The corona pandemic is certainly giving tremors; hope is definitely not in the air but despair, gloom and melancholy are! Chaos and confusion engulf us all. Taking a deep dip into this sea of chaos I got some pearls: of shame, of pride, of stupidity and of hope, I would like to share all. This virus is mercilessly taking a toll on humankind and has created a mayhem all over the globe, with the exception of some countries whole world is hit by the pandemic. Now rate of spread of the virus has gone up and the situation has enforced every country to fall linearly, the mighty are helpless, developed, developing and under-developed have turned out to be defenceless.
India has been able to contain the spread (at least the rate of spread) by executing a nation wide lockdown which proved quite helpful in tackling the pandemic, in the begening. The management and the policy making during an epidemic should not be based on prejudices but facts and rationality. We need to be responsible as individuals, as an organisation or as government. We have to be careful not just complacent which of course can prove to be counter-productive and might lead to harm. In such a situation what we need is the clarity of thought, rationality in decision making, gravity in behaviour and optimality in execution. We should not get ruffled by very small incidents, and take decisions in haste. Undeniably the responsibility of individual is required but we certainly have to demonstrate a greater degree of responsibility as an organisation. Unprecedented lockdowns though seem to be a viable option but has resulted in burning the candle at both ends. The miseries of the poor in general and the migrant workers in particular are escalating exponentially.
Now coming to our valley, I recall a famous dialogue of Paresh Rawal from the blockbuster movie Malamal Weekly, “munh mein tambakoo ki goli jaisa hai yeh apna gaon sab eak doosre ko jante hain”. Yes that’s what our valley is like, the incoming of the virus to our valley has certainly given me a shocker. I would have never contemplated it even in my wildest fantasies. We had many strengths which would have proved instrumental in putting up an obstruction for the virus to invade the valley. Ours is a tail state with only two entry/exit points and the season was also benevolent in the sense that the inflow of the outsiders was at its lowest. And! the biggest of our strengths is that we are habitual of lockdowns that’s what we have been going through over the times. But! Unfortunately we couldn’t capitalize on our strengths. I think we have not been responsible enough individually, religiously or organisationally in our approach to knob the situation towards the right direction.
The most astringent known fact about the virus is the incubation period of fourteen days and some say twenty eight. The ordeal of the people who had to go through this fourteen days of banbas is no less lamentable than the pitiful tales of Manto.
The point I want to make here is that when R. Guleria the director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences was asked about his biggest worry by Vishnu Som on NDTV. He said the urban slums is my biggest worry because a full family is living in a single or a two room set and if the virus outbreaks there it would be catastrophic and we may have a bigger challenge to face! When asked about the solution of such a problem he proposed the only solution is to quarantine the people in places like exhibition halls, stadiums etc. This is the purpose of quarantine but in contrast what we have been doing here is just the opposite. We are getting people from their big houses and putting them in a single room and make them to use a single bath room. In such a situation if some person tests positive every fellow of his/her will test on the same side of the real line. The things could have been managed in a more efficient way without pushing the people into hardships and without putting a burden on the government.
To conclude I would like to quote a famous tale. A person while climbing a walnut tree got stuck on top of the tree, and the people who had gathered there were planning to get him safely down. A village head of the neighbouring village passing by was asked to give some remedy to which he told the person to tie a rope through his body and then told the people to pull the rope, the man came down like a walnut and died on the spot. Every body was shocked, turning to the village head who replied, “the poor guy had a hard luck otherwise I have saved many by pulling them out of a well by the same technique”. – every problem doesn’t have the same solution. One size doesn’t fit all.