Lifting of lockdown has begun. It is a big gamble. It had to be done. The entire population cannot be shut forever. There are unfortunate consequences of prolonged lockdown, the word that has entered into our mental notes like never before in the past one and a half years. The lifting of the restrictions, hopefully, should be beginning of an end. But it’s not over till it is over. That may sound a cliché but there is a harsh reality hidden beneath it. We all should agree that the easing of the restrictions is by no means a truce with the pandemic and there should be none.
The pandemic has a bad habit of returning to the battleground with more intensity and lethality. Those seeking evidence of this pattern are befooling themselves. The evidence is there for all to see. We have seen it all after we assumed that the virus has gone forever in the beginning of 2021. None of us wanted to see the repeat of 2020. It was just a few months ago when we entered into zone of dangerous complacency and are now paying a very heavy price – the second wave that struck in 2021 is deadlier.
Therefore, it would be a big mistake to see this lifting of lockdown as a victory or assuming that this was a much-needed ceasefire. Sorry, it is not. The war is on.
There might have been some advances by the warriors - doctors, paramedical staff and all others who put all risks behind them and joined the war- winning few battles doesn’t mean a comprehensive victory.
Anyone making celebratory noises would be adding to the mourning of all those who lost their near and dear ones to Covid-19 – they have already been reduced to nothing when the numbers replaced names and faces of their loved ones There can be no greater tragedy than this . Those itching for celebration should know that hubris is waiting to catch them.
Kashmir’s heroic fight against the pandemic is continuing. At this stage when the number of the infected and the death toll is on decline, this outstanding valour deserves all appreciation and acknowledgement. Kashmiri doctors are fighting the pandemic with all the devotion and dedication much beyond the call of their duty in a mission mode .
There would always be questions about the exceptionalism that Kashmir exemplifies . This exceptionalism, as I understand it, comes from the feeling of oneness among the people of Kashmir who stand as one during all crises. It is different from the dictionary meaning . Its connotations are human linked to the geography and culture of the place. This has germinated a new idea of Kashmir.
The doctors in Kashmir adopted more than the traditional professional approach. But at places even the professional approach was missing in J&K. There are instances where the authorities had to tell and then put it in black and white to ask the head of the institutions to make the senior faculty members to visit the Covid wards. It was outside Kashmir but within the Union territory.
The current pandemic offered a different challenge to them .The virus is everywhere. It is spreading trauma everywhere- patients are suffering from uncertainties for they don’t know whether they would be able to come out of it or not. Their families suffer from a different trauma . They have to maintain social distancing from their loved ones . Doctors and paramedical staff treating them have no such option . They have to be physically present and talk to the patients to monitor their condition . This pandemic has created a different bond , where a doctor treating a Covid patient is in as much danger as is the patient . Here , a different medical science is required that is beyond the effectiveness of medicines and all other equipment need to cure the patients. It is the mix of human science and the love for the place and the people that guided the line of treatment .
There is something more that needs to be acknowledged that they never declared ceasefire in their war against the Coronavirus. They kept on warning the people not to take things lightly because the temporary decline in cases between October 2020 to January 2021. They were right and had to fight those who had come to live in a make-believe world.
They are back to fight these illusions when the things have started looking better . There is no ground for ceasefire . The virus might have slowed down its march for the time being, but the third wave is waiting it its wings . No ceasefire – The virus has to be vanished completely . Ceasefire gives the option to virus to survive and strike again , therefore this is not to be done .