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Patna: A shopkeeper waits for customers during the extended nationwide lockdown imposed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, in Patna on Apr 15, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

Putting India’s common citizens – tailors, Kirana shop owners, auto-rickshaw drivers, teachers and more – at its centre, a new inspirational anthem titled ‘Himmat Hai Toh Jeet Hai’ launched on Monday, kick-starting with it a two-month-long campaign to celebrate ‘himmat’ or fortitude Indians are displaying in their fight against Covid-19.

This celebration of stories of courage and hope amid Covid-19 has been launched by the Population Foundation of India (PFI). As the country tries to slowly recover some semblance of normalcy even in the face of rising Covid-19 cases and an economic downturn, the campaign and anthem spotlight stories of everyday courage and hope displayed by ordinary people who rose to the occasion.

With powerful lyrics that speak of jeet (victory) over challenges faced due to the pandemic, the newly-launched anthem features a cross-section of society impacted. It reinforces the need for India to stay strong: To Win. The campaign is guided by renowned film and theatre director Feroz Abbas Khan, who is PFI’s Creative Advisor.

According to Feroz Abbas Khan, in the worst of times, the best in us must shine. “Covid is the biggest challenge humanity has faced in almost 100 years and we are still grappling with it. We can either let the enormity overwhelm us or we decide to counter it with determination and use hope as a powerful weapon,” he told.

New campaign on stories of India’s courage amid Covid-19.

“Being a public health organisation that specialises in social and behaviour change communication, PFI has been working with the government in its emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic since the national lockdown began. PFI supported MyGov India, a citizen engagement platform of the Government of India and multiple state governments towards carrying out emergency risk prevention communication. PFI produced, created and curated educational material on masks, steps to stay safe, myth-busters on Covid-19 and physical distancing under #TogetherAgainstCOVID. As the country is reopening, we believe it is important to reinforce people’s sense of unity and solidarity to emerge stronger together out of this pandemic. Hence the Himmat Hai Toh Jeet Hai campaign will be highlighting stories of extraordinary courage and hope in the face of challenges,” Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director of Population Foundation of India told.

She adds the campaign has been envisaged to encourage everyone to look ahead with hope and fortitude as life resumes within the context of the pandemic and people have to embrace the ‘new normal’. This campaign will feature true stories of everyday Indians who have overcome challenges caused by the pandemic with resilience. We will also release an anthem, with empowering lyrics and music that can become the mantra of victory – as India slowly but steadily emerges out of the pandemic.

Coronavirus, India, Chennai. (Photo: IANS/Xinhua)

Many of the stories featured in the campaign are from PFI’s own work, and also come out from their collaborative work with People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI), civil society organisations and development partners.

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