This world is a laboratory. The omnipotent tests sapiens toomit impurities from earth. Our actions determine our future. A microbe haschanged the daily routine of the globe. The world looks deserted. This shutdown is shaking the nuclear nations. Minutest microbe is mercilessly sendingbody-bags down the soil. Countries are crumbling and economies crashing. Sensexplummets. The charging Bull of Wall Street, the symbol of aggressive capitalismis ridiculously lonesome and paralyzed. The dramatic turn of events isfrightening. The cities that never sleep have come to a pause. Even the holiestgatherings have been switched off. Fear and anxiety has gripped the globe.Otherwise unstoppable, nations have come to a grinding halt. The world iscollapsing.
Everyone seems clueless asking what frenzy is this? Theevaluator is scrutinizing us. We ought to behave lest we are in risk of loss.Kashmiris don't pay any heed. Stay home and don't harmothers. God wants us to use logic in this looming crises. With weakesthealthcare system available to us, we can't afford catastrophe. Hoarding aroundis suicidal. We are not equipped enough. So, why are we trying to beover-smart? Don't take life for-granted. Greeting is Sunnah but handshake isnot obligatory. It is Mustahab, it means not necessary. There is no rigidity inIslam. But our fatwa factory creates mountain out of a molehill since we have abad habit of fighting over non-issues. Faithful always stay free from pride andprejudice. Where do we stand? Let's assume, if God announces that the Day ofJudgment is due next week, prayer-mats, rosaries, skull-caps and Kameez-Shilwarswill become costly in Kashmir. Prices will be skyrocketed since we areopportunists. Why is our own brethren selling Rs 5 mask at Rs 200.We buildsectarian mosques and declare each other infidels. This is how low we havestooped in Kashmir. Our young boys and girls are addicted to porn. We prefernot to talk about these 'taboos'. We proudly do the vilest activities.
COVID proved that everything around us is temporary.Body-conscious youth stopped going to gyms. Even Malls and Movie theaters havebeen closed. Elites shopping in metropolitan cities have stopped to get thebranded outfits. Poor haggling at flea markets have also paused. Corona taughtus we all are equal. No matter what, home/family is the safest den. Manyclerics are shouting from the pulpits that it is a collective punishment fromGod. I don't disagree. But if Corona helps us to get closer to the creator,take it as a mercy. Because God loves His creation. Corona must be smiling oversuperpowers with inflated ego, armed with fighter jets and rockets? Everyonekneeled down in helplessness. Italian PM Giuseppe Conte broke down in apresser, "all earthly solutions have exhausted, and sky is the only solution."He surrendered. We take it as a joke. We are making memes of Corona. This iswhat Bani Israel did. They disobeyed Moosa (a.s) on numerous occasions, laughedit off, incurring divine wrath.
Using costly sanitizers may clean the physiology. What aboutthe immaterial anatomy which is full of dirt. We may fumigate our homes, butwill the ills ward off? We have beeninvolved in all the corrupt practices. Our hearts are full of hatred and envy.We become jealous when we see someone progressing. We judge the way peopleconnect to God. We are half-baked and pretend to be pious. The injustice doneto Mother Nature is thrown at our faces. Natural calamities like flash-floods,jarring jolts, famines is part of the perfect master-plan. It reminds us to dogood, have good and vice-versa. We need to sanitize our heart. Disinfect it.Undoubtedly God is not happy with Ummah. Muslims have been robbed off Tawaaf.Let's trace, test and treat our soul. Al-Quran clearly mentions that punishmentis due. "And most certainly we will make them taste of the nearer tormentbefore the greater torment that perhaps they will repent." [Sajda: 21] Thegreatest Jihad is to battle the evil within yourself.
I don't think, as Hamid Dabashi puts it, "we have the moralcapacity, the courage and the imagination to comprehend the enormity of what ishappening to our world." We were supposed to spread fragrance of love. We didthe complete paradox. Poetry has to be philosophical in nature. While leafingthrough the pages, it feels these couplets were written for COVID times.
Suna Hai Koi Kissa Ka Nahi Hoga Roze-e-Mehsher Mein
Magar Yeh Silsila abhi say Urooj pay Kyun Hai
People don't want to meet and see each other. This is thebitter reality of this world. Nobody is yours. Allopathic friends quickly showtheir side-effects. Take care of yourself. COVID-19 has proved it. We come and go alone, we just play our partin this theatre of absurd.
Ajeeb Marz Hai Jiski Dawa Hai Tanhayi
Baqai Sheher Hai ab Sheher K Ujadnein Mein
This is really bizarre. This was unthinkable that one day,we will come a passé when only solitude will cure the disease? This deafening silence and shutdown feelsghostly and we are completely fine with it. These are abnormal times.
Koi Haath b Na Milayega Jo galey Milogey Tapaak say
Yeh Naye Mizaaj Ka Sheher Hai Yahan Faasle say Mila Karo
When we see and meet our loved ones after a long lull, wecan't resist but embrace. Even over video chats, we send aerial kissesbypassing networks. Both hug and handshake is prohibited for a time-being.
Mout ka Zehr hai Fizawo'n mein
Ab Kahan Ja ka Saans li Jaaye
There are hundreds among us who feel uncomfortable inwearing masks. Most of them don't wear faces. Many are known for unmaskingothers. But none can escape now, feels we have been trapped. All demigods arerendered suffocated and startled. There is nowhere to go.
Ab Nahi Koi Baat Khatre Ki
Ab Sabhi Ko Sabhi Say Khatra hai.
The above mentioned couplet from Jaun Elia is very muchpowerful. It encompasses all thedetails.
Qurbatein Lakh Khoobsurat Ho'n
Dooriyo'n mein b Dilkashi Hai Abhi
This Ahmed Faraz couplet tells us that familiarity breedscontempt. We must not intrude in someone's privacy. These days, we are livinglonely lives with complete secrecy.
Nature is correcting course. We need physical distancing butsocial unity. It is an occasion for a moral retrieve-what the mystics used tocall Khalvat- a solitary confinement within our own souls. The air around theworld is cleaner, less pollutants are entering the sea, and luxury cruise shipsare not dirtying it up, streets are less noisy, and families are spending timetogether. The hectic pace of the world has slowed. We are breathingconsciously. Certain events are beyond our control. They teach us to beresolute, to be strong, to be determined, and not to lose hope. In 2015, BillGates predicted COVID-19 arrival. "Thedisaster we are worried more is nuclear war but greatest risk of globalcatastrophe is a highly infectious virus. It may kill over 10 million people onthe surface of earth. Not missiles but microbe." We should have invested on healthcare, builthospitals with high-tech infrastructure but we are busy clapping and clanging.It is shame to say the least. Whistleblower with his far-sighted vision did hisjob well. We miserably failed.
Restless mankind felt the power of nature once again when amicrobe caged all those who were always in rush. From Great plague (1720) toCholera (1820) to Spanish Flu (1920) to Corona Virus (2020), we will rise tothe occasion. Hope is a shining comet in the very dark sky. Suffering, pain andmelancholy is temporary. Let's learn, relearn and unlearn tough lessons fromCOVID-19. While many call it bioterrorism and World War-III, I believe this sunloaded with deepest grief will set someday soon.