Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted a series of photos on Sunday evening, showing him standing beside a lighted lamp to symbolize the fight to keep away the darkness posed by coronavirus. A Sanskrit verse accompanying the photographs, roughly translated, read, “Salutations to the light of the lamp which brings auspiciousness, health and prosperity, which destroys inimical feelings; salutations to the light of the lamp”,
In Gujarat, the Prime Minister’s mother, 93-year-old Hiraben also joined in, lighting an earthen lamp after turning off all the lights in her home.
Elsewhere, the “battle” against the virus became a festive spree, as millions ‘fought back’ not just with lamps, but firecrackers, claps, cheers and conch shells.
The appeal for “nine minutes of candle-light at 9”, was made by the Prime Minister in a video address last week.
“On April 5, Sunday, at 9 pm, I want 9 minutes from all of you. Turn off all the lights in your homes, stand at your doors or balconies and light candles, diya (lamp) or mobile flashlights for 9 minutes,” PM Modi said in a video message on Friday morning.
“We must all together, challenge the darkness spread by the coronavirus crisis… To overcome this darkness, we must all unite to spread the light,” he had said. “No one is alone during the lockdown, the collective superpower of 130 crore Indians is with every citizen. We must all go through this darkness together,” he added in the message.
The country had responded as enthusiastically as it did about two weeks ago, when the Prime Minister had called for a five minutes of applause for the “Corona warriors”.
Starting with the President Ram Nath Kovind and his family at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Governors, Chief Ministers and other political leaders had joined in, tweeting their photos as well. The national capital, which celebrates Diwali with gusto every year, turned it into a mini festival of lights.
On Twitter, hashtags #IndiaFightsCoronavirus, #9MinutesForIndia and #Diwali became top trends.
Over 500 novel coronavirus cases were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases past the 3,500 mark. The data from the Health Ministry also showed that 83 people have died and 275 people have been discharged.