Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urged people across India to switch off their lights and hold candles, lamps and mobile flashlights at 9 pm on Sunday, April 5, for 9 minutes in a nationwide show of solidarity amid a lockdown to fight coronavirus.
“On April 5, Sunday, at 9 pm, please switch off all the lights in your house and each person should stand with a candle, lamp or mobile flashlights in your hands, on your balconies for 9 minutes,” PM Modi said, asserting that it was necessary to ensure no one felt alone.
“I have one more prayer to all of you, nobody has to gather at any place during this event. Everyone will light a diya (lamp) only at their doors, windows or balconies. The Laxman Rekha (boundary) of social distancing must be followed,” the Prime Minister said.
Addressing the nation via a video conference, Mr. Modi made it very clear that the Coronavirus threat could only be combated with the full co-operation of the people, and that the collective strength was what would take the country out of what he termed “darkness that engulfs us” in the form of coronavirus.
The plight of the poor, with the grinding halt of all economic activity, was also foremost in Mr. Modi’s address. “We have to take our poor bretheren towards the light and certainty. To defeat this darkness, we have to shine the light in every direction,” he said.
Acknowledging that being under lockdown could be a lonely experience full of anxiety, Mr. Modi assured the people that “we, none of us, are alone” and that the “collective will of 1.3 billion people of India was with us in this time of crisis.”
After some areas in the country saw instances of mass gatherings around Mr. Modi’s earlier exhortation to applaud essential services workers during the Janata Curfew of March 22, he made it a point to say that nobody should repeat that experience. “Either stay at your doors, on your balcony etc, but please do not cross the Laxman Rekha of your home,” he said. “Social distancing is the only ramban we have to combat coronavirus,” he said.