Indias first female superhero fights Covid-19 with compassion

Priya and her flying tiger Sahas with kites showing ways the spread of Covid-19 can be managed.

Syd Fini/Neda Kazemifar/Shubhra Prakash/Rattapallax

Priya and her flying tiger Sahas with kites showing ways the spread of Covid-19 can be managed.

In a new comic book and animated short, popular Indian superhero Priya shares a message about the importance of working together to manage Covid-19.

In Priya’s Mask, India’s first female superhero, along with her flying tiger Sahas, stress the importance of essential workers wearing masks to limit the spread of coronavirus, and combats misinformation about the disease.

Priya, shares the advice, “Sometimes we have to be strong, so those that love us can also be strong.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, India has 9.5 million recorded cases of coronavirus and 138,122 deaths attributed to the disease.

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The figures are almost certainly higher than recorded figures indicate, as many Indians are unable to access quality healthcare.

In the comic and its animated adaptation, Priya visits a hospital to show a young girl that her mother has to work long hours as a nurse to help those impacted by Covid-19.

Priya’s voice for the animated short, Mrunal Thakur, told ABC News that she hopes, “after watching Priya’s Mask a few girls and boys [will] say, ‘Hey mama, you are my superhero.’”

In the last act of the comic, Priya joins forces with Jiya, a Pakistani hero. Jiya is the Burka Avenger, the lead in a popular self-titled television series for four seasons.

Together they help the villain Baba Kaboom get hospital treatment after his misguided attempt to spread coronavirus.

Priya’s Indian-American co-creator Ram Devineni told National Herald India that the repetition of lies around the impact and spread of Covid-19 has created a tense atmosphere, unwelcoming of facts.

Devineni has been named a gender equality champion for his work on the groundbreaking superhero.

In a change from the character’s previous storylines Priya’s Mask caters to younger audiences. Writer Shubhra Prakash when interviewed by The Hindu newspaper said that the creative team wanted to help explain to children how the coronavirus had changed the world around them.

Other social issues Priya has previously dealt with include human trafficking, acid attacks, and sexual violence.

At the end of the short, Sahas tells Priya, “We need to stand together, and bring about the change we want to see.”

Priya agrees, “That’s how we can beat the virus”.

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