In the holy month of Ramadan, as the Muslims around the world were observing fast and offering prayers, horrifying series of incidents were reported from Afghanistan. On 12 May 2020, in Kabul, at 10 a.m., three militants stormed the maternity ward of a hospital and killed at least 15 people. Among the dead were medical workers, a police officer, and mothers with their newborns waiting to see the light outside the hospital.
According to the union health ministry, India registered the biggest single day spike of Covid-19 cases on 25 May 2020 taking the country's tally to138,845, with the death toll climbing to 4,021. The patients’ recovery rate is claimed to be 41.57 percent.
Below are excerpts of an insightful conversation with Shri Upendra Prasad, a senior journalist, that followed publication of my article in this journal on 9 May 2020. A scholar on Gandhi from the post-Independence generation, Shri Prasad also leads a movement, Voice of OBC, through a facebook page which has India-wide 74000 membership.
करोना-जनित संकट की मार को और अब ज्यादा न सहने के फलस्वरूप अपने-अपने ठिकानों से घर-गाँव जाते और रास्तों में फंसे मज़दूरों का मर्मान्तक हाल लगभग हर चैनल अपनी लच्छेदार/भावपूर्ण कमेंटरी के साथ इन दिनों दिखा रहा है। शायद अपनी टी-आर-पी बढाने के लिए।
The poor of the world have a nasty habit of disturbing the even tenor of ordered life, the status quo; they threaten the peace and calm when it is least expected of them. As if it was not labour enough for the governments, in centre and in the states, to have evacuated several lacs of those better off Indians by aircrafts and ships, this problem of migrant labours leaps up.
A very eminent professor of economics at Cambridge, of Indian origin, with whom I conversed once or twice, tweeted to an absolute excess on the disproportionate focus on Covid-19, quoting the number of deaths from other causes to make his point. So, I engaged him one day. It was not its capacity to kill, but the anxiety on account of instant contagion, that has brought down this world.
The closing lines of The Plague by Albert Camus's "the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city," just about sum up the attitude of a medicalised society which treats all of germs , pathogens , microbe , lonely, lost strands of RNA are its sworn enemies.
After nearly two months in the bunker cutting off all social contacts, we are told 3,506,924 people (at the time of writing) got infected with coronavirus worldwide. This has claimed the lives of 247,473 including those of 65,000 in the USA alone. Nearly 1,125,255 patients (32%) recovered, but the pandemic has taken a huge toll on all aspects of people’s lives.
Ever since 15 Dec 2019 when a peaceful protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that turned into disruption and arson around the Delhi Jamia Millia Islamia campus, posters or placards featuring Gandhi were widely displayed.
The ‘Covid-19’ is one of the newly coined words that have come into fashion. For some months there’s hardly been any day when this word does not pop up when watching TV or reading news or reports on health.
समय को इस सृष्टि की सबसे अनुपम और बलवती वस्तु माना गया है। जब समय यानी वक्त बदलता है तो इंसान को राजा से रंक और रंक से राजा बना देता है। इसके कहर से बड़े-बड़े राजा-महाराजा तक घबराते हैं।
The unprovoked yet violent attacks recently carried on a team of doctors and paramedics on duty in Indore and other places in the country must be condemned by all quarters in the strongest possible words. Furthermore, to set a precedent and send across a strong message, a quick and stringent action on part of the government must be taken against those erring hoodlums.
Nations around the world, and for that matter, entire humanity is going through the dreadful impact of COVID-19 syndrome. Challenges thrown by Corona are many and resources are limited. Panic amongst human beings under the sun is growing although the governments are taking adequate measures to contain this pandemic disease.