I am anguished , I am angry ….

A disturbing, distressing, disgusting scenario! My reaction  changes from anguish to anger as I helplessly and hopelessly watch the visuals of patients gasping for breath, scores losing their lives while waiting outside hospitals. There are heart wrenching accounts of patients being shuttled from one hospital for the want of oxygen bed, hospitals running out of oxygen, desperate attendants moving from pillar to post, making frantic appeals on social media for life saving drugs and oxygen for their loved ones. Patients dying in hospitals due to lack of oxygen-this is unbelievable, unacceptable.


Yes, the pandemic is nature’s fury, the new variant is highly virulent , but I am angry with the way the raging second wave, nay the tsunami of new infections , has taken us off guard. I am angry why as basic as oxygen facilities have not been ramped up in the last one year. Agreed, the numbers are astounding in the deadly second wave but where is our preparedness to fight pandemic.

Has it not been  government’s   complacency, rather negligence, which allowed the things to spiral out of control ? We thought the country is in capable hands. Not long ago the PM boasted the country as the ‘vishwaguru’. Our chest swelled with pride when PM announced early this year, “We not only solved our problem but also helped the world fight the pandemic.” But now our health care system has crumbled due to the shortage of medical oxygen and critical medicines. From a position of leadership, we have reached a stage where we are being universally pitied. Aid is being rushed from various countries like US, UK, Japan, France, and even Pakistan has offered to help us. But is it not a big blow to our national pride? Perhaps never before have we received such a humiliating international publicity.

While help is coming from across the world, within our own country the centre and state governments are busy playing the blame game. I am dismayed to see political slug-fest, politicians indulging in petty politics to capitalize on human tragedy. While we quote Vedic text ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ meaning the whole world is one single family, but within the country we don’t seem to be ‘one’ in fighting the crisis.

Instead of concentrating all their energies in fighting the pandemic, attention of our leaders got diverted to winning electoral battles. The most annoying have been mammoth political rallies and road shows organized with no Covid protocol. Truck loads of people were brought, thousands gathered for political functions – mask less and without any social distance- to boost the egos of the leaders. ‘Democracy is for the people, by the people and of the people but in our country people have been lost in oblivion, their role being limited to casting votes.

I am annoyed at the permission given for massive religious gatherings, the most shocking being the open invitation for taking a dip in Holy Ganga during the raging endemic. And the pictures from Kumbh flashed all across have made India a laughing stock for the world.

India claims to be the vaccine manufacturing hub of the world. We have been boasting of vaccine diplomacy by exporting vaccine to 80 odd counties  but now the situation is we don’t have enough of vaccine doses for our own population.  Vaccine shortage has reduced the launch of third phase of vaccination for the population above eighteen years a  mere tokenism.

Of course, it is easy to blame the government. But we, the citizens, must also bear responsibility for our casual and callous behavior, for flouting Covid protocol. It is  irritating to see people showing bravado,  throwing caution and mask to winds.

I seethe in anger when I hear the stories of oxygen and Remdesivir being sold in black. Those selling at exorbitant prices are definitely not aliens, nor are they foreigners but our own people profiteering on the misery of the people. Shameful!

In this story of gloom and greed, it is reassuring to hear about individuals and NGOs coming forward to help the people in distress.   It is heartening to see Gurudwaras doing oxygen sewa (service) ,  providing oxygen to the patients. If Sikhs can do this, why can’t Hindu temples flushed with funds and other places of worship come forward for humanitarian service?

I am  deeply anguished and angry to see the sorry state of affairs. But my  anger is of no use, rather  damaging it is , if I don’t channelize it into positive direction in trying to help the needy in whatever way I can. yes, the only way to drive negativity away is to do something positive .

(Published in Momspresso on 3 May 202 1)

24 Replies to “I am anguished , I am angry ….”

  1. There are some points where I beg to differ. For example you have raised the question about the paramedics . Tell me can we create them overnight They have to be trained and that takes time right?. Other answers are in the quote above. As the rallies and the Kumbh nobody forced anyone to be there.. people went out of their own choice throwing caution to the winds Do you honestly believe the government is responsible for all the chaos around. This pandemic is a bioweapon used by someone we do not know about.

