Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 3 asked Indians, entering the ninth day of a harsh lockdown, to demonstrate collective will to fight the coronavirus, a token demonstration of which, he said, would be to light candles, lamps, mobile torches for nine minutes on April 5 at 9 p.m. “There is no bigger force than our conviction and resolve. There is nothing we cannot achieve with these forces,” he said.
Addressing the nation via a video conference, Mr. Modi made it very clear that the Coronavirus threat could only be combated with the full co-operation of the people, and that the collective strength was what would take the country out of what he termed “darkness that engulfs us” in the form of coronavirus.
The plight of the poor, with the grinding halt of all economic activity, was also foremost in Mr. Modi’s address. “We have to take our poor bretheren towards the light and certainty. To defeat this darkness, we have to shine the light in every direction,” he said.
Acknowledging that being under lockdown could be a lonely experience full of anxiety, Mr. Modi assured the people that “we, none of us, are alone” and that the “collective will of 1.3 billion people of India was with us in this time of crisis.”
After some areas in the country saw instances of mass gatherings around Mr. Modi’s earlier exhortation to applaud essential services workers during the Janata Curfew of March 22, he made it a point to say that nobody should repeat that experience. “Either stay at your doors, on your balcony etc, but please do not cross the Laxman Rekha of your home,” he said. “Social distancing is the only Ram Ban [weapon] we have to combat coronavirus,” he said.
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