I am the Political Editor with the Hindu BusinessLine.

Poornima Joshi

Lead kindly light

Poornima Joshi | Updated on April 15, 2020

Surviving Self-Distancing – Day 10

So the Philosopher King has ordained that we light diyas on Sunday night to ward off the evil virus. There is great power in faith, belief when all else fails, just so you know. Why, we even had the former head of the largest association of doctors in the country actually locate the science behind the King’s command, minutes after it had been delivered. “It’s based on collective consciousness, based on the quantum principle of Ritambhara Prajna. If we collectively think about the coronavirus not depositing on our ACE2 receptors, then collective consciousness will make sure than this happens,” explained Dr K. K. Aggarwal, former head of the Indian Medical Association in a YouTube video that was briefly tweeted by a Government of India website.

We can all breathe easy now. The King has found a way when the whole world fails. All it needed was the lighting of a lamp. Simple. I was a bit confused about the “nine minutes” part though. “Switch off all lights at 9 pm and light a diya at your doorstep for nine minutes,” was the command. Why nine minutes? Why not ten, 11 or seven or five, now that’s an auspicious number. But then I figured. It’s 9 pm and nine minutes for a diya just as it was 5 pm for five minutes for a clap-in-the-balcony diktat at the beginning of our collective ordeal. 9 pm and nine minutes, 5 pm and five minutes. Didn’t you get it? It rhymes.

We may soon have some official lyricists in Bollywood write a song, “Diya jale, jan jale (I love Dil Se and Shah Rukh, what can I say).” Dada Kondke is dead or we would have had a film of the morning shows variety too. Andheri Raat Mein Diya Tere Haath Mein would be apt for a title, what do you say?

It’s fun running India, isn’t it? We’re such a credulous country of believers. Shadi Ramji the painter still believes his Pitaji (Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan, currently serving prison term for murder and rape and facing further prosecution for more murders and forced castrations) is in Samadhi in some ashram abroad. The Baba in jail is actually not his Pitaji, says Shadi Ramji. Baba Rampal, also serving life sentence for murder in Hisar central jail, inspired violent backlash from his supporters when the followers of Arya Samaj objected to his criticism of their order. Then, of course, there is Asa Ram Bapu, also serving sentence for rape of a minor girl, whose release has been demanded by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy given the threat of coronavirus in overcrowded prisons. I wonder where Radhey Maa has disappeared to these days and one must not forget Nirmal Baba who was treating serious ailments with samosa and gulab jamun consumption.

So I have no doubt that we would duly follow the latest diktat from the Dear Leader just as we happily clanged steel and clapped from our balconies. The TVwallahs must already be lining up astrologers and numerology experts to share their predictions about the effect of diya lighting in containing the contagion. India is fighting a cosmic war. We will fight it on the balconies with steel and we will fight on the doorsteps with diyas. We will fight it on twitter and we will fight it on TV. And woe be unto anyone who has no balcony, doorstep or corrupts the national effort by walking wilfully on highways after getting sacked and thrown out of job. Achche Din are here.

Published on April 08, 2020

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