    1. Bhavya everywhere in the world we need to control people be it China from where the pandemic originated or be it U.S, most developed nation..Govt has to put certain restrictions in order to control them. It is the Govt. who has to take care of the public and the govt. should be responsible enough in order to stop the spread. Instead it organised, I used term ORGANISED bath the holy water of Ganges and the huge rallies. Was it a responsible behaviuor. No doubt blaming one is easy, no doubt ppl amongst us are doing unjustified behaviuor..charging unfair prices from the dead for using ambulance or be it charging more than permitting prices of medicines.
      Leave everything apart, is govt still ignorant about the price of pplz getting vaccinated at huge prices by Pvt hospitals..covaxin bein 600rs has been charged 1250 by Pvt hospitals..covishied being 400 been charged 900 by the hospitals which are huge. Is govt not responsible enough to put some capping on the vaccines atleast. Without any preparation 3rd phase of vaccination was announced and most of the states does not have vaccines. Is n’t it a mockery in front of the world?

      1. Payal , I agree with you government should be the custodian of the interest of the people but it failed . Massive election rallies and invitation for Kumbh gave wrong signal to the masses. Of course, as people must bear responsibility for our callous behavior.
        But regarding pricing of vaccines, here I disagree with you . Of course capping can be there but I still firmly believe those who can afford to pay may get themselves be vaccinated at private hospitals. Why should over strained government resources be spent on catering to the population that has capacity to pay full price? Yes, of course, there are hardly any vaccine doses available even for the population eligible in the second phase.

        1. Yes ma’m I agree with you but Govt should have done capping on vaccine prices so that everyone can be immunised a little. No doubt, over burdening Govt is not fair as all those who can pay should pay but this is not a usual or routine disease..this is a pandemic and for this govt. should take some burden. There is huge amount collected in tha name of PM Care Fund. These basic things should be given to all with minimum spending at least.

          1. You have a point Payal but personally I am not against dual pricing . Vaccine has to be made available at government facility free of cost but those who want to go to a private hospital let them pay . It is like despite govt hospitals and schools many of us prefer private sector.
            Corporates can come forward for getting their staff vaccinated at their cost.However; I definitely expect government to provide basic health infrastructure . In the past year we could not even set up oxygen plants , many plans of setting up oxygen plants had been gathering dust . Definitely ill prepared !

    2. Thanks Bhavya for taking your time off to read and post your comments .It is perfectly okay to disagree. We are all entitled to our opinions. I feel we all including the government grew complacent. The government was clearly distracted , the entire focus shifted to making electoral gains. True, no one forced us to attend rallies and Kumbh but allowing mass gatherings sent wrong signal to the public .
      so we agree to disagree. All love ..

    3. Bhavna are you aware how the volunteers were arranged for the grand congegrations of the political parties. The govt. Should have set example by having the election campaign through media and holding elections in not so many spread out phases. The leaders did not follow any covid protocols. The masses in India require education about all this through exemplary behaviour. The example of Bengal was not enough to teach a lesson that events like kumbh and Uttar Pradesh elections were promoted by the respective state govts. Blame game is not a solution any more

      1. Yes, blame game is not the solution . We are all party to the disaster (mis) management. But definitely, our leaders could have set a better example in following Covid protocol. At the hind side massive political and religious gatherings could have been avoided.

    4. Whatever you have written dear Rama 90/ % people of india and overseas people are feeling the same . You have itne gift of expressing it so beautifully. I really appreciate it

      1. Thank you so much Mrs Luthra. It is nothing but vent to my anguish and anger , nay not just mine , but perhaps agony and pain of all of us. however; I have just put it down in words.

  2. I was distressed to read your article and your anger is understandable.
    Our country is going through terrible times during this period of Pandemic. You cannot fight with the natural calamities but this time there is utter failure on the part of the Government. They failed to envisage the magnitude of the spread of the Corona virus, did not take proper precautions and were not prepared to handle the situation. They were more worried about winning the elections.
    The U.K. Prime minister had warned that his country was in the grip of terrible disease where many people will lose their loved ones if precautions are not taken. He clamped lockdown for two months as soon as the second wave started. Economically they didn’t lose much as they spent less on life saving drugs and oxygen and also saved so many precious lives.
    Our Government gave permission to hold Kumbh Mela despite warning from several medical experts that this sort of gathering is fraught with danger of spread of the disease. Needless to say many people were tested + when they returned home.
    There is no point in blaming any political party but surely they should have handled the situation in a better manner by setting the example by their behaviobur and following the COVID protocol.
    The states and the centre will do better if they coordinate their work ie. supplying oxygen, ventilators, medicines vaccines and other medical equipment so that the Apex court does not have to intervene.
    I think it will be more positive and constructive if the leaders advocate the changes in social behaviour by setting good example and support each other in implementing the COVID-19 protocol to fight the deadly virus.

