Millions of Indians across the country lit diyas, candles or turned on mobile phone torches on Sunday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to show collective resolve and solidarity in the fight against coronavirus. The enthusiasm was much visible much before the designated time of 9 pm, as people turned off lights at their homes while lamps and candles lit up the streets as people stood in their balconies and at entrance doors in unison.
At many places the air resonated with the sounds of devotional songs, mantras and national anthem, in scenes similar to the ones seen across the country on March 22 when Modi had sought to rally Indians by asking them to come out briefly at 5 pm to show gratitude to health and other essential service providers.
Prime Minister Modi, who had had on Friday urged people to turn off lights at their homes for nine minutes at 9 pm to display the country's collective resolve and solidarity to defeat the virus, posted on Twitter his own pictures of lighting lamp.
People continued to stay outside while maintaining social distancing much beyond the nine minutes. In some pockets, Diwali seemed to have arrived months earlier.
People took to social media and shared pictures of diyas and candles lit in their homes. Some pictures, doing the rounds on social media also claimed NASA has captured the images of India, which showed the country lit up. But, has NASA really released some images?
T 3493 -— Nitish Bharadwaj (@nicks_bharadwaj) April 5, 2020
Live photo of India taken at 9:06pm by NASA
Kudos Modi ji we are proud to have such a great saint amongst us. pic.twitter.com/x3BSStYero
NASA releases the customary pic...— IIIIIIIIII (@_NairFYI) April 5, 2020
India on fire ? pic.twitter.com/W9Zpl0Ey2c
India Lights Up as seen from Space..NASA photos of India showing solidarity by lighting Lamps— Little Tigress (@shytigress) April 5, 2020
Nasa releases latest image after India expresses solidarity on 05.04.2020 at 21:06 pic.twitter.com/7kJRseYgan
On social media, netizens claimed the images from US space agency were captured post 9 PM - when millions of Indians lit diyas and candles in and outside their homes.
The truth behind NASA images showing India gleaming post 9 PM on April 5
NASA has yet not released any images of India. Back in 2017, the US space agency had released some images of the Earth, showing how our planet looks like during the dark. Before 2017, NASA had released similar images in 2012 as well.
According to a report, the images - claiming to be that of India's on Sunday night, have been formed through a number of earlier images released by NASA. The image doing the rounds on social media was formed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2003.
NOAA is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere.
The India image which was earlier released by NOAA showed population growth within the country.
The nine-minute lights-out event on Sunday evening went off well without any disruption in the electricity grid after the government and utilities put in place elaborate plans to deal with the sudden drop and then a quick spurt in demand.