A tongue-in-cheek blank book titled 'Masterstroke : 420 secrets that helped PM in India's employment growth!' has gone viral as a gag book taking a dig at the prime minister. The sarcastic take, mocking PM Modi, has been self published on Amazon by an author going by the name, "Berozgar Bhakt".
The blank book is priced at Rs 56 and also has 56 blank pages. The cost and the page numbers a dig at the phrase often used by Modi supporters that he has a 56-inch chest.
Amazon has since taken off the listing for the book. View an archive for the same here
The book's description on Amazon says, "Nation wants to know what Modi ji did to increase employment opportunities for India! How a great leader helped a struggling nation to emerge glorious in the war against COVID-19 and walk down the path of prosperity" with the author calling himself Berozgar Bhakt (unemployed devotee).
All the 56 pages of the book are blank with the front cover sporting a photo of Narendra Modi.
BOOM found the author on Reddit, a social media message board forum where he posted about publishing the book.
The author, speaking to BOOM, described the book as a joke, one he did not expect to go viral. Not wishing to be named, he said, "I was going to test how kindle publishing works. So, I thought if I am going to put some effort then I better get some laugh out of it. In morning I saw it got greenlit, and I thought to share this hilarious goof up by Amazon with fellow redditors," said the author, adding, "The idea was just a product of an empty mind of an unemployed person."
The book currently has a 4.9 rating out of 5 on Amazon with many reviews sarcastically praising that the book is blank.
The book quickly went viral on Twitter with some saying that Amazon might get banned for allowing it to be published. Few users also downloaded the Kindle version of the book to show that the book indeed had only blank pages.
India does not publish official monthly accounts of unemployment statistics. However, the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy does publish its own widely-used measure. According to the CMIE, the 30-day moving average unemployment rate as on May 24 was 10.8% all India. For April 2021, it was 7.97%. It went as high as 23.5% and 21.7% in April and May 2020, coinciding with the first phase of the COVID-19 lockdown. (Read here)