M K Tayal
The world has been hit by ferocity and speed of the attack of a COVID 19 (corona virus). With over a million cases worldwide, around 200 countries are struggling to deal with the lurking dangers.
A pandemic that started a couple of weeks ago in a relatively obscure mainland China, literally got regimes locking people. But almost all countries had mindful responses. But are we in the mindful response category or struggling to meet the challenge sort?
Acting ‘promptly’ to counter the corona virus menace, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a lockdown. And as a result, 130 million people in India have been witnessing world’s biggest and strictest lockdown. The only thing that we have got right so far is that God has been with us right from the start.
Modi acted promptly earlier also and got back hundreds of Indians from virus hit nations. Ironically, back home, thousands and thousands of workers and labours in cities were left at the mercy of God. With jobs gone, for the daily wage earners, it was a matter of life and survival. They had to return to their roots and the journey to the villages had to be covered by foot with trains and buses off in the ‘lockdown’.
In the theatrical announcement of ‘janta’ curfew that translated into a 21 day lockdown, the economic aspects of the lockdown had been completely overlooked. Frankly, Modi has had a track record of implementing bold decisions but with little mindlessness. Demonization, good, bad or horrible apart, resulted in deaths of many citizens. Who was to blame? GST implementation is yet another example. The government had to even form an authority to deal with the problems it raised. Even today, businessmen have to deal with the mess it has created.
The Lockdown is no better. In fact, it is worse as the bread and lives of the people are based on the erroneous decisions of a ‘great’ leader. Where and when the government could have handled the situation better, it passed the baton to the common man. The government couldn’t check the virus affecting the foreign-travelling rich at the airports. As the situation kept slipping from its control, Modi did the best possible action. The poor, hoi polloi, are bearing the brunt of it and will do so in the future too.
Modi announced the lockdown, we don’t know who he consulted. Frankly, it is too late for that now. But to lift the lockdown, Modi is looking at the state chief ministers for suggestions. Where is the strategy to deal with situation, dude!
And laudably, even the sportspersons were held in dialogue. Not to question the abilities of those distinguished personalities but should we not have public administrators, doctors, policy experts doing the needful. What would the disaster management mitigation committee experts have to say about their space being taken by photo ops of 7 Race Course Road aka Lok Kalyan Marg?
Forget any strategy, but we have a lot of sound and light to the story. We are beating the virus with clapping of hands and thalis and lighting diyas. And the people are taking to the next level, beating the virus with Diwali-left over bombs. The diya festivities had the Power Grid in the country worried with possible excess supply and less demand. Thankfully, 27 percent dip in consumption left the grid intact.
Where is the update on the hospitals, or increasing the number of testing facilities, or enhancing medical capacities? This is for the scribes to cook up from the comforts of their homes. What is the need to go out? The virus is lurking just outside the bloody door.
And with no money to make, the police had a field day beating the citizenry into solitude. And they can come up with the most absurd of things. No two people could travel together to buy groceries. Even husbands and wives travelling together in cars have been told to sit away from each other. Welcome to the law enforcements in the country. Though masks are not compulsory, the cops are questioning people who are not wearing one.
And on that note, couldn’t the governments have at least got the roads cleaned, cities and towns sanitized. The cleaning departments are also strictly observing the lockdown, sporadically moving their vehicles for media attention.
The situation requires a well-thought response. But how serious is the threat of the virus? The Government of India has perhaps placed its eggs in the basket of God. And God has blessed Modi abundantly. So as a nation, we are in safe hands.
And we are at it. India Whats app groups have founds ayurvedic solutions to the virus even as scientists across the world are trying to crack the virus.
Questioning the economic fallout of the lockdown is sure to be vehemently countered by the bhakt variety, but Mr Prime Minister, we need governance. We need to go out and work. People need to earn and feed families. You have turned hundreds and thousands of people into beggars who are out of their homes looking for food. A few good NGOs, gurudwaras and concerned citizens have thankfully stepped in.
Let us educate the people on how to stand in queues and how to buy and sell vegetables. Let manufacturing commence. Monitor those affected and have controlled isolation wherever required. Do not let the country suffer your ineptitude supremacy.
Time to really move from darkness to light -Support our PM, please do light a diya!