Second wave has taken our nation by surprise and exposed serious chinks in our armoury to fight the pandemic – lack of oxygen, ventilators, hospital beds, ambulance service, Remdesivir, non availability of vaccination et al. On the other hand, caution was thrown to winds for playing Holi, doing Kumbha snana and participating in state and panchayat elections. India created new records of daily infections and deaths. With the extensive lockdowns and other measures, the second wave seems to have plateaued and the numbers have started receding almost all over the country. In this context, I had two thoughts or new perspectives on the issue.
First is on the underlying principles of democracy. Democracy is more about self governance- to be aware of our duties and not only rights. Governments under democratic system of governance are not expected to deal with iron hand as it’s the government of the people, for the people and by the people. While government has been rightfully lambasted for its handling of crisis, the people at large – who partied as if lifting of lockdown meant end of Corona, travelled like there was no next day, celebrated Holi and Kumbha and made mockery of social distancing at election rallies and shopping for festival are equally to be blamed.
Second is on the satirical piece by inimitable Jug Suraiya who wrote beautiful on co-relation between our five senses and Corona. As he says, it all starts with us losing our sense of taste and smell. Then there’s constant admonition to not to touch any object – door knobs, elevator buttons or for that matter shaking hands, forget hugging or embracing! Our sight is not affected but it undergoes a change seeing people not as people but as case loads or hospital bed or oxygen seekers! On sense of sound, the author very wittingly says that while we ignore voices seeking Covid help certain other “Mann ki baat” gets amplified to crescendo pitch. However, he sums it up beautifully saying that apart from these five physical senses there’s a sixth sense that can be adversely affected by the virus and all the misinformation doing the rounds. This is generally called the common sense. Ultimately, it seems that it all boils down to people using their common sense or discretion in fighting this pandemic.
We all have to use all our senses, including the sixth one, to get rid of Corona. Mask will protect us from senses relating to taste and smell, hand washing from touch, good literature and thoughts from senses relating to sight and sound and common sense from unnecessary crowding and outing and all this combined with vaccination will give us victory against Corona.