As India grapples with the deadly coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked people to turn off lights for nine minutes at 9 pm on April 5 to "fight the darkness" of COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus infection. In a video message released on Friday, Modi had urged people of the country: "On April 5, Sunday, at 9 pm, I want 9 minutes from all of you. Turn off all the lights in your homes, stand at your doors or balconies and light candles, diya (lamp) or mobile flashlights for 9 minutes."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi 9 pm 9 minute appeal
Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a video message on Friday and appealed people of the country to light diyas or candles or a mobile torch on April 5 at 9 pm for 9 minutes.Twitter/Screengrab

This appears to be some kind of "totka" but the government's intention is to "show solidarity and confidence in our collective fight against COVID-19". However, ever since Modi has made the appeal, his fans on social media are sharing "theories" and "scientific explanations" around why the prime minister has chosen a number 9 and how lighting diyas and candles could kill the coronavirus.

Amusing theories around PM Modi's 9 pm 9 min appeal

  1. One of the theories being shared on social media is in the name of former chairman of the Indian Medical Association Dr KK Agarwal. According to him, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to light diyas, torches and candles is related to Chapter 6 of the Yoga Vasishta." Elaborating more, he said that an enzyme called ACE 2 is a functional receptor for the coronavirus. The ACE 2 receptor is attached to the surface of the cell in the lungs, heart, arteries, kidney and intestines. "The science of our collective consciousness being able to control and heal the ACE 2 receptors is based on concepts of quantum physics," said Dr KK Agarwal.
  2. According to astrology, it is being claimed by many that choosing 9 pm and 9 minutes will star Mars' (Mangal) double effect which will give power and immunity needed to fight the coronavirus infection. 
  3. Another theory in Numerology says that coronavirus is caused by the transit of Rahu. "The number for Rahu is four and is right now travelling in the Budh Rashi. The number for Budh (Mercury) is five... April 5 is the only date in this month that gives us the combination of both these numbers," numerologist Nitin Gupta said.
  4. Some also believe that one candle gives 2 kcal heat, a mobile flash gives 0.5 kcal heat, one sesame oil lamp gives 3 kcal heat. Suppose 70 crore people out of 130 crores follow this order and 35 crore candles, 20 crores of flash and 15 crores lamps are lit, then 125 crores kcal of heat will be generated. Coronavirus dies in 10 kcal heat only, so on April 5, all the viruses can die if we together make this campaign successful.

PIB debunks the theories

The Press Infomation Bureau, which is the nodal agency of the Government of India, however, has rejected all such theories and urged people not fall for "rumours and unscientific reasonings."

"Don't fall for the rumours/unscientific reasoning on the appeal for lightning Diya/candles/flash/torch on 5th April at 9 pm. This initiative is to show solidarity and confidence in our collective fight against #Covid19. Please maintain social distancing to keep COVID-19 at bay!'' PIB's fact-checking Twitter handle said.