Several popular foreign content creators have taken to social media to create long-form infotainment content around the farmers' protest in India ever since singer-actor Rihanna tweeted about it.
Though India is not even among the top five markets for the Amazon-owned platform, the session — by the political commentator/gamer/live-streamer with over a million followers — was a hit. It especially resonated with Indian fans, mostly from the Gen Z cohort.
"Indian teens, who watched Hasan for his sassiness until now, were suddenly made aware of what was going on in their own country," says Payal Sapui, an 18-year-old humanities student who follows Piker on Twitch.
Piker—an influecer to the Gen Z whose audience spans countries and ethnic backgrounds—watched some of the coverage on the issue live along with his followers, pausing sporadically to analyse the issue from both sides.
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In fact, a cursory search on Google — "Hasan Piker covers ongoing farmer protests in India" — shows over 271,000 results in under a second.
Piker popped into mainstream attention for his analysis of the recently concluded US presidential elections in an 80-hour live-stream spanning over a week. Before that, he was in the news for playing Gen Z's current favourite video game, Among Us, with US Congress representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.
Like Piker, several popular foreign creators have taken to social media to create long-form infotainment content around the farmers' protest in India ever since singer-actor Rihanna tweeted about the internet shutdown it brought about in Delhi-NCR.
Their content thrives on platforms like Twitch, which is not as saturated or regulated as Twitter, Facebook or WhatsApp, but is popular among Gen Z and young millennials in India and around the world.
Members of these young cohorts feel that people like Piker talking about the protests impacts youngsters around the world the same way that the GameStop stock story impacted Gen Z in India.
"When r/wallstreetbets (GameStop saga) exploded, we couldn't be a part of the phenomenon, but it made us curious and now we know about short-squeeze and what not. It's the same with them now," says 20-year-old Ayush Gupta, a business administration student.
"They get to know about what's happening with farmers in India and perhaps that'll make them start a conversation in their social circles," he adds.
Tech YouTuber Lewis Hilsenteger (Lew Later) from Canada admitted during his session on the topic that he was nudged by viewers to talk about the issue even though he had no context or connection with Indian politics.
This sudden interest stems from "a big push to become more aware of important issues happening around the world, regardless of one’s ethnic background," says Karan Menon, a 20-year-old Indian who has lived in the United States his whole life.
Menon recently created a " woke comedy " explainer breaking down the issue for non-Indians on social media. "My Indian background probably made it easier for non-Indian viewers to trust that I cared about this issue and would put the time in to help them understand the fundamentals," says the writer-comedian from New Jersey.
Tiktok is good sometimes actually, I vaguely knew about the Indian Farmers Protest but he explained exactly what is… https://t.co/SKS3gFAm5z
— Bridget (@ashes_will_fly) 1612789545000
However, he hopes they will not accept this one intro video on social media as their only education on the issue and would do their own research too.
This is a common thread across most videos on the issue made by foreign creators: they intend to educate their viewers without blatantly taking sides.
The volume of negative comments these videos have fetched is hard to ignore, but there is a silver lining.
"A lot of the angry comments are in Hindi," Menon says. "Which is nice, because I (and other foreign creators) cannot read them."
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