A 20-year-old Indian-American student made a TikTok video on the farmers’ protest in India that has garnered over a million views across platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Twitter in less than two weeks.
The video is a funny take explaining in a nutshell why hundreds of thousands of farmers in India have laid siege to the capital of Delhi demanding that the government repeal three new farm laws that the government says will revolutionize the agriculture sector through corporate participation.
— Karan Menon (@TheKaranMenon) February 7, 2021
The TikTok video became an overnight hit and was watched globally.
“The response was massive, definitely larger than any video I’ve ever made,” Karan Menon, who was born and raised in New Jersey, told indica News.
Karan lives in Los Angeles and is a student of narrative studies, a combination of writing, film, and other media, at the University of Southern California.
His mother is an ophthalmologist and his father is a data science professor, and they moved to the US from India in the 1980s.
Karan’s video went viral and was being shared around a lot within India through WhatsApp groups, which, he says, he “wasn’t expecting.”
“I made it mainly for people like me who lived outside of India and probably knew very little about why these protests were happening,” said Karan.
He said that he had overlooked the fact that the farmers’ protest has become a very polarizing and politicized issue within India, and that Indians would start sharing this video around on social media the way people in the US share videos about police brutality and racial injustice.
The video going viral has brought negative comments, too, from those who support the fIndian government — and he was warned that would happen, Karan said — but overall the response has been positive, especially from people who came into the video knowing absolutely nothing and now have some basic knowledge of the concerns of the protesting farmers.
“The short Tiktok video obviously simplifies things and doesn’t cover every detail, but I hope it provides a good intro to the issue so that people can go and do their own research,” said Karan.
Asked if TikTok had transformed his life, Karan said the app has been extremely useful for ngaining a platform and having his videos seen by millions of people, so much so that a good amount of people on the Internet are now aware of him and what he does.
“TikTok itself is not my profession, but the goal is to use the following I have from that to start getting actual professional writing jobs on comedy shows,” Karan said.
He has landed a few freelance writing jobs for different organizations and production companies since last fall, which was a direct product of people working on those shows coming across his work and “reaching out to me, so that’s great,” Karan said.
How does he choose his topics? Karan said said that he is most inspired by topics he
feels strongly about, which usually means issues linked to injustice.
“I think some of my best videos have been about wrongdoing by people in positions of authority which was so blatant that I felt angry and driven to send a message explaining what was going on,” Karan said.
“For example, the videos I did on voter ID laws or the All Lives Matter counter-movement in the US,” Karan said.
He is a regular poster on TikTok, usually comedy based on current events.
“Yes, I have been posting pretty regularly since last summer and I’ll continue to do so,” Karan said.