AGENCIES, Delhi/ Mumbai/Kolkata: Millions of people switched off lights and lit diyas and candles in their balconies and verandas on Sunday night at 9 pm for nine minutes following a call this week from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to challenge the darkness spread by coronavirus.
Somewhat out of sync with the sombre moment, crackers were burst in many localities in a recreation of Diwali.
As the clock struck 9 pm tens of thousands of diyas and candles were lit as people wearing face masks burst firecrackers, blew conch shells and shouted and cheered in response to the Prime Minister’s call. Spiritual slogans were heard too, as well as chants of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.
In Delhi, PM Modi led the charge by lighting diyas at his residence. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP chief JP Nadda were among those to post photos of themselves lighting diyas outside their residences.
Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu also lit lamps outside his home, as did Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu was among the first political leaders to post on social media.
Interestingly, although the country is under the Prime Minister’s total lockdown and only shops selling essential items are allowed to function, a number of makeshift roadside shops and carts sold diyas at various places across the country on Sunday.
This was the second collective display to show unity in the fight against the virus requested by the Prime Minister since the lockdown started. He had earlier asked people to stand outside houses and in balconies and clap, or bang utensils together, for five minutes at 5 pm to celebrate medical staff involved in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
Social media was flooded with photographs of netizens sharing moments from the historic April 5 #9pm9minute event. Take a look, we bring you some:
शुभं करोति कल्याणमारोग्यं धनसंपदा ।
शत्रुबुद्धिविनाशाय दीपज्योतिर्नमोऽस्तुते ॥ pic.twitter.com/4DeiMsCN11
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 5, 2020
A ray of hope and belief can brighten the darkest times.
On PM @narendramodi ji’s clarion call, have switched off the lights at my home and lit diyas.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) April 5, 2020
For all the doctors, police men, for the patients. Peace, positivity all around. Thank you❤️
All of us will get through this together.#COVID2019 #9PM9minute #GoCorona #IndiaFightsCoronavirus pic.twitter.com/xkHr8gnu2f
— Pratham Mittal (@Pratham46300187) April 5, 2020
— Shalini Tiwari (@imShaliniTiwari) April 5, 2020
— Maj Gen Surinder Sharma (@Surinder_Sh) April 5, 2020
— Priyanshu Agrawal (@Priyyaansh) April 5, 2020