Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call on Friday to “turn of all the lights in your homes, stand at your doors or in you balconies, and light candles or diyas, torches or mobile flashlights” in a symbolic action to combat coronavirus amid a 21-day lockdown has evoked both bouquets and brickbats.
“Please do not go out on to the roads, lanes or your localities Friends, I have one more prayer in this regard… do it at the doorstep or balconies of your own homes. One must never cross the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ of Social Distancing,” Modi added appealing people to maintain social sustaining.
The message became trending on Twitter within minutes, with #ModiVideoMessage and #9baje9minute hashtags having over 90k mentions.
Since his announcement, memes have flooded social media:
Many critics jibbed at Modi's hardcore followers by illustrating what they could possibly to do fulfil their leader’s command.
I wonder how insecured a person must be when he has to first announce 24 hours in advance that he will deliver a message on #COVID19 and then comes up with #9baje9minute— CnsultngMthematician (@bikidullah) April 3, 2020
What is he doing, really? No words on the poor, nothing. #IndiaFightsCorona #PMModi #ModiVideoMessage pic.twitter.com/1JReYpBP3H
Many others have, however, praised the prime minister for his initiative, poised to unite the locked down Indians across the country:
These communists, socialists, liberals, intellectuals, secular wokes and their jamaat shouldn't get triggered when they are called jihadis. Today, Modi ji has merely mentioned candles & diyas, and they have exploded.— Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt) April 3, 2020
What cannot be overcome if 130 cr Indians combine our prayers & energy?— Syed Shahnawaz Hussain (@ShahnawazBJP) April 3, 2020
Let’s defeat #COVID19 together. Do remember on Sunday, 5 April, give 9 minutes standing either in balcony or outside doorway, keep a light in your hand. Social distancing to be respected. @narendramodi
Last week, Modi announced a 21-day long lockdown throughout the country to break the chain of infection of COVID-19, which would end on 14 April. He reiterated that "This is the only panacea to break the chain of Corona virus."
Indian currently has 2,301 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 55 foreign nationals, while 56 people have lost their lives to the infection, according to the latest data released by federal Health and Family Welfare Ministry.