With each passing day we experience more turbulence and panic in the world because of the fast spreading pandemic Covid 19. The number of people getting infected and dying daily is shocking.
Hundreds of thousands of medical doctors, health workers, police and volunteers lead the global war against the pandemic while economists and spiritualists study how to create a new world order post Covid-19 era. People all over the world now experience economic crisis because of loss of jobs, suffering and death of millions in the unorganized sector.
The more optimistic spiritualists foresee a better world with more solidarity and collaboration. Their argument is based on spiritual insight people have gained from the misery and helplessness. The spiritualists want to foster better fellowship and collaboration between countries and people.
What is the impact of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic on people? What type of a world is waiting to be emerged?
Ingratitude and insensitivity to dedicated doctors:
A mob on April 19 refused the burial of Simon Hercules, a neurosurgeon who died serving the Covid 19 patients in Chennai. They also attacked the ambulance and those who tried to bury him. They faced the same problem at another site in the city. The doctor was finally buried with heavy police protection at midnight on the following day. Two other doctors who died serving the Covid patients in Tamil Nadu met with similar resistance — one in Chennai and another near Coimbatore.
The reason for such mob reaction was people’s belief that the virus would infect those staying near cemeteries and other places of last rites.
What message do we give to our dedicated frontline soldiers who are battling to save the millions from death? These incidents have greatly upset doctors across the country. “We save lives and we deserve respect, not hate,” they said.
Blind and violent mobocracy:
On April 16, a mob lynched two Hindu religious leaders and their driver near Palghar in Maharashtra. This is the first time Hindu godmen became victims of lynching. Although no Muslim was in the mob, some politicians have made false propaganda against the community.
Lynching in the name of cow protection has become quite common in India. The country witnesses 88 incidents of lynching by the cow vigilante groups against minorities and Dalits between 2012 and 2019.
When the coronavirus entered India towards the end of January our political leaders, instead of planning to fight against deadly virus, were busy organizing the communal riots in East Delhi that claimed more than 50 lives and destroyed property worth many millions.
Virus of prejudice and insensitivity among the elite
When people all over the world battle a deadly pandemic, it is a pity that many in our country are engaged in spreading the virus of prejudice, hatred and communal polarization through social media, talk shows and writings. They pollute the atmosphere with prejudice and hatred which are more poisonous than Covid-19.
Who are these people? Most of them are rich and middle class who sit in the security of their houses with regular meals during this lockdown. They spread these deadly viruses without verifying them.
Many are least bothered about 400 million people in unorganized sector who are deprived of the basic necessities of life because of the lockdown. They ignore the plight of millions of children who do not get even a meal a day. They shrug off reports about mothers who commit suicide with their children because of hunger.
They are more interested in propagating hatred, prejudice and violence against people of other faith and ideology.
I wish they spend some time contemplating on the many blessings they enjoy and explore ways to return to society from their time and resources. They could also critically analyse what the governments do and muster courage to speak out as prophets of truth and justice.
Change the content of education and sermons:
The most effective way of saving the humanity from hatred, revenge and communal is to change the content of our education and sermons. It is high time we focused on young students and helped them develop a new world view of universal solidarity based on values of peace, fraternity, justice, equality and individual dignity.
All the lessons imparted by teachers and parents should lead to building a civilization of love and human solidarity. It would be disastrous for humanity if we continue to brainwash them with prejudice and hatred towards ‘others.’
Priests and godmen have great influence on their people. They have great opportunities now to educate and motivate those coming to listen to them. They should speak on the universal values.
This would prevent the onslaught of virus of hatred, revenge and violence. This is the way to prevent wars between countries, protect life and dignity of humans, and liberate people and nations from poverty, hunger and exploitation.
So, let us focus more on our youth who are not yet fully infected with the virus of communal polarization.
(Published on 18th May 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 21)