Indians unite in clap act, express gratitude for COVID fighters

Citizens clap, clang utensils and blow conches across cities at 5 pm to pay tribute to care providers and emergency responders working to fight coronavirus

Janata curfew
People clap and clang utensils to show gratitude to the helpers and medical practitioners who are working relentlessly to fight coronavirus during Janta curfew | PTI File

At dot 5 pm on Sunday, streets, localities and residential complexes across India, which wore a silent and deserted look all day long due to the dawn-to-dusk Janta curfew, reverberated with the sounds of claps and chimes as residents, assembled at their doorsteps and balconies to thank care providers and emergency responders working on the front line of the battle against coronavirus, on the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While politicians across the country including BJP leaders LK Advani and Venkaiah Naidu, Karnataka Chief Minister YS Yediyurappa and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik participated in the exercise, Prime Minister Modi’s mother Heeraben too was seen clanging utensil at her residence in Ahmedabad as a mark of gratitude to those providing essential services.

Several residents shared photos and videos and the experience of the moment from their respective localities on social media, while Twitter trended with the hashtag #Goosebumps soon after the five minutes of solidarity.

Some videos showed entire families gathering at their doorsteps and merrily clapping for a full five minutes, while others showed residents standing in their balconies and ringing chimes and blowing conches to the sound of claps.

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Many said the experience filled them with patriotic feeling, akin to that experienced during the hoisting of the national flag during Republic or Independence Day.

“Have you felt a lump in your throat, felt goosebumps? I did. The feeling that being Indian is not limited to seeing the flags being hoisted on August 15 and January 26,” said Pavan Sunkireddy, a branding and marketing professional in Chennai’s Madipakkam locality.

Some thanked Prime Minister Modi, for not only inspiring the people of the country to pay tribute to service providers but also to self-quarantine themselves for a day to break the chain of coronavirus.

“What I witnessed today at 5 pm is nothing but amazing and unimaginable. Undoubtedly my generation hasn’t seen a taller leader than Narendra Modi whose just one appeal is enough. The way people participated in the self-isolation program today, I doubt they would have listened to any other leader the same way,” posted Rohit Mishra, an assistant professor based in Odisha’s Keonjhar district, on his Facebook page.

“The entire country kept itself locked down the entire day and then came out clapping for health workers, policemen and others who are fighting to keep us safe from COVID-19. I haven’t ever seen something like this in my entire life. Amazing!” the post said.

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“We joined the clapping for fun, but by the end of it, the whole sound of community clapping induced a calming effect on us,” he said.

Some, however, pointed to the unnecessary noise created by some people who burst crackers and clanged utensils for a prolonged time.

“People seemed to be enthusiastic in showing gratitude to doctors, armed forces and police personnel taking care of the society. But a few erratic elements also burst crackers which was certainly unnecessary. People were advised to clap and clang utensils for five minutes but it lasted for over 25 mins which might have irked elderly people and patients,” said Vishwas Dass, a journalist based in New Delhi.

Sunday’s 5 o clock clapping comes on the request of Prime Minister Modi on Thursday, the day the announced the Citizen curfew.

Informing the nation about the crisis that India is in the midst of, Modi had urged people to stay indoors on Sunday and follow quarantine protocol that will follow over the next few weeks.

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