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A Holistic View Of Immunity

A Holistic View Of Immunity

In the war against Covid 19 we know that the first line of defence is high level of immunity. Wearing masks, social distancing, hand washing etc. are not critical if your immunity is superb. Now this immunity needs to be considered in a broader band than the merely physical mode. And there are a number of social, spiritual, psychological, mental, emotional and social factors that impact  physical immunity. In the attainment of this holistic  immunity everyone plays a role : the   government, medical profession, politicians , social institutions and individuals. A comprehensive outlook on life itself and  adopting desirable  practices   are the foundation of this holistic  model  of immunity.

Government’s role

Let us first examine the crucial role of the government .The condition of our public health care system is deplorable with extremely low funding. Even the doctors and health care personnel battling corona have not got adequate personal protective gear. Very little has been done to improve medical infrastructure, we have only extended lockdowns. Money is more readily spent on moon mission, bullet trains, special exclusive air craft for the President and Prime Minister etc. We prefer to build the tallest statue in the world rather than save lives of   manual scavengers  cleaning sewers by  employing robotic machines. Crucial safety features   of air ports like Calicut airport are overlooked leading to colossal loss of limbs and lives.

To have a good level of physical immunity one needs to have positive attitudes, a sense of social security, high morale with regard to dispensation of justice, a sense of fairness towards all communities, a trust worthy government, faith in the impartiality of the police, freedom from the tyranny of bribes and   corruption, decency and fair play from our elected representatives,   confidence in our banking system etc. Unfortunately much is lacking here because governments are more interested in the prosperity of their respective political parties than in   the welfare of the people.

Relegating  the stale   ‘India Shining’ slogan the new leadership embarked upon a blitzkrieg of feverish visits to world’s capitals, embracing and hugging the globe’s rulers , rolling out  grand shows like ‘ Howdy Modi’ , ‘Namaste Trump’, the now musty  ‘Wuhan   spirit’ etc. These much hyped whirlwind world tours and shows were touted  as catapulting India to the position of an enviable world power. But bloody treacherous killings of Indian soldiers by the Chinese, new claims to Indian territory, bickering with Nepal, never-ending trouble from Pakistan, cold- shouldering by    Colombo, cancelled projects from Asian  countries etc. have put us on unsure foot in  the world.

Fouled-up political, social and economic climate

Our politicians are excellent weather cocks and shrewd chameleons changing their   political colours at the drop of a hat. They are elected by the people on one party ticket but after their win only astrologers can predict the timings of their party hopping.  They will desert their ship for ministerial postings or tons of money. Everyone of them  is ever ready to join the steam roller majority of the   ruling party   without any   qualms or principles.   These representatives elected by the impoverished  millions play out their betrayal games in the  luxury of   five star hotels. While NGO’s must account for the last paisa they spend for service,  these politicians are an exempt lot. And there is a   ‘PM Cares Fund’ which has no public accountability. So no one knows for whom he cares.

A system   that thrives on hatred and intolerance of other communities, where police cases are filed against rape victims or their families, where the digitally illiterate and poor  do not count, where the government turns certain religious functions into almost a government event ,cannot inspire much confidence in its   citizens and their morale and immunity levels are bound to plummet.

The police who are the guardians of law are often the protectors and shield of   corrupt politicians. No surprise since about 40 per cent of them have criminal backgrounds. The poor people have the double whammy of protecting themselves from bad politicians and also from the police who act as their goons in the shadows. And   these elected representatives but actual parasites on  the people are given police escort. In some states police lock-ups have become assured passport to torture and death in custody.

The banks were nationalized by Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi in 1969 for the ostensible purpose of making vast resources available for the citizens of the country instead of only big businesses. What is the pathetic situation now of  the financial health of these banks? Collusion between avaricious  big businesses and unscrupulous bank officials has pushed them to the brink of collapse with crippling liabilities  euphemistically named NPA or non-performing assets. The government has made the autonomous Reserve Bank of India bend to its controversial  economic policies and fired governors who had a sense of commitment to the people of the country more than their political masters. But our politicians prefer governors who love Caesar more than Rome. The net result of all   this gloomy situation is that people cannot feel any more safe about their   deposits in government banks .

The future of our cities is  highly uncertain. With congestion, dirt, lack of greenery, choking pollution and rampaging floods in heavy rain, they are a night mare in times of calamities like Covid 19. Besides their growth is at the expense of the countryside which is exploited of their water and natural    resources. It will be no wonder if they turn into ghost cities in this century itself.

A larger, more universal view of life and the cosmos.

Deep trust in God, an authentic spirituality ,  inspiring   religious practices and universal love are the spiritual   bedrock of immunity as they promote positive attitudes, loving deeds,   social harmony and peace. An uncompromising commitment to core   human values by non-believers also pursues the same goals on a complementary track .

If mankind is   to survive it  needs badly a more inclusive, more empathetic view of the universe with respect  not only for every human life and  race, but also for every form of life including animals and vegetation. We cannot oppress certain races and the deprived and hope to thrive as a race. We cannot   reap bumper crops with overuse of fertilizers without soil degradation, endangering lives of future generations; we cannot wipe out our water bodies for tourist greed  or make the ocean our vast dumping yard  for garbage, we cannot denude   forests driving  wild animals out of their habitats to grab it all , we cannot ravage and rape nature without disastrous  consequences.

Some primitive religions believe in pantheism considering everything living as god and worship the powers of nature. While this is lamentable ignorance,  respect   for nature and its resources is a   ‘conditio sine qua non’ for human survival. Ravaged nature has hit back with devastating climate change, with calamities piled upon calamities in the form of floods, earthquakes, wild fires etc.


Yes, physical immunity is not something you can hatch  in a protected incubator. It is the result and part of a complex of factors that rules our life. The state must accord everyone a sense  of security and belonging. The administration, the law courts, the police , the health care system must impart  a sense of self-confidence in citizens.  Only when physical immunity becomes part and parcel of this integrated  civic immunity will we  be fully equipped to fight pandemics   and other disasters. Otherwise we will implode  like a tottering  dilapidated mansion .

(The writer can be reached at:

(Published on 24th August 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 35)