New Delhi: India will switch off its lights for 9 minutes at 9pm on Sunday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday appealed for a show of solidarity to end the "darkness" of coronavirus.
PM Modi had urged people to switch off lights of their homes and light up lamps, candles, mobile flashlights to display the nation's collective spirit.
In a video message, the prime minister said people should maintain social distancing and not form groups while lighting up lamps. He said the people should stay indoors.
He also said that people displayed unprecedented discipline and sense of service during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown that started on March 24 for a period of 21 days.
This message was apparently aimed at ensuring that there is no repeat of March 22 evening when people assembled in large numbers in many parts of the country to ring bells or bang utensils to show their gratitude to those working on the frontlines during the crisis.
The prime minister told the nation that many people must have felt alone being at home during the ongoing lockdown but they must realise that the collective strength of 130 crore Indians is with each one of them.
It is required for the country's people to experience the "greatness, majesty and divinity" of this shared strength and resolve from time to time, he said.
Once people everywhere light up lamps or display flashlights of their mobile phones at their doorsteps or balconies after turning off the lights at home, it will emerge in this "superpower" of brightness that "we are all fighting with a collective resolve".
"In that brightness we should resolve that we are not alone. Nobody is alone," Modi said.
He again emphasised the need to maintain social distancing, saying this is a sure-shot solution to prevent the pandemic.
Modi asked people to keep in their minds the poor, a large number of whom have been hit hard by the lockdown, and help them "walk from darkness spread by coronavirus to light and hope".
"In this darkness spread by the coronavirus pandemic, we must continuously progress towards light and hope. We must continuously strive to take those of us most affected, our poor brothers and sisters, from disappointment to hope. We must end the darkness and uncertainty emanating from the crisis, by progressing towards light and certainty," he said.
Modi asked people to think about "Maa Bharati" (Mother India) and its 130 crore citizens with their combined resolve, saying this will give them strength to fight and the confidence to win in this hour of crisis.
Citing a Sankrit shloka, he said there is no greater force in the world than our enthusiasm and spirit.
Noting that it was the ninth day of the 21-day nationwide lockdown, Modi had said the discipline and spirit of service displayed by people during this period were unprecedented.
"The way people thanked everyone fighting against coronavirus on March 22 has become an example for many countries to follow," he said.
It has helped the country realise its collective strength and that the nation can fight coronavirus collectively, he said.
Last month, the prime minister had addressed the nation twice -- on March 19 and March 24.
On March 19, he had called for resolve and restraint to fight coronavirus. He had also announced a 'janta curfew' on March 22, a Sunday.
On March 24, he had announced the 21-day nationwide lockdown to check the spread of the deadly virus.