Pandemic deepening wrinkles of worry

Editor: Amit Mittal

Wrinkles of worry are getting deeper and deeper with each passing day as the number of corona affected people rises in India while the Modi government tries to mislead people into believing that the deadly pandemic will be over soon. From day one of the first lockdown it was given to believe that the infection will die away in 14 days, but it has not happened as it was not supposed to happen. It was merely playing on the sentiments of the semi literate population that they should clap, beat thalis or bells and this will chase away the deadly pandemic. Was it some kind of Voodoo magic? Today the number of active cases in India stands at over 2,80,000   just close to United Kingdom and Spain. It will put India at number four worldwide overtaking the tally in the two countries.

Arresting the spread o f the virus is no child’s play. It has to be taken seriously by the government and cannot be rubbed off as some roadside show where beating utensils will play some magic. This is no “jumla”. So it is better not to misguide the population at large, making them believe what will never happen. The best way to match the spread would have been educating the people about basic hygiene through short documentaries as are often shown in cinema halls and television soaps rather than putting out full page advertisements in English dailies.  I find it funny that informative advertisements meant to enlighten the least literate are splashed in English dailies. For instance advertisements guiding the labourers are put into English dailies as if a labourer will pick it up to read it.

The advertisements are chequered with pictures of the Prime Minister. What does that indicate? Does it have a meaning for the labourer hundreds of miles away from his hometown, left with no means of survival or income?

If there can be short documentaries against smoking or propagating sanitary pads, one fails to understand why the same cannot be done on  a massive scale to spread awareness among the people who need it most.

This is no time for politicking or making verbal attacks on the Opposition. Concrete measures must be taken to save lives. Measures not like severe lockdowns which affect the economy and hike up unemployment, but audio visual aids to spread awareness among the people, they do not need to know English for understanding this message.

Basic hygiene like spitting on the roadside or in the streets continues unabated. Its not only those chewing tobacco or betel leaves who spit on the street, but there is a general habit of spitting anywhere. Why can’t there be a documentary on the hazards of spitting in the open. For the sake of decency one cannot make a documentary on open defecation, but certainly it can check spitting in the open.

If the government is serious about controlling the pandemic , it can force television channels to show short basic hygiene documentaries at intervals during programmes .

The famous bear hug of the Prime Minister has to be done away with showing it as a cause of viral spread too. This then would give meaning to the so called ‘social distancing’ which comes close to untouchability.

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