New Delhi: As a gesture and acknowledgement to all those who are on the frontlines in the battle against the COVID-19 outbreak, Indians came together for a nine-minute show of solidarity at 9 pm on Sunday.
On the request of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, people across the country switched their lights off, coming out on their rooftops or balconies to light a candle for nine minutes as a salutation for those risking their lives while fighting coronavirus,
The Prime Minister had requested Indians to pay their respects in a video message stating, “We have stood together and fought the coronavirus pandemic togethere We have set an example to the world. In the time of lockdown, we displayed the same unity. Crores of people are in their homes. We might be alone in our homes, but we are not alone in this fight. The Indian society is fighting this together. This Sunday, April 5, we must come together to dissolve the darkness of COVID-19 and bring in light. On April 5, 9pm, I need your nine minutes. Turn off all lights in your home and light lamps, mobile flash lights and torches. We are not alone in this fight. Nobody is alone. But, please do this activity within the confines of your home. Do not violate social distancing.”
India is currently under a 21-day lockdown, imposed by the government, which is one of the strictest steps taken in the fight against the novel coronavirus compared to any other nation in the world.
Many celebrities took to their social media accounts to post pictures in support of what is being called the e#9Baje9Minute’ or e#9pm9minutes’ across online platforms.
Actor Akshay Kumar posted a picture of himself holding a candle at his window commenting, “Together we stand and together we will come out of this dark phase. Till then stay strong, stay safe #9Baje9Minute.” Actors Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh also shared a picture during this time of self-isolation.
Power couple, cricketer Virat Kohli and actress Anushka Sharma also posted a picture lighting traditional diyas (candles). Virat commented, “A prayer in unity does make a difference. Pray for every being and stand together,” while Anushka wrote, “I light a diya everyday for many years now. And as I light the diya I seek guidance, asking for the darkness in me to be dispelled. For many days since the turn of the recent events across the world, I have prayed to God to end the suffering of so many who are losing their lives without their families beside them, for the less-fortunate and the needy whose lives have turned upside down completely, for all the healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly & bravely to protect the lives of other beings, for those who are uncertain about their jobs and future. So tonight, I prayed extra for everyone and I lit diyas with the whole of India and we all prayed for each other. Prayers never go in vain,” on their respective Instagram posts.
During this time India has seen the cleanest air levels in almost 3 decades as businesses, industries and transport have come to a standstill. However, while most choose to support the activity, many Indians especially in affluent localities or over crowded societies saw this as an opportunity to light fire crackers, creating both noise pollution and air pollution, which was neither the request nor the motive behind the event.