Last year 22nd March, the first taste of the things to come was evident when Janata curfew was imposed for 14 hours. As the name suggests, the curfew was more of self restraint for the people and I must say that people didn’t disappoint by choosing to stay indoors.
The issue can be debated – did India handle the pandemic well or could it be handled better, was lockdown a good option or it caused too much suffering, especially to the migrant population, did we open up too soon or too late – and one can see merits and demerits in all the above questions! But one fact that’s an indisputable feather in the cap of the country and especially pharmaceutical industry, is production of Corona vaccine almost simultaneously with some of the most advanced countries. Oxford- Astra Zeneca vaccine Covishield being produced by Serum and covaxin by Bharat Biotech have not only given a tremendous boost to the country’s fight against Covid, but India has also emerged as one of the major suppliers of vaccines to several countries. This has eclipsed its earlier gesture of supplying hydroxyl chloroquine to US when that country needed it most.
The idea to write this blog stemmed from an article I read yesterday in Pakistani Urdu daily Jang in which the writer had very generously lauded India’s preparation to be vaccine ready. In fact, the article also criticised the story fed to the generation of Pakistanis of that country’s military might and it being a nuclear power. As the writer quotes an instance of a Pakistani visiting India and being told by his host of India’s tremendous stride forward in manufacturing sector. When the host asks, “how come Pakistan is not manufacturing even a needle?” . the visitor replies, “ We have a nuclear bomb!”
It’s a bit ironical and tragic that two neighbours have invested a lot in destructive power; India’s investment is largely justified as borne out by recent aggression by China and the fact remains that India has simultaneously worked on infrastructure, health, manufacturing, science and technology, where Pakistan seems to have lagged. And the intelligentsia in that country is not altogether blind to the damage by powerful military and its nexus with the politicians. However, like always, I am sure India will keep aside all its differences and the past acts of omission and commission by its hostile neighbour and export Covid vaccine if requited by Pakistan in this need of hour.
I hope India’s medical, scientific and engineering fraternity will continue to make India of tomorrow to which the entire world looks up to for help, guidance and inspiration.
Jai hind !