PM Narendra Modi has appealed citizens to switch off electric lights at 9 pm on Sunday for nine minutes, and light candles or diyas, or flash torchlights or mobile lights standing at their doorsteps or balconies. “Amid the darkness spread by the corona pandemic, we must continuously progress towards light and hope,” the PM said in an address to the nation on Friday. “We must continuously strive to take those of us most affected, our poor brothers and sisters, from disappointment to hope. We must end the darkness and uncertainty emanating from the crisis, by progressing towards light and certainty. We must defeat the deep darkness of the crisis, by spreading the glory of light in all four directions,” he said, adding: “We must awaken the superpower of 130 crore Indians.” Modi had earlier asked Indians to observe a Janata Curfew on March 22. At the time, he had exhorted people to express their gratitude to healthcare workers by clinking plates and spoons or ringing bells at 5 pm for five minutes.
Prime Minister ‘s humble request
The PM has specifically asked citizens to not step out of their houses during Sunday’s exercise. “Please do not go out on to the roads, lanes or your localities, do it at the doorstep or balconies of your own homes. One must never cross the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ of social distancing. This is the only panacea to break the chain of coronavirus,” the PM said.
At a time when crores of people are confined to their homes, some may be worried about how they are going to fight such a big battle on their own. Many are also concerned about how many more days they will have to spend like this, he said. When people turn off all the electric lights of their homes and light a diya, they will experience the superpower of light, clearly illuminating the common purpose for which everyone is fighting for, he said.
Unity outbreaks in India
PM Modi said that this exercise would show the unity of Indians. He added that we must shine light on the ones who are the most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. “We must move towards the light. We must take the ones who are affected the most — the ones with less resources — towards hope. We must move past the darkness and uncertainty that has been created, and go towards the light. We must spread the light everywhere,” he said.
React for PM’s speech
Reacting to Modi’s video message to the nation, former Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram said symbolism is important, but serious thought to ideas and measures is equally important. In a series of tweets, he said people will listen to the Prime Minister and light diyas on April 5. “But, in return, please listen to us and to the wise counsel of epidemiologists and economists. What we expected from you today was FAP II, a generous livelihood support package for the poor, including for those categories of poor who were totally ignored by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 25.”
“Every working man and woman, from business person to daily wage earner, also expected you to announce steps to arrest the economic slide and re-start the engines of economic growth. The people are disappointed on both counts. Symbolism is important, but serious thought to ideas and measures is equally important,” he said.
Left parties urged the Centre to ensure that in all urban centres, particularly in the large urban slums, there was supply of foodgrains and essentials for the needy. This is urgently needed to prevent hunger, starvation and the community spread of Covid-19. This is the harvest season. Farmers need to be supported to ensure that the food crop is not wasted which is essential for our food security. The Food Corporation of India must be directed to procure at MSP to prevent distress selling,” the parties said in a joint statement.
Sit alone and experience the superpower of 130 Cr. people standing together. This will give us the power to get through this. He said told to reminded everyone that there is nothing greater than our spirit in this world. Called on the nation to come together and win this fight against corona.