For Urgent Attention Honorable Chief Minister, Punjab, Secretariate Chandigarh

covid vaccine 1

         At the age of nearly 74 years, I need to get vaccinated for Covid19 as it is medically advisable, however I have certain concerns-personal and social, which as a citizen of Punjab (India) and as a world citizen, because of which I have not yet taken jab and I am still reluctant, the reasons of which I wish to express here. I hope these will be paid attention to save thousands of lives, which are endangered by not only Corona, but also by the criminal negligence of Covid19 situation, as earlier anti people policies of last seven years by Central Govt rulers led by Prime Minister/Home Minister and their patron body RSS!

 

  1. My first and foremost reason for not getting vaccination is the certificate issued of vaccination, which forcibly and compulsorily carries the photograph of Prime Minister Narender Modi! In no other country of the world the vaccination certificate if any, carries the photograph of any political leader, even in power, at best the certificate might be carrying the signature and stamp of health or medical officer of the area concerned anywhere. In India, we the hapless citizens are unwittingly and unwillingly condemned to get the photograph of a leader though in power, whose policies and criminal negligence is the cause of the worst explosion of Corona deaths especially in second wave of the Covid19. Here the man in power is not interested in mitigating the sufferings of the people, but is indulging in his self-glorification, which was not seen even in British colonialists in power!
  2. Frankly speaking getting the photograph of such leader on Corona vaccination certificate, is comparable to 1919 Jallianwalla Bagh massacre victims, who while getting the paltry few hundred rupees in compensation for losing lives of hundreds of their beloved ones at the hands of The Butcher of Amritsar General Dyer, with few hundred rupees certificate with the photograph of then Lieutenant Governor of Punjab Michael O’Dwyer!(Though even O’Dwyer did not use his photograph for self-glorification like PM Modi!) This is like salt on the wounds of those lakhs of lives lost in Covid19, due to criminal negligence of the man holding absolute power!
  3. There is nothing surprising in the self-glorification of this Prime Minister, as for the last seven years since 2014, he has come to power, he has been doing it with impunity, when people of this country have been continuously going through sufferings. In 2015, many rationalist writers/intellectuals lost their lives, shot dead by Hindutva fundamentalist terrorists, patronized by the present rulers. These writers/intellectuals had been raising their voice against lynching of minorities in the country. In protest, more than a hundred writers/artists, including myself returned their national literary awards. Rather than appreciating their concerns, they were trolled and threatened, including myself.
  4. In year 2016, the best University of not only India, but among the world’s best-Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), from where I proudly retired as Professor and had also remained student earlier, was attacked by instituting false cases, oppressing students and faculty. Then by appointing a person as Vice Chancellor, not true to his academics, but for just being a follower of RSS, further damaged its academic excellence and democratic culture. I returned another national literary award in protest against attack on my alma mater and one of best world Universities-JNU!

 I can appreciate Punjab Government here on the appointment of a well-known scientist as Vice Chancellor of Punjabi University Patiala to revive its past glory.

