A ray of light ...Hope!

The darkness is nothing but the absence of light !

"...The Nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel", said the President Abraham Lincoln while speaking to the 166th Ohio Regiment during

August 22, 1864. The communication to the soldiers, during any war is an amalgamation of a appeal, an inspiration, a fear and a ray of hope. Many leaders over the period of time have won wars, by sheer words of inspiration, to their soldiers. The right words delivered in the right way at the right time have helped to turn the tide when morale was suffering, when casualties were high and ammunition was low.

Today, in this war against Corona, every human being is a soldier. They are expected to contribute by keeping themselves #StayHome. This probably is the biggest war of all times, where every person on the earth is considered 'soldier' and expected to contribute.

A country of 138+ crore diverse population, India has a unique challenge. Being one of the most densely populated countries in the world, the basic of 'social distancing' itself is a difficult weapon to hold. The densely populated areas of cities and urban centres have been giving nightmares to the administrative machinery. An irresponsible behaviour of a Corona affected individual may lead to a non-manageable scenario, for this machinery. Knowing fully this fact, the country is in a Preventive mode of coronavirus treatment. Technological evolution in the recent past, has converted an individual into a broadcaster. It gave an immense power in the hands of human beings who with a tip of his fingers, can spread information to any part of the world, within no time. The non-authenticated and non-verified, WhatsApp forwards, are appearing like a 'demon' panicking us, during this time of crisis. The world leaders, across the globe therefore, have been struggling to curb the fake information and keep their countrymen in locked down condition, adhere to the lock-down rules. Every moment is a learning moment for them, exploring the possibilities to keep these soldiers inspired and motivated, all the time. 'Doing is learning' for them.

The Government of India has adopted a multi-pronged communication strategy. It involved direct communication and interaction through video conferencing with important and different stakeholders/groups like the owners of media houses including print, electronic and radio, industry bodies like FICCI/ CII and industrial houses, the leaders of various religions organisations and sects, the Chief Ministers of all states and others. Different orders, appeals and administrative directions have been issued which are being implemented on the ground. This communication, is being complemented by intermittent involvement of entire population like Janta Curfew and lighting of lamps.

The communication of lighting of lamps has been perceived differently and received mixed reactions. It is important to note that, advisory, instructions, information, warnings and compensatory benefits/ schemes have been announced on multiple occasions, through multiple platforms. What people require today, during this Corona war, is a motivation and an inspiration, to remain immobile for few more days to come. Each this stayed-home soldier, needs to know that his action is supported and complemented by 138 crore other soldiers and his /her fellow countrymen. United but stayed at home, will keep every one of us safe! The call for lighting the lamp, burning a candle, holding a torch or mobile light is a simple and doable act, for all, across the religions, symbolising our collective march against the spread of virus! It is a symbolic act, mobilising and inspiring people for a cause of #Stayhome, which can remove the Corona's darkness through the symbolic lighting of lamp.

'Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light'.

(Santosh Ajmera is Joint Director, Regional Outreach Bureau, I&B Ministry and incharge of publicity & campaign for GOI, in Maharashtra & Goa region).

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