    1. Thanks Mrs Rahi for giving a very mature balanced view.Yes ,it is an unprecedented natural calamity but what is even more agonizing is our callousness and unpreparedness in dealing with the crisis .
      You are right there is no point in blaming. States and centre must coordinate to supply oxygen, ventilators, medicines vaccines.
      However, regarding nation wise strict lock down , I am not not so sure. In a country of our size, population and poverty , the kind of conditions people live in, so many huddled together in one room , common toilets, complete lockdown doesn’t work . Also , the question of livelihood can not be ignored .

  3. If our child is spoiled, parents are blamed & in case the child does well, parents get the credit of bringing up the child well.
    In case the head of the Family/Organization, etc are responsible for its success or failure then why not the government whether at centre or state. Are they only meant for patting their backs if something good happens & not take the responsibility to avoid this kind of catastrophes.
    How could they not stop Maha Kumbh this year or delay the state elections for few months?
    How can the centre government be silent spectators to black marketing of life saving items?
    No doubt people should behave responsible but not when the ministers themselves go to the rallies without mask?
    You have rightly said that we as a nation have become the laughing stock in the eyes of the world.

    1. Absolutely , you have given your point so brilliantly ..The analogy is so apt . If the government pats its back for doing good , it should also own responsibility for mishandling the situation .Where was our disaster management?
      Though , the number of infections in the second wave have been mind boggling , shocked everyone , over strained our medical infrastructure. But where was our preparedness to face the crisis? We became complacent. Plans to set up oxygen plants in the country had been gathering dust.

  4. Only a positive and proactive thinker can analyse the shortfalls of the system along with one’s own accountabilities . It is one rare article where I found emphasis on second dimension with equal intensity as on the first one. Thanks Mrs Rama Kashyap for your contributions through journalism.

    1. Thanks Kamini, though I don’t think I deserve all this applause . The genesis of the article lies in despair and frustration ..not a positive , heart warming piece but this is what I feel. Hope the worst is already behind us and we don’t repeat our mistakes

  5. Well done Rama. This pandemic is a natural calamity of huge proportion. Best of countries have suffered and are suffering. But in our country you have rightly pointed out that it’s a collective failure. Centre, states and ordinary citizens. We have lost many a lives but we can save many others. If the focus is at the right place , things can be managed very fast. Our country has that sort of potential. The media is also spreading panic and despair. I pray to God that now good sense prevails on all and we are out of it soon.

    1. Alka , this piece was written out of deep anguish and frustration . So please excuse me for being better. Yes , even the most advanced counties suffered huge losses but perhaps we were living in fool’s paradise, never thought this could happen in our own country , hence the anger.
      No, let us not blame media. Actually I have actually felt and seen pain of not getting hospital bed and oxygen.

  6. Rama your article is a strong reprimand against the irresponsible and callous approach of centre and state governments in dealing with this calamity. There is no denying the fact that common man’s casual attitude towards observing safety norms and measures too has led to the pitiable condition prevailing around. You have voiced effectively the anguish and anger of all sane and sensitive souls who are fretting and fuming helplessly in this grim hour.

    1. Absolutely Mrs Dhawan, we are all shocked ,feel miserable as we watch helplessly the ugly scenes unfolding in front of us. We can curse the nature for unleashing the the terror but patients dying of oxygen shortage in hospitals is unbelievable , unacceptable.

  7. No ,Prabhu Jyoti ,check it again.
    The U.P. govt. did not want gram panchyat election. It was conducted on Allahabad High Court order(4 feb2021), by justices Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Rohit Agrawal to conduct it before 30 April.This wrong and unappreciateddecision caused a lot ofdisturbance
    in villages.

    1. Really, is that so? We din’t know about it. A case of judicial over reach without taking into account the ground realities!. But then in early February we all were under the impression that we have won the battle against Corona… never knew the real war was ahead.

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