DIYA TREAT … Crores of families in India light Diya, candles in PM-inspired drive against Covid-19


TOP .. PM lighting diya… and (below) the scene at Presidential Palace (Rashtrapati Bhavan)


NEW DELHI: Crores of families across India switched off lights at their homes at 9pm for nine minutes, lit diyas (flames) in front of their homes, in a collective resolve of the nation to fight the corona virus epidemic that is taking a huge toll across nations and in a small way yet in India. 

The nine-minute show was as per advice by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the nation a few days ago. Street lights remained lit, so also home appliances and computers, as advised by the Union Power Ministry.

Prime Minister Modi himself lit the ceremonial lamp at his official residence in Delhi, after switching off the lights, and he did so wearing a dhoti in south Indian style. 

Families lit diyas, candles, or turned on their mobile phone torches at 9pm. Women, as usual, were in the forefront of the nation’s response to the PM’s call. The nation is currently under a three-week lockdown announced by the PM on March 24 until April 14. People are not allowed to go out of their homes except for urgent or essential requirements.

PM Modi’s mother at it….
Contrary to fears expressed in some quarters, the electicity grid did not report any problem during the 9 minute nationwide switch-off. 

The Covid-19 epidemic which claimed some 70,000 lives globally has led to hospitalization of nearly 11lakh people across nations. The US and Europe are the worst-hit, number of deaths multiplying in quick succession, while China where the plague erupted has brought the situation under control. Deaths however are continuing there too.

PM Modi’s call for lighting diyas was more of a symbolic attempt to check the spread of the virus, and might also be guided by astrological advice by Hindu sages.  

A family at it… near Kochi, Kerala Picture by Girish P

His attempt also is seen as part of efforts to unify India under his firm leadership. “You may be alone at home but 130 crore people are with you,” he had said while making the appeal to fuse a sense of unity and purpose among people during the ongoing lock=down.

The Prime Minister had earlier called for a Janata Curfew, his first call to the nation after the Covid outbreak, when he asked people to clap or beat utensils on March 22, for five minutes at 5pm. This was as part of his call for a  ‘Janata Curfew’ from 7am to 9pm that day, to thank those working in essentials services. 

Diya at another home…Pic sent by Prithvik Kumar

The nation responded overwhelmingly to both the calls, giving the PM a massive go-ahead to take the nation out of the woods in these difficult times. India won praise from UN and world leaders for the prompt declaration of the nationwide lock-down, well before things got out of control. The lock-down is expected to be withdrawn in a phased manner, not wholesale at its end on April 14.

Confirmed cases in India on Sunday  rose to nearly 4000 infections. and deaths to 83. Delhi has reported the highest number of infections: 503, followed by Maharashtra with 490 cases of infections, Tamil Nadu 485 and Kerala 308 infections so far. IHN-NN

ASSOCIATED IMAGES ………………………………………………………………………….

Kerala chief minister and CPIM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan and family light diya at CM’s residence

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