Who is Norbert Elekes, Dubbed by Indian Twitter as “Maut Ka Saudagar”?


Who is Norbert Elekes, Dubbed by Indian Twitter as “Maut Ka Saudagar”?

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

As the lockdown in India continues and newspapers are difficult to come by, people are turning to social media for both information and entertainment. While platforms like Facebook and Twitter might be rife with fake information, there are individuals who have taken up the task of reporting factual, verified news to help paint a clearer picture of the emerging global situation. One such Twitter handle belongs to Norbert Elekes, whose bio proclaims him as a data storyteller. Elekes has 198.2K followers on Twitter, and provides multiple daily updates on worldwide developments relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

Elekes has a very matter-of-fact approach to his Twitter, in that he usually just shares figures and statistics with little to no commentary of his own. For those looking for non-partisan coverage of the coronavirus update, Elekes’ Twitter would be a good starting point.

His updates about the pandemic unfolding in the US are as neutral as those from any other country.

Elekes also provides updates on the number of coronavirus cases spreading through various countries on different continents.

Occasionally, he will also share a photo or a news item that captures the absurdity of life in the times of coronavirus, but once again, without any commentary.

However, despite his detached reporting style, Elekes has been generating a strong emotional reaction from Indians on Twitter, who have started viewing his daily updates with a sense of dread. This has led to him being awarded an array of unflattering nicknames by Indian Twitter, including “takle”, “Yamdoot”, and “maut ka saudagar”.

Clearly, Elekes’ tweets are making this user question their own mortality if he is being equated with the god of death. And it’s far from the only time that Elekes has been compared to Yamraj.

To some Indians, Norbert Elekes’ face is now the face of bad news.

To others, it would be preferable if Elekes didn’t tweet at all, rather than send out his daily updates which seem to threaten.

Whatever Elekes tweets, he’s met with a chorus of voices asking him to shut up.

However, the ostrich approach to trouble isn’t going to take away the authenticity of the data in Elekes’ tweets. And in a world full of fake news and propaganda, there should be more appreciation for an influencer who deals solely with facts.