From the Kerala floods, a meme inspired by India’s sleeping tourism minister

When sleep leads to laughter.
When sleep leads to laughter.
Image: Reuters/Shailesh Andrade
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Right at the beginning of its road to recovery, flood-hit Kerala has found a reason for some mirth.

The state, still mourning the over 200 dead people and massive losses, is tickled by the antics of Indian minister of state for tourism Alphons Kannanthanam. The minister, who’s a native of Kerala himself, shared on Aug. 21 a few photos of him sleeping alongside disaster victims at a relief camp. This was apparently in solidarity with the affected people.

In Kannanthanam’s post, “In Changanassery SB high school camp,” he is seen in a blue t-shirt and jeans, asleep on the floor at the make-shift shelter.

The Facebook post has been liked by 42,000 people so far. But it has also got 35,000 laughter reactions.

On Aug. 22, he posted a photo on Twitter, too.

For many of those hit by the disaster of a century, the minister came across as indulging in photo-op.

So soon enough, #Kannanthanamsleepchallenge was trending on Twitter, with people posting photos of them sleeping—or pretending to sleep. Here are some responses:

Some criticised the minister for being “insensitive” as they felt the photos mocked the relief operations.

On Thursday (Aug. 23), Kannanthanam clarified on his Facebook page that it was his personal staff that had posted those pictures.

This gave way to even more hilarity.

One such response to his clarification, when translated from Malayalam, means:

Personal staff is your enemy sir. Dismiss them, sir. Henceforth, be careful with every single move, sir. While you were asleep, they were simply loitering around, sir. They were playing peeping Tom, sir. If you don’t believe me, please zoom in on the photo, sir. Who killed Indiraji, sir?