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)