdown2 Spend time productively #StayHome and #dontpanicbuy #Help others
Inspire others to wear a #mask change your #DP
This is my #NewProfilePic ! pic.twitter.com/zayXLRNMMw
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) April 14, 2020
— Manoj Tiwari (@ManojTiwariMP) April 14, 2020
— Dhirendra Singh (@DhirendraGBN) April 14, 2020
And while some used the hashtag #WearFaceCoverStaySafe, others breathed new life to #GamchaTwitter trend and now Indians on Twitter can’t stop flaunting homemade masks on the micro-blogging site.
Following our honorable Prime Minister @narendramodi Ji, I have also put a photo of my face covered with #Gamcha (Gamocha) in my DP.
(Let me also tell you that the tradition of covering the face with Gamcha (Gamocha) is very old in Assam) @PMOIndia @mygovindia @narendramodi_in pic.twitter.com/LkcpzJ71LM
— GAUTAM CHAKRABARTY (@GautamChakraba6) April 15, 2020
— appurv_gupta (@appurv_gupta) April 14, 2020
— प्रिय यादव (Priye Yadav) (@priyeyadavindia) April 14, 2020
— punjab Puls (@moge_oye) April 14, 2020
— सत्य प्रकाश विश्वकर्मा (@SatyaPr24974444) April 14, 2020
— #IndiaFightsCorona 🇮🇳 🇮🇳 (@Ashish4Ayodhya) April 14, 2020
— Prem Das Oberoi 🇮🇳🇮🇳 (@PremDasOberoi) April 14, 2020
— Sanjay Sharma (@Sanjay_sharma33) April 14, 2020
— Sourav 💀 (@troooperOP) April 14, 2020
— Godman Chikna (@Madan_Chikna) April 14, 2020
— N I T I N (@theNitinWalke) April 14, 2020
— Lisha 3.0🇮🇳 (@Lisha_Indian) April 14, 2020
— RaHuL 🇮🇳 (@rahulpassi) April 14, 2020
— Pseudo Engineer (@indian__101) April 14, 2020
Informing the people about the 19-day extension on the last day of the first phase of the lockdown, PM Modi said the decision was arrived after discussions with state chief ministers and experts. On social media, various terms related to the extension trended as people shared memes and jokes.
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