Ananya Pathak

Indian Railways bring back ‘Gappu Bhaiya’ in COVID awareness ad

The animated cartoon character first appeared in a non-COVID ad released in November 2019 to spread awareness about passenger safety.

Remember ‘Gappu Bhaiya’, the animated cartoon character that Indian Railways had launched last year (November 2019) in one of its awareness campaigns around the safety of passengers while travelling in a train? Well, the he is back…

He is seen in a short film released by North Central Railway (NCR) to raise awareness around safe train travel in COVID times.

In the two-minute-long film, Gappu Bhaiya is seen in his same old careless attitude, not following the COVID safety guidelines. He is embarking on a train journey from Delhi back home to Assam, and is neither following social distancing nor wearing a face mask. He is also not using a hand sanitiser after coming in contact with publically used surfaces.

As the film rolls on, Gappu Bhaiya is seen spitting around on the railway station platform. Although his phone is full of applications, he does not have the Aarogya Setu app, which one is required to download (as per the government), especially while travelling.

The self-claimed ‘aware’ Gappu Bhaiya falls sick by the time he reaches home, and tests positive for COVID. He dies because of the infection. As the film ends, it asks you to not be like Gappu ‘Mahan’.

The film reiterates the importance of taking proper precautions: always wear a face mask, use a hand sanitiser and maintain social distancing.

The film released in 2019 listed various threats to passengers’ safety while travelling, including food offerings from strangers, carrying inflammable items in train, hanging on the doors of a moving train, walking on railway tracks, touching unattended items on railway stations, boarding and deboarding moving trains, and others.

The film in question was launched by the Ministry of Railways on its Twitter handle last week.