Need Ventilators Not Bombs


President Donald Trump shows a chart highlighting arms sales to Saudi Arabia during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House on March 20, 2018

Mushtaq A Hurra

THE WORLD has come to a standstill. Every heart is broken and every soul is grief stricken and every mind is obsessed with the fear of death. People are frightened of the tragic disaster which has almost assumed the shape of a monster, and is likely to engulf the humanity. In this extreme desperation, some are looking towards the skies for divine help while some others are looking for a medical science miracle. The spike in COVID19 positive cases across the globe is emerging as a Herculean task for the world to battle with. Developed and the developing countries are in the same queue, watching their people dying for the lack of necessary and proper medical facilities and services. WHO like international organisation has almost knelt down and accepted defeat.

Here, at this crucial juncture, a billion dollar question pops into the minds of many. What is the logic behind the scare created by the pandemic when its mortality rate is just four or five percent. Then, why are lockdowns imposed? Why are economies left to crumble? Why are children deprived of their education? World has witnessed lakhs of deaths to H1N1 flu as well but there was no such hue and cry then. Obviously there is something terribly serious which forces us to take the extreme measures. Leaders of the world have obviously failed to invest public money in right places, like in the vital areas of healthcare and education.

Today, the biggest challenge before the world is the sharp and scary rise in COVID19 positive cases. But, ironically, the virus has exposed deficiencies of all. World lacks sufficient and adequate healthcare facilities and services to tackle a challenge of this magnitude. It may sound bizarre but it is a reality that the so-called great champions and ambassadors of human rights and democracies have failed to invest adequately in the healthcare system. They have fooled the masses of the world in the name of nationalism  and patriotism. Their monopoly of the global economic system has brought us to the virtual destruction and the threatened the human race from the planet called earth.

After the second world war, world witnessed a mad race of economic hegemony and nuclear power. USA and the former USSR fought the prolonged battle of nerves popularly known as the Cold war. This politics of power led to the accumulation of deadly weapons, missiles, fighter jets and other sophisticated armoury. The two blocks and their allies made every possible attempt to put down each other. They, probably, did it deliberately or they lacked the vision to let humanity bloom and live happily on the planet. Conquering the Mars and the Moon is not a sin but depriving a commoner of his/her birth right is indeed a big sin.

The politicians of the world have never been the real statesmen. A statesman cares about the welfare of the people while as a politician cares about absolute power to extend their rule over masses, least bothering about their welfare and development. The pages of the history are testimony to the fact that there have been just rulers. One can cite the example of rulers like Hazrat Ommar Bin Khataab (RA). With a kingdom spread over twenty two lakh square miles, the caliph had no fort to live in and had a single pair of garment to wear. He would often be seen in the graveyards of Madina. And our ambitious politicians, including in that very sacred land, have put the whole humanity on a pile of bombs to exhibit their false pride and hollow showoff. Now, the whole world has understood their vision and mission. These ambitious killers have left the world barren. I challenge them to try their atomic bombs and highly skilled military to kill this tiny virus which is not even visible to a naked eye. It is a proven fact that ambitions lead to disasters. The present crisis is the result of this ambitious approach of our so-called leaders. Had they been sincere and honest rulers, then the world would not have been short of ventilators and medical infrastructure. It is pathetic to mention here that the country like America is begging before the world for ordinary face masks and hand sanitisers. And what is the situation in the countries like India and Pakistan, one need not to mention.

Almost a year ago, I was about to board my car near the casualty gate of SKIMS Soura Srinagar when my eyes caught sight of one of a close acquaintance who was bitterly crying. I rushed towards him and enquired about the reason. He told me that his ailing mother was in dire need of a ventilator but all the available ventilators in SKIMS Soura were occupied. I do not need to give data and figures of medical equipments available in our tertiary care hospitals.

The story is no different in the countries of the Indian subcontinent. After the colonial rule, subcontinent won its freedom but ambitious rulers didn’t let our chains to break. We are still facing the pangs of poverty, hunger, casteism, illiteracy and above all poor and substandard healthcare facilities. A big chunk of populace in the subcontinent has no access to any kind of medical facilities. The pandemic has exposed the real designs of our politicians who would brag about their political manifestoes and liberal outlooks. These hypocrites stand exposed to the masses , and they should be held accountable for their sins.

If experts are to be believed India and Pakistan will be the next hotspot of COVID19. Given the density and the population in these two nations,  people may suffer immensely to poor healthcare facilities and services. I am of the firm belief that the post Corona period will cause big political changes in the world in general and the subcontinent in particular. Belligerence and provocation in the name of nationalism and communalism will no more lure the electorate. Time for these hypocrites and bigots to get ready for a changes which may be beyond their imagination.

Raising armies and investing on the defence of a nation, is not bad deal. But, investing only in the weapons of mass destruction to prove ones false pride is criminal. Building skyscrapers and flyovers is no measure of progress but lifting the common masses out of poverty is. Let the world seek a new system of governance. Communism, nationalism, socialism, communalism and liberalism have all been proven irrelevant and obsolete. From Chanakya to Machiavelli, all the models have proven inefficient. Model propounded by Mohammad (Pbuh) some 1500 years ago may hold the answer.

The writer is a teacher and a columnist. He can be reached at

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