The noble intention was to end the darkness and uncertainty emanating from the crisis, by progressing towards light and certainty. It is up to one’s choice whether to focus on the darkness or the light during those 9 minutes. Both surely were there. The significance of light is common in all religions. Christmas, Diwali, Eid, and Vesak all have lights associated with it. People thus trying to paint the initiative with religious colours will have to produce a rainbow, which is again a symbol of renewed hope.
The outcome of #9minutes9M like its set up, which has both light and darkness have indeed both positive and not-so-positive consequences. Rampant disregards for #SocialDistancing were witnessed in many places. There were people who went to the extent of bursting crackers so much so, that a renowned journalist reminded people that “It is not bloody Diwali” in his tweet. The fact that the use of bloody before an auspicious festival had enraged many people notwithstanding, we the common people have the tendency of taking everything to the extreme. If viral videos circulated in social media are to be believed, Solapur Airport runway and few houses were in flames as a result of blazing crackers; a lesson for us yet again, to stick to what is requested of us. Then there are news and videos of people switching off their lights and singing “we shall overcome, we shall overcome” ( hum honge kamyab) which instilled a new sense of determination in this fight against #Covid19.
Since the day lockdown was enforced, most of the citizens are stuck inside the four walls of their rooms; only workers of essential service providers and healthcare staff are busy on the ground. It anyways is not advisable and practically impossible for everyone to tender the sick and weak. To imbibe a sense of togetherness, any initiative which encourages the participation of all the citizens of this country as long as it does not social distancing norms, is a much-needed exercise. #9minutes9PM delivers the all-important message that ‘though the whole country may not be physically involved but we are morally united as a nation in this fight against covid19’. Another accomplishment during the #9Minutes9PM initiative was the addressal of the need to divert our thoughts and minds away from the mental stress associated with #Lockdown and #Isolation .
Now that we have done our part of participating in the symbolic fight against the highly contagious disease, it is time to focus on works at the ground. Some people raised serious concerns about our lack of attention towards the alarming shortage of medical equipment for our healthcare workers. In fact, #SaveOurDoctors campaign has been trending in social media in the last few days. Though assuring enough is the Govt’s allocation of funds for the pandemic disease, we need to give higher priority to developing medical infrastructures including test kits and medical equipment. As the WHO Director-General said, we will have to ‘Test, Test and Test’ apart from enforcing #Lockdown. Most importantly, our frontline fighters, like in any battle should be strong and powerful enough to withhold the enemy to have greater chance of winning.
Unlike the darkness that lasts only for nine minutes during #9minutes9PM, the gloom brought in by the Virus does not have a countdown for it to disappear. As our effort of lighting through the darkness for nine minutes ends, and our rooms once again are lit by pressing the switches ON, we hope that the natural switches turned ON before our candles are exhausted in this long drawn darkness. Until then, let us hold on to the lights within us and shine, strong enough not just for ourselves but also for those around us.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.