The outbreak of Corona Virus has surely affected every nation and India is under huge threat with the rising trends every day. It is true that mostly those countries having highest level of liberalization, privatization and globalization had the speedy spread of corona virus infection than the third world countries. The outbreak of the Covid-19 brought complex questions and challenges to the world society and inherent threat did not differentiate between developed, under developed and developing economies or nations. Serious questions needs to be raised and they need self introspections by each country and more specific India in reference to this paper.

Quickly examine the historical background how increasing public health system was an important priority to the independent India that adopted the report of the health survey committee in 1952. However Health Survey Committee was formed in 1943 to examine the health conditions of India under the In 1946 Sir Justice Bhore that suggested strong referral health system in India to cope with the increased health challenges in the new India that was burdened and left with extreme poverty  (70 percent living with poverty), malnutrition, farmers distress etc.

When the government of India went ahead to accept the health survey report, the excitement to win over the degraded health care system and to establish public health care system that could be seen as best measure to contain major epidemics, minimize Infant mortality Rate (IMR), Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and overall reduce general mortality due to various infectious diseases in India. Apart from building a nation by improving the socio-economic status, improving the nutritional level from the misery and those millions malnourished Indians were the major challenges. Famines like Bengal famine had already killed more than the people died in Second World War. The haunt of malnutrition never allowed hundreds of thousands of people to relish and enjoy the fruit of independence but India could overcome steadily all the odds confronted in food crisis, starvation, epidemics etc.  India emerged as better nation containing the food crisis amongst poor with mid day meal, ICDS, NREGA and the Food Security legislation etc. By 1990s towards 2000AD, the efforts to strengthened public infrastructure began reducing especially health and education at large.

Over the years public heath infrastructure has deteriorated with minimal expenditure unlike the core ethos of Bhore Committee report, “if it was possible to the evaluate the loss, which this country annually suffers through the avoidable waste of valuable human material and the lowering of human efficiency through malnutrition and preventable morbidity, we feel that the result would be so startling that the whole country would be aroused and would not rest until a radical change had been brought about” (Kaul, 2014). The increased population burden demanded higher allocation

Who is worried for malnutrition of children, when Covid-19 has pushed the millions of migrant workers, homeless people, and transgender at the door of hunger deaths? There is absolutely no doubt India is a growing economy, but the country still finds millions dying each year due to malnutrition in addition to the current food crisis that has just begun in the severely failed planning process. The fatalities due to corona infection initially emerged highest among the upper income groups of people and kept this trend even in India among the people having foreign travel history. The union of India failed to realize corona virus threat perhaps its lack of strong scientific envisioning, mismatched priority in the month of February, 2020. The health has merely been a priority to us primarily due to faulty economic policies, strong belief in changing the names but not to focus on work. It is the Planning Commission in India that has always acted as think tank since it’s’ establishment in March, 1950 whereas NITI Ayog remained a brand became face value only. Therefore questions pertaining to masses of India remains at the margin and the people marginalized. So true when nationwide lock-down is implemented, excluded, disables, migrant/informal worker etc. altogether remained as the last concern to the ruling dispensation and so true in investing on public health measures.

The great saviour is always religion to any south Asian population and it works as magic to the present ruling class to escape out of failure in governance and accountability. This global pandemic also brought a politico-created scapegoat in the name of Talighi Jamaat, however quite late but it worked like magic to rid away from all the questions civil society were asking from their elected government. A Jamaat historically existed in India for the last hundred years never found such significance, even among the Muslim world the way Covid-19 gave charismatic opportunity. The social stigma created by any socio-political groups remains for years and in the memory of the people.

In the name of Corona, the holy game of hate politics brought laurel to the present government that will be best utilized in the pending state elections of Bihar and West Bengal. Tablighi Jamaat would have lost how they benefited greatly to both a political party and brought millions of TRP a few media channels. The damage done to the centuries old social fabric of the country would not be easily bridged in everyday life of the Indians. No country in the globe provided statistics on the basis of their religion, race and ethnicity except India that is big blow to the pluralism of the Indian society and it is also against the constitutional ethos and values. The death due to Covid-19 will always depend upon the strong public health systems that value preventive measures followed by curative mechanism as initially thought by the visionary builders of India just after independence. It is time to learn the basic and re-think, re-visit and re-work on the principles of Bhore Committee’s health survey but at least not misleading in the name of Tabligh.

Lastly, let the government accept its complete failure in allowing the congregation to be held when WHO had already announced the severity of Corona Virus globally. Why not the policy makers take responsibility for the utter failure of unplanned lockdown and now succumbing themselves due to the high stake of their party leaders’ among the vote base comprises largely poor and migrant workers in small town and rural countryside.

The home return of the stranded thousands and thousands of labourers and workers will bring rejoice in their family life but the poorer states that supplies such a huge labour force to other industrialized states must be ready to contain the spread of virus in the community when they come back home. The Dalits, Adivasis and rural poor families will be at the higher risk in case of any outbreak and spread in the areas that has seen no cases or a few cases only. The respective governments of the eastern states must be ready to handle any further health crisis in next one month’s time.

Dr. Khwaja Mohd. Ziyauddin teaches sociology at Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. His areas of research includes exclusion, minority studies and Dalit-traditional occupation and gender politics. He has studied his Masters in Sociology from Jamia Millia Islamia and research degrees from JNU and DSE-University of Delhi in Sociology.

Email: ziyakmjamia@gmail.com


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One Comment

  1. Excellent write-up