The country is in a lock down now. The fact is it should have happened earlier but better late than never. The prime minister’s call for the Janata Curfew was nothing but a preparation for the full lock down. It is good that people responded to it. Actually, this is a good way to impose things in the name of people’s will but yes, it was needed and whatever way is done, has to be welcomed. The Prime Minister spoke for about half an hour and his address was uninspiring to say the least. It did not have anything except his own ‘anecdotes’ and then the ‘novel’ ‘idea’ of ‘thali peeto’ & ‘ghanti bajao’. Many of the bhakts came on their balcony and did it so diligently that they were unable to stop it. I thought Modi ji might have given a time period for how long was it supposed to be done. Now, we are getting videos that people came out in the streets at many places with their thalis and Ghantas and banged them. All the ‘social distancing’ was wiped off with in five minutes of what we witnessed in Ahmedabad and Jaipur where the crowds throng the street with tricolor in their hands.
Why is this country and its leadership not serious about the issue confronting. Why you want to convert everything into an event and spectacle. Definitely, the PM was sounding worried as he saw the situation in the west is turning nightmarish but unlike the Western leaders who showed great sense of urgency to protect their nation and their economy, we did find nothing. French President Emmanuel Macron locked down the entire country and promised that the government will look after the poor as well as the Industries. Look at the inspiring speeches from German leader Angela Merkel to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who assured their nation that the government will take care of everything. The Dutch health minister collapsed due to Corona Virus and the prime minister appointed, a former minister who belong to the opposition party as Health Minister. A country like Great Britain which was initially not keen and waiting for things to happen as they were, finally listened to the scientists and pumped huge amount of money to not merely protect the Industries but also to the citizens particularly the vulnerable. All governments and companies allowed their employees to work from home. Italy has been hit hard due to this calamity and yet is coping with it with great courage and confidence. The government is working day in and out despite the enormity of the situation. The situation in the United States is alarming and a big failure of the government which waited for so long and allowed the situation to go worst.
The world’s most powerful government is looking helpless as the number of cases growing alarmingly.
China, who were the first to face the tyranny of Corona Virus in Wuhan today are actually providing hope to the world. That they could do so with great discipline is an example. Ofcourse, countries like South Korea and Singapore too inspires hope. A tiny country, victim of Western economic sanctions, has been sending his team of doctors and nurses on foreign mission to help other. This time, a 58 members contingent is in Lombardy, Italy, a city hit hard from the Corona Virus.
And look inward, we have a Parliament in session but it did not have time for serious discussion. Even if the speaker had allowed a discussion, the leaders would have made it an address to their bhakts. What we are witnessing today is the numbing of brains by idiotic ‘prescriptions’ and deliberate distortions. Now TV channels are inviting fraudster Babas to give more ‘knowledge’ to people. Why are we doing so ? The reason is clear that when we fail as a nation to respond to the crisis. I personally feel that India will succeed in holding on as we have enormous food diversity. The food culture of this country will survive it from the onslaught of these diseases, ofcourse, we need to maintain physical distancing. Socially, India has always practised ‘distancing’ because of the ‘caste system’ and many of the ‘ideologues’ will now justify this as a ‘boon’ amidst the current crisis. Whether people survive or not, our economy will be in a deeper crisis and poor and marginalised will face more trouble.
The quality of Narendra Modi and his team is that they do not give people a chance to think for themselves. They are deciding and thinking for every one and producing all these ‘event’ which the bhakts are more than happy to respond as all of us are waiting for a miracle and people feel Modi can get them that ‘miracle’. In India, Kerala government has done extremely well and announced a big package for people. Even Arvind Kejriwal’s offer on food subsidy was good. Many state governments have been far active in dealing with it. The prime minister’s address lacked that seriousness which it needed.
The Central government has allowed private labs to conduct the Corona testing and a fee is capped around Rs 4,500 for that. This is so cruel. Rather than this, the government could have pitched in the private sector and ensure that all those who needed it, would have got the consultancy and treatment. No patient should be barred or untreated. Any kind of discrimination based on assumption or findings should be strongly condemned and government must make it clear that such part of behavior by people or doctors or any one else is criminal and will be dealt with seriously. Isnt it tragic that a doctor who was suffering from Corona Virus was not admitted by nursing homes in Maharashtra. The Ghanta Bajao brigade might act as a vigilante to see who did not bajao the Ghanta and then isolate them.
In December when the Corona Virus was first detected in Wuhan city of China, a big numbers of Indians students particularly engineering and medical were stranded there. When no one was going there, the brave crew of Air India rescued all these students and Indian citizens. We all accuse this airlines of ours but the fact is that in the time of crisis, it is this airlines, which has come to the rescue of the nation. And what happens now is more shameful and ungrateful. I place Air India’s press release here :
“It is alarming to note that in many localities, vigilante Resident Welfare Associations and neighbors have started ostracizing the crew, obstructing them from performing their duty or even calling in the police, simply because the crew traveled abroad in the course of their duty,” Air India said in a statement.
“These vigilantes have conveniently forgotten that many a spouse, parent, sibling, child and near and dear one have been brought home safe and secure from affected countries, thanks to the heroic efforts of these Air India crew,” the airline said.
“We would like to appeal to all concerned, particularly the law enforcement agencies, to ensure that our crew are treated with the courtesy, respect and freedom that every citizen of this country deserves especially in light of the fact of their having undertaken flight duties to affected countries to bring back Indian citizens,” Air India said as reported by NDTV.
Can there be more shame and inhuman than this that the Resident Welfare Associations are targeting in such a stupid way to the people who have served the nation and were the first on the line of duty. It is time to name and shame them. You could have watched this RWA and many like them in the forefront of Ghanta Bajao and thali peeto event. Most of these RWA have turned into Right Wing Associations and sadly have become blind to prejudices. We do understand that all of us need protection and distancing but that should not kill our humanity. Corona will never succeed as long as there is humanity but if it will succeed if the human inside us die and societies turned into prejudiced vigilante groups. Let us unite amidst this distancing. Let us learn to care. Let us not suffer in hatred. This is a big challenge to humanity and we hope humanity will ultimately win.
Wish you all protection and good health.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social activist