India has done a commendable job in containing the spread of the deadly coronavirus and has already implemented an array of measures for the last month. India started early in its fight against the pandemic: from early isolation, tracking the ones who are possibly affected to multiple follow-ups of the ones isolated! Now, only after the first round of measures did we find our Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation. He did not want to be all talks and no action! And I think this is a brilliant move by the Prime Minister. He has definitely successfully reassured the citizen that the measures of combating this deadly virus are in place, now he requires the support and coordination of the citizens in this fight. We are in this together, as individuals and as a nation, and we shouldn’t forget that! 

PM Modi is rightly called the people’s PM. We have seen in all his previous initiatives as well as to how he includes the people. He makes them a part of all the processes which ensures that people are aware of what is happening around without panic. He uses his popularity to the right use as any message from him will ensure that people are sensitised for any upcoming challenges and will bust the fake news circulating. 

Yesterday, in his 30-minute-long address to the nation, PM Modi asked the nation to follow two things: Resolve and Restraint. And to start this process off, he has announced the Janta Curfew on the March 22 from 7 am to 9 pm. No, this curfew won’t be enforced by the state, it will be observed by the people themselves. This is indeed a litmus test for us as a nation to see how well we are prepared to handle this pandemic. He has also asked everybody to call at least 10 people and inform them of the Janata Curfew and measures to protect themselves from the coronavirus. As he had mentioned in his speech, the success of Janata Curfew will help us determine our preparedness. This is like a mock drill for us to prepare if the situation gets grave in the future. 

Well, another important point to note in his speech was his message to stay together. We are all worried about having food, medicines, and sanitizers during our quarantine, but nobody is thinking about staying mentally healthy! We saw a suspected coronavirus victim committing suicide just because of social ostracisation associated with the fatal virus. We need to stop doing that. This outbreak of COVID-19 has already been very stressful for our people. The fear and anxiety about this are overwhelming and are causing extreme reactions in our citizens. So, how do we cope with this? At 5 pm on Sunday, following the sirens, we all need to come out to our balconies and salute those serving others risking their lives. No, this isn’t a social media gimmick. This is done to foster a sense of togetherness. It will make us feel that we are all in it together and we will be together no matter what. These claps are also to encourage those who are tirelessly serving us day and night: the doctors, the nurses, the hospital staff, those who are delivering goods and services at our doorstep, the government agencies, airport officials, the law enforcement agencies, etc. They aren’t worried for their safety, rather they are ensuring we are safe and secure. These innovative ways help in encouraging those who are tirelessly working for our safety. 

Research has proven that the stress of disaster brings people together. According to a study by Markus Heinrichs and Bernadette von Dawans done at the University of Freiburg, Germany, the acute stress arising out of a disaster leads to people being more cooperative, social, and friendly. We all know that during a crisis situation, many human connections are formed. And this connection will help us all survive in this hour of crisis. So, it is imperative for us to stay together and fight this crisis and emerge victorious!

No, this does not imply that the government is washing their hands off. Our government now needs our support to amp up the preparation. This Janata Curfew is a step in the right direction, and we need to not just accept it with open arms but also provide our full support to it. This crisis has been termed as the biggest crisis since World War II and now it is upon us to contain it. We should ignore all the social media honkers who keep criticising the PM. Just because he did not announce what they wanted to hear; they are honking! We should definitely try and read in between the lines of PM’s speech. He prepared us for an upcoming emergency without panic. He understands us better than we do and so he used symbols and rituals to convey the message. He knows that if we are together in this fight, we can deal with anything!

About Abhinav Khare

Abhinav Khare is the CEO of Asianet News Network and also the host of a daily show named Deep Dive with AK. He has a lifetime collection of books and gadgets and has already pinged more than hundred cities around the globe. 

He is a tech entrepreneur, who is passionate about policy, technology, economy and philosophy from ancient India. He earned an MS Engineering from the ETH Zurich and an MBA Finance from the London Business School.