A Whatsapp forward has been cited as proof of how easily Indians are willing to seize the opportunities of a cashless economic future – by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, no less.
“I don’t know how far it is true but there is a video going viral on Whatsapp of a beggar being told by a man that though he wanted to help, he does not have change,” Modi said at Bharatiya Janata Party rally in Moradabad on Saturday. “The beggar asks him not to worry and takes out a swipe machine and asks for his debit card.”
The crowd burst into peals of encouraging laughter.
While Modi said that he couldn’t ascertain whether the video was genuine, he added, “what I mean to say is that Indians do not waste time in accepting change”.
As it turns out, the video above is the one going viral on Whatsapp but it was uploaded two years ago, in January 2014, by a YouTube channel called Numerographic.
It was shot by in November 2013 by Kulpreet Kaur, 35, the co-owner of the channel. Kaur and her friends scripted the video and shot it near Jubilee Junction in Hyderabad. “We borrowed the PoS terminal from a friend’s store and trained a beggar, who used to sit near Jubilee Junction, for the video,” she told Scroll.in.
Subjects of Numerographic’s most popular videos include: funny and cute rotweiller compilations, weird tattoos in weird places, and top 10 world’s best nude beaches. In the video, purportedly shot in Hyderabad’s Hitech City, after a woman driver says she does not have change, a beggar brings out a swipe machine.
Here is Modi’s speech in full. He starts speaking about the video at the 37-minute mark.