Why Sonam Wangchuk, Inspiration For ‘3 Idiots’, Wants You To Stop Using Chinese Products, And Why You Should Listen To Him 

Why Sonam Wangchuk,  Inspiration For ‘3 Idiots’, Wants You To Stop Using Chinese Products, And Why You Should Listen To Him Sonam Wangchuk (YouTube Screengrab) 
  • In a video, Wangchuk appealed to give up Chinese software within a week, and Chinese hardware within a year.

On the night of 28 May, around 9:35 PM, amidst the chaos of COVID-19 spread, the tension of India-China border, and the US president’s offer to mediate between the two nations, a video was uploaded by a man who needs no introduction.

He is Sonam Wanghchuk, the man who inspired the character of ‘Fungsuk Wangdu’ in the movie 3 Idiots.

He is a renowned engineer, academician, innovator, and environmentalist. And when a man of such stature appealed to the country for something, it was worth giving it a thought.

The importance of the appeal increases because besides being a successful man, he hails from Ladakh, the place where the Indian and Chinese armies are looking eye to eye.

Without ay hesitation, Wangchuk asked the countrymen to play their part in supporting the army by boycotting Chinese products. He gave a slogan, “Cheen ko jawaab… Sena degi bullet se, Nagrik dengey wallet se..”. This meant that the answer to China will be given by the Indian army with bullets and by the citizens through their wallet.

He called for completely boycotting Chinese software within a week and Chinese hardware within a year.

The important point to note is how beautifully he explained the importance of this boycott to the countrymen.

The money spent by Indians in buying Chinese products is ultimately used against India and Indian soldiers at the border.

The millions and millions of dollars that China earns from the Indian market are used to buy ammunition, arms, guns against India itself. The trade deficit between India and China is around 56 billion dollars. By this, we can realise how important a market India is for China.

This appeal can be also be taken as a supplement to PM Modi’s vision for Indian companies and startups- “Local to Global”.

In this world of globalisation, it is not entirely easy to completely prevent any other country from selling its products in the domestic market but the citizens are free to accept or reject the products as per their choice.

PM Modi’s vision of ‘Local to Global’ cannot become successful unless there is a boycott of Chinese products. Also, it’s both a challenge and opportunity for the young entrepreneurs of India to fill up the void created by the boycott of Chinese products.

And since it’ll take time to replace the hardware, Wangchuk asked to drop it in a year.

Another significant point raised by Wanghchuk was about the actual reason behind this unnecessary act of aggression by China at the border.

The Chinese government is dealing with growing resentment among its people who are also the largest population of the world for one country. People in China have negligible human rights and freedom. With industries shut, according to an estimate, the unemployment rate has crossed 20 per cent in China due to the Covid-19 pandemic. People are dissatisfied with the way this pandemic is being handled by the Chinese government.

The suppression of voices raised against the handling of COVID-19 by the government, keeping surveillance on citizens, all this has caused resentment among the general public.

Wangchuk pointed out that the situation is just like the one in 1962 when China faced a great famine for four years (1958-62) because of Mao’s wrong policies. At that time too, to keep the faith of the public alive, to divert their attention by arousing a feeling of nationalism in them, China had declared war against India.

And now again, Xi Jinping, the supreme leader of China, is trying to follow the footsteps of Mao by creating tensions with India. Not just the actions against India, the bullying of smaller nations and governments, like Taiwan and Hong Kong, and the activities of China in the South China sea are also attributed to this strategy.

There is a serious intrusion of Chinese products into the Indian market. If you look up the internet for the companies that sell the most number of mobile phones in India, three out of the top five sellers are Chinese, which include Xiaomi (Mi), Vivo, Oppo, and others like Huawei, Honor, and One plus.

Immense marketing, Bollywood celebs endorsing these products are ultimately causing the public to ignorantly buy them.

Is it not a matter of concern for us?

It is worth mentioning here that Tik Tok, a Chinese app, has got the highest number of users in India, out of all the countries in the world. A huge amount of revenue of Tik Tok (and thus of China) is earned from India owing to its wide usage.

This app has faced huge backlash because of the anti-women and anti-India posts on the app. This app has almost zero censoring of any content unless it is against China.

Also, there are huge privacy issues with the app as there are allegations that it steals data from the SIM card.

The major issue with Chinese apps is privacy. As per Chinese law, all data collected by Chineses companies’ software or apps or devices has to be shared with the Chinese government. So, this means that all the permissions that we grant on our mobile phones to any of the Chinese apps or devices are being used to store information by the Chinese government.

Thus, as responsible citizens, we can support our government, our army, and our people by rising to Sonam Wangchuk’s appeal and give up Chinese products. Go for Swadeshi.

  • Manjul Panwar is a Research Scholar at the School of Environmental Sciences (SES), JNU, and an ABVP-JNU activist.

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