In a bid to invoke the collective effort in the fight against coronavirus, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked people in the country to light 'Diyas' (earthern lamps), candles, or use flashlights this Sunday evening for nine minutes at their doorsteps or on the balconies of their houses.
Asking people to come together to challenge the darkness spread by the corona crisis, the prime minister said: “If you have turned off all the lights of your homes, and each one of us in all directions has lit a diya; we will experience the superpower of light, clearly illuminating the common purpose we are all fighting for.”
और उस समय यदि घर की सभी लाइटें बंद करेंगे,— PMO India (@PMOIndia) April 3, 2020
चारो तरफ जब हर व्यक्ति एक-एक दीया जलाएगा,
तब प्रकाश की उस महाशक्ति का ऐहसास होगा,
जिसमें एक ही मकसद से हम सब लड़ रहे हैं,
ये उजागर होगा: PM @narendramodi #IndiaFightsCorona
Stressing that no one, especially the poor, is alone in this fight, Modi added: “In that light, in that lustre, in that radiance, let us resolve in our minds that we are not alone, that no one is alone! 130 crore (1.3 billion) Indians are committed, through a common resolve!”
Due to the lockdown, migrant workers who commonly collect their wages on a daily basis have set off for their homes in distant states on foot as the shutdown has eliminated their sources of income.
This is not the first time that the Indian prime minister has asked people to participate in such an activity.
Abiding by Modi’s request, people on 22 March participated in large numbers by clapping, blowing conch shells and clanging plates on the terraces of their homes to show solidarity and gratitude to the frontline workers serving the country during the coronavirus crisis.
The prime minister recalled in his speech: “The manner in which you expressed gratitude to all those fighting against the Coronavirus on Sunday (22 March) has today become an example for all countries. Many are replicating it now. Whether it is a people’s curfew, ringing bells, clapping hands or clanging plates; they have all made the nation realise its collective strength in these testing times.”
However, in some places, the prime minister’s 22 March request yielded an unintended result, with people flouting the norms of social distancing while catering to Modi’s request. This time, he has urged people not to assemble or gather anywhere while participating.
“Please do not go out on to the roads, lanes or your localities friends, I have one more prayer in this regard… do it on your doorstep or the balconies of your own homes. One must never cross the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ (boundary) of social distancing.”
The latest announcement for this lighting activity comes on the 9th day of the lockdown that was announced by Modi on 24 March and came into effect the next day.
India currently has 1,860 active cases of coronavirus in the country and has recorded 53 deaths due to the contagion.