India’s sports fraternity on Sunday joined the country in showing solidarity in the fight against the rapidly-spreading COVID-19 pandemic by lighting lamps and candles in response to Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s call to demonstrate the nation’s collective resolve.
PM Modi had appealed to the people to turn off lights and instead lit diyas, candles and other forms of light for nine minutes at 9 PM on Sunday to show the country’s collective resolve to fight coronavirus.
Sports personalities such as batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, India captain Virat Kohli, chief coach Ravi Shastri, six-time world champion boxer MC Mary Kom, double Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar, other Olympic medallists like Sakshi Malik, P V Sindhu and Saina Nehwal took to social media to express their solidarity in the fight against the deadly disease.
Tendulkar thanked the sanitation workers for their selfless service and posted a photograph where everyone was holding a candle.
“My family & I thank the selfless #SanitationWarriors cleaning our surroundings & hospitals, disinfecting affected areas & thus keeping the virus at bay. Let’s also reignite our pledge to take care of our elders, the most vulnerable – by ensuring their physical & mental wellness,” he tweeted.
Kohli posted a picture where he and his actor wife Anushka Sharma were lighting lamps.
“A prayer in unity does make a difference. Pray for every being and stand together,” he wrote.
The star batsman said that he prayed a little more for the wellbeing of his fellow Indians, especially for the health workers and other professionals who are putting their lives at risk to serve others during this lockdown.
“I have prayed to God to end the suffering of so many who are losing their lives without their families beside them, for the less-fortunate and the needy whose lives have turned upside down completely, for all the health care professionals who are working tirelessly and bravely to protect the lives of other beings, for those who are uncertain about their jobs and future.
“So tonight, I prayed extra for everyone and I lit diyas with the whole of India and we all prayed for each other. Prayers never go in vain,” Kohli wrote.
Shastri also expressed his gratitude for health workers.
“I’ve paid my humble tribute to the Health Warriors. We are all in this together as #TeamIndia. I salute the selfless Heroes – police, security forces, state governments.” he tweeted.
Mary Kom posted a video where she alongwith her family could be seen with lamps and candle, while Sindhu shared a picture of her with lamps.
Sushil Kumar wrote: “Let their be light.. together we will come out of this darkness.”
Sakshi also took to twitter to show her commitment to the cause.
“One lamp in the name of the nation #9pm9minutes @narendramodi @KirenRijiju,” Sakshi wrote on her handle.
London Games bronze winner Saina, who had recently joined BJP, wrote: “I m so proud of our country .. we are really fighting hard with Coronavirus ans I m sure we will come out as winner Folded handsFolded hands #lightdiya9pm9mins tonight Smiling faceThumbs up #coronavirus.”
Cricketers Virender Sehwag, Ravichandran Ashwin, Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Pragyan Ojha, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, sprinter Hima Das and many others also joined the fight against the darkness spread by the coronavirus.
Sehwag tweeted: “In solidarity with each and every single person who is playing their part. We are all in this together and shall overcome this soon. Om Shantih Shantih Shantih.”
Ashwin posted a video of his neighbourhood.
“9 o clock 9 minutes!! #diyajalao,” he tweeted.
“But I really do wonder where all these people bought their crackers from,” he added, referring to the bursting of crackers, which could be heard across Delhi.
Hima also shared a video message where she was holding a lamp.
“The whole nation is together in this fight against coronavirus. As a nation we will defeat coronavirus and build a new nation which will be peaceful, happy and healthy,” she said in Assamese in the video.
Dipa Karmakar, who had finished fourth at Rio Games, wrote: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. Let’s fight this together.”