Sunday, March 22, 2020

Janata Curfew: India's experiment with total national lockdown

A street in Bhopal, India.
Image credit: Wikipedia
India is quiet like never before.

I woke up this morning not to the sound of vehicles, but to the sound of the chirp of birds.

I have never before heard the rustling of leaves during the day hours when the predominant sound is usually of passing vehicles.

Today the entire nation -- a population of 1.33 billion -- is staying indoors between 7 am and 9 pm. No public transport. No passenger trains. Only trains that have begun the journey before 7 am are running. No buses. No metro. All businesses shut. It's a total lockdown. Only medical services, online delivery services and media are working.

This follows an appeal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on March 20, to observe a Janata Curfew or People's Curfew - of the people, by the people, for the people - voluntarily stay indoors between 7 am and 9 pm. He said we have to do it because the crisis we are facing is a very unique one, and we have very difficult days ahead, for which we need to prepare ourselves.

THE FIVE-MINUTE JINGLE OR CLAP AT 5 PM  

The Prime Minister also exhorted everyone to come to their doorstep or to their balconies and clap or ring a bell or tap a steel utensil for five minutes in honour of every health and medical professional who is struggling out there taking care of the people who are ill.

Accordingly, in our apartment complex, many residents joined the rest of the nation, came out on to their balconies, and clapped.

HARD DAYS AHEAD

When the Prime Minister announced just a day's shutdown, the immediate thought that came to everyone's mind was how will a single day's lockdown help in any way. But he had prefaced it saying this lockdown today is to prepare ourselves for the hard days ahead.

That's what is happening now. A number of places in the country, including big cities like Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai, have now declared complete shutdown till March 31. Indian Railways today announced that no passenger train will run till 31st. Buses and metro have drastically curtailed their services.

I don't think we will return to our normal routine any time in the near future.

Take adequate care of yourself. Be safe. These are very uncertain times.

22 comments:

  1. Yes the curfew was very successful here in Kota.The roads are absolutely bare and silent.
    One is forced to think when will things become normal?

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  2. I like the five o'clock salute to healthcare providers. That's a nice, simple, and safe homage. I wish you all the best.

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    1. Yes, Darla. It was quite a success here.
      Take care.

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  3. Hi Pradeep - I do hope it works ... this virus is virulent and very dangerous - the health workers are going to be doing wonderful work - just keep clear of others ... all the best - Hilary

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  4. Hari OM
    That is an excellent step, I feel. Yes, one day - but the first of many, in all likelihood. Commonsense must reign. I too applaud the morning 'shout out' for the care workers. A lovely initiative - sadly, not something that would work here in the UK. India has the right social view on this!

    Be safe. Be well. Behave. YAM xx

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    1. Yes, Yamini. The shutdown and 'clap' for the healthworkers were big success yesterday!

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  5. Excellent idea to have a total national lockdown. I am glad Mr. Modi took the leadership role. Side effect: There is going to be a population explosion.

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  6. Yikes. But I guess it's really come to that. Take care. Stay well.

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  7. A good move and a preparation perhaps for possibly rough times ahead in the fight against the deadly virus.There is an awareness all around about the need to stay at home and be extremely watchful.

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  8. The lockdown until Mar. 31 seems to be a difficult, but necessary step. Hopefully, the virus will stop spreading by then and things return to normal.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Hi Rajesh, Now the lockdown is till April 14. Quite a long stretch. I guess, we will all get used to it!
      No other option.

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  9. We are also on lock down in Wisconsin, USA. It is unsettling and strange for all of us. Please stay safe!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michele, It's frustrating too, at times!
      Thanks for dropping by.
      Take care.

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  10. Hi Pradeep - things have certainly changed immensely in the last few weeks. I find it quite surreal seeing so few people out and about, but I'm also enjoying the change. I feel like retirement has prepared me for being locked away and I'm hoping that when we all emerge again the world will be a fresher and kinder place to live in. Stay safe and stay inside if you can.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I've shared on my SM 😊.

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    1. Hi Leanne,
      I hope the pandemic doesn't too long, and we are all able to resume our usual daily routine soon.
      I am staying at home, and working from home.

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  11. I imagine in a vast country like India, the silence must be amazing. It is great you are observing the lockdown so well; we can see what happens when countries, or people react too slowly. Hopefully days of hardship will hasten the time when we can move freely again, and your fantastic country will throb and bustle again. #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Enda, Thanks for dropping by and for your comments.
      Indeed, the government here is proactive and ahead of the game mainly because if, God forbid, if the infection goes into full-fledged Stage 3 (community spread) then the impact would be disastrous.

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  12. It must be so eerie with everyone in lock down, however, I think it is the only way to curb the spread especially in heavily populated cities. Thanks for sharing with us at #MLSTL and take care during this time

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    1. Hi Sue: Sound of Silence, as a newspaper here put it!
      Take care.

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  13. This lock down is needed. Majority of the people are following it but still I do see some vehicles passing by every now and then and the shop opposite our apartment complex is doing brisk business!

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