Where shall the poor go?
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Where shall the poor go?

If corona spares them, hunger will kill them

"This small virus has a big ego. It does not come to yourhome unless you go out to invite it," said a doctor on a TV channel. Covid 19is super spreading. So all are directed to draw Lakshman Rekha at their doors.A National Disaster Act has been invoked and thus the corona lockdown for 21days. The contemporary scenario is reflective of some science fiction whichgenerally portrays an advanced stage of human life predicting an unimaginableevolution. But here the disease has turned into a pandemic imposing threat tohuman survival. A small virus has halted the world. The biggest ever lockdownof the world has thrown an unimaginable challenge. Scientists have discreditedthe claims that it is a biologically engineered virus. So it's more challengingto tame it. The decline of the human species is a possibility. Life may again begin from the scratch, we never know.However, the good news is that the disease has an 80% rate of recovery. But inthe third world countries the surveillance system is quiet weak. There will begreat difficulty in detecting the disease, charting the outbreaks and analysingthe effusiveness of interventions. All the TV channels are showing how thevirus has exponentially grown from 100 to 100000 to 200000 to 300000 in a spanof 67, 11 and 4 days respectively. This alarming growth has in fact been thecause of lockdown.

Everyone is supporting the lockdown to break the chain ofinfection. However, the author and social activist Harsh Mander questions thegovernment about the marginalised groups who may not die of Covid 19 but ofhunger. Hunger and starvation deaths are not new to India as they continue toviolate the basic right to live a dignified life. There is a possibility theymay occur rampantly in the light of the present circumstances. and extendsupport to people, Everything seems to be crumbled. Education, economy,aviation, business have come to a standstill. How long will the governmentemployees get the salary depends on the intensity of the crisis. A financialemergency could be declared.

Lest the people die of hunger the government should deductsome amount from the salaries of the government employees as fundraising forthe poor and resourceless people who cannot even afford a square meal as theyare the ones who ate at night what they earned in the day. Every individual hasa strong sense of ego, stronger than Covid 19 but the fact is also that theinstinct to live is the greatest instinct. This instinct does not differentiatebetween pity and compassion as it smashes the egos and dents the dignities. Theimpact of catastrophes gets minimised when people live and work together.Kashmir combated the 2014 floods when people played their bit.  For the past thirty years of conflict, theyhave been ironically finding strength in their collective trauma. But thisdeadly, egoistic, anti-social virus doesn't allow people to come together, to share, to grieve, to chalk out. Thetragedy is that its prevention is enforced isolation . Social distancing canonly combat its ego.

We may die prior to Covid 19, because of depression. Peoplemay suffer anxiety disorders. According to the news published in The Hindu onMarch 25, 2020, scientists have advised all the people to self quarantinethemselves who have lost the sense of smell. Common colds generally have animpact on smell and taste but the scarce is such that it may cause much panic.Death in the times of Covid 19 is a disaster as people cannot even mourncollectively. This is not only scary but intensely traumatising as death knowsno calendar. Luckier were the ones who died before this calamity.

However, it's also time to act optimistically and,therefore, read good books, watch good films apart from updating oneself on theCorona. Eating immunity building foods is important. And it's more important tointrospect and seek God's mercy.

The central government should seriously revist its decisionabout the internet restrictions in J&K and immediately restore 4G.  In a situation like this the government has amajor responsibility as the whole civil society is under quarantine.

The lesson to be learnt from the whole story is that thehealthcare budget of a state should be robust enough to develop strongsurveillance systems and infrastructures that can go a long way in protectingprecious human lives.

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