COVID-19 Amid Misplaced Priorities

Co-Written by Mohd. Asif Shah & Ayaz Nabi Malik

                              coronavirus india lockdown

Ideally human being was created as the crown of creation with dignity, bestowing him with the unique qualities of reason, emotion, sanity, morality and capacity to sift between right and wrong. This superiority was basically meant for the overall benefit of all the species on this planet and not to suppress and hegemonise things as per his whims and vanities. If we look at the overall pattern of the natural world, we will discern an underlying and ubiquitous configuration of discipline and order. Whenever man has tried to attempt to temper with this basic principle of order, the reaction would be chaos, devastation and catastrophe of the whole lot.

The instinct of man’s will to power or his urge to dominate has ended up creating the black and white binaries of strong-weak; rich-poor; developed-underdeveloped which has unfortunately bred forth a crazy and wayward frenzy (at grass root and global level) for attainment of absolute power, wealth, weaponry etc. The dominant sides of these binaries try/tried to hegemonise and suppress the weaker ones in their march forward which result/resulted in unprecedented crises and chaos across the east and west of the globe. The very idea of encroaching and appropriating the land and resources of the weaker nations by the mighty ones has resulted in an unceasing chain of fatal consequences like war, conflict, violence and destruction. It is quite obvious that man has now fallen down from the dignified and graceful pedestal and reduced to a mere animal, bothered about feeding and surviving himself alone at the cost of every other. This downfall of man from the ideal position has resulted in chaos and conflict across the globe as man is now involved in an utterly bizarre power and wealth pursuit.

Some imperial and great powers claimed to have been sent by the Providence to rule and educate the “Others” on account of their being cultured, educated, rich and pure. But with the occurrence of rampant global challenges like pandemic poverty, diseases, conflicts, restoring peace etc., their hollow tom-tom and claptrap has been punctured through and ripped apart. The recent case in point being the emergence of the pandemic Novel CoViD-19, which has literally denuded and exposed the so-called Superpower developed states vis-à-vis their preparedness and anticipation for such diseases, let alone finding antidotes for them. With great power comes great responsibility but sadly speaking, these big powers failed in being responsible in terms of trying to contribute for the solution of the global challenges mentioned just above. These powers still hold the world hostage by keeping nations like Iran (one of the worst hit nations with Covid-19) under the iron-fist of economic sanctions rather than converging on one table to fight out this conundrum unitedly. Even China (the epicentre of this Virus) could not succeed in containing it within its borders and was thoroughly exposed despite its strong economic base. Various doctors and health workers either died or were badly affected due to the deadly Virus while engaging with the Covid-19 patients, thus exposing their healthcare and preparedness for dealing and tackling such novel emergencies.

If we closely analyse the global response to Covid-19 scenario, it was largely hysterical, panicky and desperate as the entire world was caught napping and clueless. The bogus and sham claims at ultra-development and progress in science and technology have been miserably found wanting. The reasons simply being the misplaced and misdirected priorities and targets. We have directed and controlled all our energy and resources (both natural and human) towards manufacturing those things that ultimately are used and meant for destroying man and nature. The irony gets accentuated in today’s largely global and cosmopolitan world as the invention of an atomic bomb or launching of a strong missile by one nation to defend itself against its ‘enemy’ is celebrated and glorified, while as no one is bothered about fighting the common enemies like poverty, diseases and the current pandemic Covid-19 which has literally left the entire world clueless and helpless and at God’s mercy. The powerful nations would pride themselves and their people on the false notion that they are quite strong and invincible just because they have the nukes and strong technology, thus breeding a sense of complacency and self-satisfaction among them. But the reality is far removed from such notions as the nuclear stuff and technology fell flat in front of this novel virus in the mighty nations like China, Italy, America, Spain, Iran etc. You cannot buy antidotes to such diseases by selling or using your nukes. Most of the powerful nations keep fat/ lion’s share for the military or defence sector in the annual budgets at the cost of the most important sectors like Health and Education.

This virus is spreading drastically since its emergence in November, 2019 in Wuhan, China and has engulfed the entire world. Various experts in the field of Virology have hinted that a strong Covid-19 antidote can be developed in around one or one-and-a-half year; thus again exposing the real state of affairs in our healthcare.

We should allocate a strong portion in the annual budgets to enhance and strengthen the Health and Education sectors in terms of the infrastructure and human resource. We should provide adequate protective gears to the doctors and the paramedics who are literally fighting the Covid-19 on the ground zero.

The P-5 and other strong powers must ensure a quick mutual consensus to prepare a decisive roadmap and mechanism to fight this deadly Virus and should also offer unconditional support and help to the vulnerable and weaker nations rather than blaming each other for the origin of the Virus. If at all we can draw any positives from this devastating scenario which developed in wake of the Covid-19 is that it gave us a time to introspect and realise our collective weaknesses and limitations. It also should help us develop a sense of unity as this deadly Virus does not differentiate between a rich and a poor. Therefore, our reaction and response should also be inclusive and empathetic. Solutions can’t be found or imposed by mere clapping and banging utensils or Ostrich-like ignoring behaviour instead of fighting the real causes and their effects.

Is it not a dichotomous reality that there is a bizarre and absurd trend on global level of constructing or erecting pompous and useless white elephants from the public exchequer while ignoring or side-lining the millions living below poverty line in slums and without shelter? We must remember it is these people who are most vulnerable to any contagious or communicable disease like Covid-19. So, instead of squandering billions of dollars on false shows, we should take the cue from Covid-19 and devise proper and targeted welfare mechanism with utmost thrust on health and hygiene of the marginalised sections.

Since a proper antidote to Covid-19 is still a far cry and it needs no formal attestation from the White House, so we should focus on the preventive dos and don’ts. We should push our egos to the back seat for a while and behave responsibly by contributing for the safety of humanity. Since the Virus is declared as pandemic and world-wide phenomenon, we should respond in the same language by uniting together against it, cutting across the physical and mental barriers of nationalism, regionalism, ethnicity, racism etc. to be one world fighting and defeating the common enemy.

Authors are teachers of English from Pulwama and can be reached at:

  [email protected] and [email protected]



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