Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nonagenarian mother Hiraba, who resides near Gandhinagar, was seen beating a utensil in response to his son’s appeal to express gratitude to health professionals fighting Coronavirus by clapping or by ringing bells for five minutes at 5pm on Sunday, the day that was declared Janta Curfew for observation of social distancing measures to break the chain of the transmission of the deadly disease.
The video of Hiraba beating a plate while sitting on a chair went viral and the prime minister himself tweeted to acknowledge her participation and that of several other “mothers”.
Mother. Mother, blessed by you and crores of other mothers like you, doctors, nurses, security personnel, cleaning workers and media professionals and countless others like them who are fighting Coronavirus will be inspired. They will get the strength to move further in their endeavours,” the PM tweeted in Hindi.
Millions of people across the country stayed indoors on Sunday in an unprecedented and overwhelming response to ‘Janta curfew’ before coming out briefly at 5 pm to show gratitude to health and other essential service providers with sounds of bells, conches and claps.
The prime minister thanked the people but said it was the start of a long battle, as he urged them to follow social distancing to stop the chain of transmission of coronavirus which has infected 360 people and claimed seven lives in India.
As the clock struck 5, the air was filled with a medley of sounds from bells, conches and beating of metal plates, with people coming out in balconies, lawns and terrace of their homes to express appreciation for medical and other staff who are on the frontline of the battle against the coronavirus.
From children to the elderly, common people to VIPs, residents of metropolitan cities to villages, all responded to Prime Minister Modi’s appeal to show gratitude to doctors, paramedics, police, sanitary workers, mediapersons and other personnel associated with essential services.
By evening, authorities announced a slew of extraordinary restrictions including suspension of all interstate-buses, passenger trains and metro services in the country, while 80 districts in 17 states and five Union Territories including Delhi where coronavirus cases have been reported were locked down till March 31.