Covid-19 Fight: How PM Modi’s video message and lighting candles may help - Hindustan Times
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Covid-19 Fight: How PM Modi’s video message and lighting candles may help

ByAditi Prasad
Apr 03, 2020 01:58 PM IST

In all fairness, expectations are high every time PM Modi puts out a message that he is going to address the nation. And many of us were expecting him to address the disgraceful attack on doctors and medical staff witnessed in many areas of the country over the past several days.

On Day 10 of the lockdown PM Modi delivered a symbolic video message at 9 am this morning.

Coronavirus update: PM Modi delivered a symbolic video message at 9 am this morning.(BJP4India/Twitter)
Coronavirus update: PM Modi delivered a symbolic video message at 9 am this morning.(BJP4India/Twitter)

The Prime Minister told 1.3 billion Indians to spend 9 minutes of their time on their balconies at 9pm on Sunday to light candles or mobile flashlights to display collective spirit to fight the Coronavirus.

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The message was more symbolic than anything else. India completed nine days of lockdown yesterday. The PM’s appeal for a collective show of unity was clearly to deal with two things: A. Overcome the overwhelming feeling of being alone and isolated in these trying times and B. to send out a message of unity and togetherness in the war against Covid-19...

Of course, given the experience during the Janta curfew, when some folks took to the streets to beat utensils and clap to celebrate the essential service workers, Modi this time added the social distance caveat in his message. He urged people to NOT gather at one place or take to the streets for this exercise.

Watch| ‘Switch off lights, light candles at 9 pm on Sunday’: PM Modi’s message amid lockdown l Full speech

But social media was flooded with memes no sooner had the PM finished with his video message. The cynics came out in droves asking why Modi did not utter a single word about rising count of coronavirus cases, testing, health infrastructure, migrant workers or economic woes.

In all fairness, expectations are high every time PM Modi puts out a message that he is going to address the nation. And many of us were expecting him to address the disgraceful attack on doctors and medical staff witnessed in many areas of the country over the past several days.

But then, the symbolism in Modi’s message was perhaps equally important.

Many simply underestimate PM Modi’s connect with the masses. Modi’s message underlined the importance of the lockdown, that it shouldn’t be violated and emphasised on the need of the hour that is social distancing.

Also right now, when most everyone is confined to their respective homes and is relatively socially isolated, collective displays of unity will likely boost morale, and give a sense of togetherness in the fight.

And if the collective task is to fight the Covid-19 darkness with diyas and mobile flashlights at 9pm for 9 minutes, then so be it.

(Views expressed are personal)

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