Dr. Qudsia Gani
Pandemics are responded by an amalgam of carelessness and caution. The seemingly careless, too may be conscious but are mostly helpless. However, neither a careless attitude nor an indirect boast of being the best of the nation has ever stood the test of pandemic time. Therefore let humility prevail before we count our chickens. After all, drones don’t deter the viruses but drugs do. All we need is a discovery. Missiles don’t undo a pandemic but rightful measures do. We can do our part and we can do it better.
As we wait for the epidemic to abate, social distancing, hand-washing, covering our mouths when we cough, and staying home when we are sick are all important low-tech measures that we can take to reduce the chances of spreading the infection—and the fear that increases its damage. Moreover, the silver lining is that as we are locked down, the skies are getting clearer and the ozone is healing. The other life forms are resurging and the earth is cleansing. Pollution is lowering, making the towering Venus visible in the horizon. The entire natural set-up, which was never let up of the MAN’s miseries, is getting overhauled. The Corona which came out of a bat seems to be a tit for tat.
It’s our failure to learn from history that the pandemics recur. In the recent past, these have been coming at a periodicity of 100 years from 1720 (bubonic plague) to 1820 (cholera outbreak) to 1920 (Spanish Flu) and 2020 (Coronavirus).
The hand hygiene was ordained centuries ago in the “ablution” which we chose to ignore. The rodents were prohibited food but we were in an eating mood. The imposition of face covers could have proved a rabbit’s foot in the cultured societies who instead lifted it in modern times.
Apart from being a public health crisis, a pandemic poses a huge challenge to the economy and polity. Working from home for anyone with a white-collar job is easier. Employees with salaries and benefits will be better protected. Self-isolation is less taxing in a spacious house than a cramped apartment.
Therefore, when the COVID-19 storm subsides, new norms will likely be needed to dictate how states need to run and what to put on priority. The industrial and tertiary sectors have been worst hit by the current crisis and therefore agriculture is likely to regain its stronghold as the backbone of our economy. It is high time for the lakhs of industrial workers and daily wage labourers who have been rendered jobless, to reclaim their pieces of land back home. Jobs near home can do them better in terms of time management resulting in regular planning and progress of their economic affairs.
For the moment, we can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone. Fortunately, despite all odds, we are a relatively economically sound society, better enough in a position to donate in cash and be kind to the needy. Let us be guided by the moral law within, even before a formal government order directs us to do a few things. While sitting inside, let us drink deeply from the good books, make friendship a fine art and build a shelter for this rainy day.
Outdoors is suspended in a pandemic but that does not suspend the life itself. There is no point in being panicked because with all our technological advances, otherwise also, life was never to be infinitely perpetual or of any specific duration. Death is the ultimate termination of the functional life with or without a Corona.
However, momentarily we need to come up with a chemo-medical discovery soon. The researchers are curious but so far, clueless. Meanwhile, amidst all this, those without a caring domestic responsibility have ample time to write another King Lear or develop a theory on optics. Teachers can choose a Google classroom and so can the students. Mass promotion should not be made a habit or else it may become a law owing to our natural tendencies and that will be another pandemic.
On a lighter note, I am reminded of a thriller movie of my school days, ROAD, whose cast song is more valid for today than for the times it thrived. Road pe, Kisi moad pe, qatil (corona) raastey mein. So, stay home and stay safe.
Author is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics at Cluster University, Srinagar. She can be reached at [email protected]
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