Updated: May 23, 2020
~Contributed by Arshleen and Devanshi
Hello, people of the world! Yes, we all have been going through really tough times. A lot has changed since I first wrote on the Coronavirus. As Arshleen Sodhi puts it:
“We used to read in our history books about epidemics and how people suffered from crisis and no wonder we are actually seeing history repeating itself! This is the time when we actually realise that a busy life was a boon. We used to pray for holidays and wanted relaxation from our daily routines. I guess here, the proverb- Whenever God blesses, blesses in abundance- stands true. Today, we have nothing but time. ...it is easy to conclude that we are facing a global crisis and that everything has stopped at its own place. Everything has become motionless.”
The Red Megaphone thus presents to you the first edition of The Pandemic Times: an issue on how our voices perceive some aspects of the COVID-19 situation in India.
I must say, I am impressed by the way the Lockdown is being enacted in the country. The police forces of various cities have come with creative means of controlling the public: From making the people roaming unnecessarily on streets do sit-ups to using memes on social media to spread awareness. The one I found best was this one by Jaipur police:
However, the stringency of a lockdown does not show a very direct relationship with the number of cases. As an example, India has been observing an all-time high of daily cases recently. At the same time, there has been a reduction in our doubling rate of cases. Surely, the dynamics of these statistics are complex.
Why it is difficult for the poor to stay even five feet apart.
As Devanshi says:
In countries like India, “social distancing is difficult to achieve, especially for rural communities where living in a close knit community is more of a necessity than a bonding exercise.”
She says that “it is easy to dismiss maids and local workers with the thought that this would ensure their safety as well, but this might do them more harm than getting the coronavirus itself. As urban settlers it is easy for us to work from home and still earn our pay, but rural labourers can't do so and will only sink further into the ugly trenches of poverty and hunger. Hunger is a virus which has a vaccine, still kills thousands of the poor, but isn't taken seriously because it doesn't affect the rich. Practicing social distancing is important, but maybe distancing rural workers from their livelihood is not the best way to do it.”
As is usual in India, Delhi High Court has exposed excessive over-profiteering and corruption in the sale of the rapid antibody kits to ICMR. This is alarming as kits with landing prices of Rs. 245 are being sold to ICMR at Rs. 600, all at the expense of our taxes. This only proves that our governments and public welfare offices will continue to be corrupt even when the whole country battles with a pandemic.
What Comes Next?
As we move into the third lockdown, we are entering a new phase of regional curfews and control measures. There are many challenges ahead. In my opinion, the key to handle them is regional and grassroots collaboration, and kindness. There might be elderly people in your neighbourhood, who might find it difficult to order their medicines and groceries online. Why not set up a WhatsApp group to help them? I have been working with covidindiasupport.com on such an initiative and we have now set up Viral Kindness Groups (https://covidindiasupport.com/viralkindness) to assist people with such needs.
Remember, Kindness can be viral, too!