India started experiencing havoc when an invisible enemy entered its territory on 30th January 2020. Before we knew it, the enemy named Coronavirus grappled with the whole nation and stirred fear in the hearts of many. Currently, the number of cases of Coronavirus in India has crossed the figure of 4000, a figure that is increasing by the day.
India is a developing nation and thus has medical facilities that are not as advanced as they are in other developed nations like the United States, China, Australia, and Canada. Being the second-most populous country in the world with a population of 1.3 billion, the spread of Coronavirus can surely come down heavily on the nation. Keeping this in mind, the government of India is taking all the best measures to contain the pandemic.
Even though the population in the country is high and the facilities scarce, it is commendable that India is doing much better than the other nations. The reason for this is its prompt reaction. While countries like China, Italy and Spain took a long time to take strict measures, India went on a nationwide lockdown in its second stage itself. Not just this, India was also quick enough to restrict travel. It suspended visas and also put all the incoming travelers under quarantine. Since India is a religiously diverse country, it hosts numerous amounts of religious gatherings throughout the year. The Indian government was also quick enough to cancel these huge religious gatherings and events that attract a heavy swarm of the crowd. India has also screened more than 1 million people at the airport itself. All such measures have helped the country to stay afloat in such a challenging situation.
Sure there are loopholes in the system. To deal with coronavirus in India, the country doesn’t have a structured plan as to how it plans to deal with the pandemic if community spread takes place. It is also not testing as many people as it originally must. Moreover, in spite of a lockdown being imposed in the nation, people can still be seen gathering in places in huge crowds. This is something India will undoubtedly have to pay a big price for.
However, it is important to take both sides of the coin into consideration. A majority of the Indian population is economically weak and has a huge working class, especially daily wage earners who, leaving their home ground, have migrated to cities for earning a living. So when a country like India goes under complete lockdown, the chances of collateral damage increase to high levels.
Just like every other country is experiencing the ravages of the pandemic, so is India. With the entrance of coronavirus in India, every sector of the country’s economy is on the verge of crumbling, right from the stock market to the entertainment industry. However, the government understands that people’s welfare and safety is the most important concern and priority at the moment.
Further, India is not just battling with the catastrophe of COVID-19, it is also fighting other enemies like fake news, rumors, communal blame-game, resource scarcity (medical, administrative and general), other diseases like tuberculosis, cancer, phenomena, diarrhea, hypertension, diabetes, etc, and also attacks of the western media. Many reputed media outlets, online as well as print, have called the whole ‘Coronavirus scenario of India’ a mysterious one just because the virus hasn’t spread in the country as rapidly as it has in the other nations. Sure, it is a fortunate thing, but there is nothing ‘mysterious’ about it, as quoted by a well known and reputed online media portal.
The simple explanation for this containment of the virus is that India took lessons from other nations and acted promptly. In addition to this, the reason why the mortality rate in India is much much lesser than in other countries is simply that India’s more than half of the population is below the age of 30. It is the only country that has a majority of the youth.
Further, even after United Nation’s World Health Organisation (WHO) officially made a statement of India dealing with the pandemic much well than the rest of the nations, the western media seemed keen to only pick out the negative happenings, while completely ignoring the positives. While it is busy reporting news like migrants walking towards their villages from cities amidst the transportation restrictions, and people under quarantine fleeing from the hospitals, what it fails to note is that the decision of the lockdown was an immediate one which left no time for the authorities to make arrangements.
The western media isn’t the only one to put India in the negative light, many of the Indian citizens too, are contributing to it. Yes, the decision to go under lockdown to contain coronavirus in India was sudden and lacked preplanning, just as demonetization did, but it was needed to be done immediately. Had the government waited for some more time and got busy planning the lockdown, India, by now, would have been at the peak of the third stage. While the Indian government surely could buy some time for preplanning demonetization, buying time to pre-plan the lockdown could have proven to be damagingly expensive.
Our leaders very well know that India’s medical system is too weak to handle the devastations of the pandemic and so for us, social distancing, a prevention precaution, is the only strongest weapon to fight the virus. It is, however, best to prepare for the worst. The authorities have this in mind, and so, even though we have a high shortage of medical professionals, ventilators, beds, masks and gloves, and hospitals, the nation’s attempts to do whatever it can is seen in the facts like the train compartments and stadiums are being converted into quarantine wards.
It is saddening though to see that at a time when Indian citizens should be coming out in support of all the attempts the government is taking to keep it’s people safe, few are busy criticizing the system and inflicting hate. Though there is no harm in questioning the government, mocking, trolling and criticizing sitting at home behind the laptop/phone screens and tweeting hate, is rather shallow.
To add fuel to fire are rumors and fake news that have the power to spread even more rapidly than the virus itself. India is a country that believes in the strength of Ayurveda and home remedies. This said, there were many rumors that surfaced on the internet, like turmeric and garlic being the cure for the virus. This did not just stop here, Indians also dwelled in blind faith and false beliefs like drinking the holy cow urine will cure a person infected with the virus or the loud blowing of conches and banging of plates will kill the virus, so on and so forth. Moreover, rumors like the unavailability of food supplies post the lockdown, caused people to crowd in stores and vegetable markets and hoard resources.
It is thus, the social responsibility of every citizen along with the media outlets to give out authentic and factual information. We must check for the source of the information we receive, verify it with other trustworthy news portals, reverse check if the images or quotes and statements used by individuals are related to the news in question or not, and learn to identify fake news. Be aware of the news or information you pass on to others. If you are unsure about the credibility, authenticity, and factualness of some information, either don’t forward it or first verify it. These simple steps will go a long way in helping the country in this battle.
Though our infrastructure might be weak and incapable of bearing the load this pandemic has the ability to bring, we can certainly fight it, if each of us, realize, understand and practice our moral and social responsibility towards ourselves, society, country and to humanity as a whole.