  1. Then in year 2017, the present Prime Minister in his typical Tughlaki style demonetized the currency at four-hour notice, causing deaths of more than 150 persons in their efforts to save their lifelong savings by standing in inhuman queues at the banks for days together. Many bank officials too died in performing duties.
  2. And who can forget that how just a year ago, the Prime Minister knowing well about spread of Covid19 pandemic in world from January end 2020, held Namaste Trump event in Ahmedabad with lakhs of People on 23rd Yet in another Tughlaki farmaan the Prime Minister locked down the whole country on 25th March 2020, at four-hour notice causing hundreds of deaths, not due to Covid19, but due to migrant workers walking hundreds of miles, which included toddlers, 90 plus year-old, men and women. The whole world saw these tragic scenes on Television screens. Covid19 was a pandemic affecting the whole world, but none of the country in the world saw such tragic scenes, as of Indian people walking on roads, railway lines, getting crushed under trains, dyeing on roads.
  3. Further knowing very well that second, even third wave of Covid19 is sure to come, as were Influenza waves during 1918-20 pandemic, the present Prime Minister was more concerned about buying two aero planes for his journeys abroad in hundreds of crores rupees and building 20 thousand crore rupees Central vista, including residence for himself-Prime Minister residence! All opposition and society cried to spend this money on health services, building hospitals, infra structure, but of no avail. Prime Minister was concerned more about building comforts and facilities for himself at the cost of people’s lives.
  4. The funds for Covid19 were again collected in personal name and glory of Prime Minister-Prime Minister Cares Fund, which no Prime Minister ever did during national disasters. Further no one knows how much funds have been collected and how these are being spent in a totally secretive and opaque manner, as if public money is the personal and private money of the Prime Minister!
  5. With the onset of second wave of Covid19 in March end 2021, the same tragic 2020 scenes got repeated, this time not on roads and trains, but in hospitals, where Oxygen supplies were not ensured and the people started dyeing like flies in course of minutes. People were doomed to see their near and dear ones dyeing before their eyes gasping for breath, as the Oxygen was not provided to hospitals to help patients High Courts of the country had to comment that there is no govt in the country and only ‘God’ is ruling, to underline the utter insensitivity, irresponsibility and callousness of present Prime Minister led RSS govt.
  6. When the vaccination was brought to the level of 18 years and above, Central Govt chose to price it at three-dimensional level. 150/ rupees for Central Govt, 400/ rupees for state Governments and 600/ for private players. On what grounds a citizen may ask? Where is Prime Minister Cares Fund? For what purpose it is being used or misused? Why the whole country is not given free vaccination, which present Government promises in elections in Bihar and Bengal, but betrays its promises after winning Bihar elections and even prior to Bengal polling. These days if one goes to social media like Facebook or twitter, on 90% posts, there is sad news of some death and helplessness. And also, the inhuman and unbearable costs of treatment of Covid patients. It costs anything from five to ten lakh rupees for patients or their relations to bear, from where even the middle-class people, leaving aside poor workers and farmers, can get this money?
  7. Under such circumstances, getting vaccinated with certificate on which the photograph of the Prime Minister is pasted, who is responsible for criminal negligence, can only sprinkle salt on raw wounds. I appeal to you as Chief Minister to order the removal of Prime Minister photograph from vaccination certificates being issued in Punjab. People want to be vaccinated and they don’t even know that they will be issued such certificate with such photograph, which in a way is upholding the policies of Prime Minister, which no right-thinking Indian can ever do, at least in matters of handling Covid19 crisis of enormous proportions. Many people have felt bad at getting such certificates and have publicly protested too on social media like twitter. Sh. Pawan Kumar Bansal, former Central Minister, is one among such protestors. It is the issue of state autonomy also. States are being treated as principalities by present Central Govt defying all tenants of federal polity.
  8. Lakhs of Punjab farmers are protesting against Central Government three agricultural laws for six months and sitting on Dharna on Delhi borders for five months. Punjab Govt is supporting Punjab farmers demands. Central Govt is trying to conduct Operation Clean to remove the farmers forcibly from Delhi borders under the pretext of Covid19 crisis. While Farmer organizations are united and determined to continue their protest till the three laws are repealed. Punjab Govt under this protest also, should remove Prime Minister photograph from the vaccination certificates, in fact all opposition ruled states should remove Prime Minister photograph from certificate, as Central Govt in this manner indirectly tries to get approval for its anti-people inhuman policies and why should opposition ruled Govts should approve such anti people policies?
  9. Punjab Government should hold camps for covid19 vaccination for Punjab farmers at Delhi borders in coordination with medical organizations supporting farmers movement, like Khalsa Aid and others and provide free vaccination for farmers in protest. Farmers in protest will never accept vaccination and related certificate with Prime Minister photograph, as they consider Prime Minister to be anti-farmer, which in practice he is, as he had made farmers suffer so much in last six months, when more than 350m farmers have lost their lives during the ongoing struggle against anti farmer and pro corporate central laws. Punjab Govt. should also uphold the right of farmers to protest peacefully as they are doing and oppose any effort or plan to remove them forcibly under the pretext of Covid19. When Prime Minister and Home Minister are holding election rallies of lakhs of people without wearing masks themselves, with what face they can ask farmers to disperse. And if this Govt. is so concerned about covid19 and people’s lives, why does not it repeal or sends back the laws for reconsideration to Parliament and accept the demand for MSP?

I shall be happy to be vaccinated as and when Prime Minister’s photograph is removed from the vaccination certificate and motivate others also for vaccination, but till its removal, I shall refuse vaccination in protest. Or I have to wait till the Punjab elections of 2022 around November 2021, to be announced and consequently Prime Minister photograph will be removed as per Election commission regulations, as has been done during Bengal, Kerala etc elections held in these days. This is my Gandhian protest like fast, it is vaccination fast, till removal of photograph of the man who is responsible for the untold sufferings of Indian people during Covid19 period and before that as well.

 

With Best regards

Chaman Lal, Ex Dean, Faculty of Languages, Panjab University Chandigarh


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One Comment

  1. While I have all sympathy and admiration on the meaninglessness of image projection of a PM’s picture on a vaccine certificate, pl. think that he exists on a 2-dimensional paper only. But dear friend, viruses will not wait for you. So take the vaccine, and afterwards throw that paper away. Important point is that you take the vaccine to protect your very body.
    Modi & Co may not last long, but viruses will. So take care of yourself, independent of what others think and believe.
    Best greetings
    george chakko, former U.N. correspondent, now retiree in Vienna, Austria.
    Vienna, 29/04/ 2021 21:00 hrs CET