We have already completed one month of lockdown. Individuals, business and industries, shops and vendors, migrant workers and labourers, commoners and VIPs all are ‘stranded’ in different locations.
The deadly coronavirus has compelled people to be indoors. There have been people who have turned the crises into opportunities. The quarantine and lockdown period has been a time to pay attention to the areas of life which otherwise we would never have paid attention to.
The lockdown/quarantine period is a time to reinvent and restart human living. There were some great men and women in history who made best use of the lockdown/quarantine period and created masterpieces and became immortal in the history of mankind. Some of such illustrious persons of past years are-
(1) William Shakespeare - William Shakespeare lived at a time when Plagues were very common and claimed many human lives and pushed people into isolation and quarantine. The London’s Great Plagues of 1592-93 and 1665-66 forced many people in Great Britain and in the surrounding countries and William Shakespeare was also one among those quarantined. Hundreds and thousands of students, business barons, artists and poets all were quarantined. Making the best use of crisis time as productive opportunity Shakespeare wrote his masterpieces specially the plays like- King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra and heart touching poetry like – Venus and Adonis, The Rape of the Lucrece which made him establish as the King of English drama (theatre) and poetry.
(2) Isaac Newton - During the London’s Great Plague of 1665, Isaac Newton was a student of Trinity College. He went to his father’s farmhouse for quarantine to escape the fury of the plague. It is during this period that he invented a theorem in mathematics known as calculus.
(3) Thomas Nashe - Thomas Nashe fled to countryside to escape the infection of London bubonic plague of 1592. It is in this self-quarantine period in the countryside that he produced a famous play “Summer’s Last Will and Testament” which made him famous beyond time and space.
(4) Giovanni Boccaccio - Boccaccio was personally affected by the bubonic plague of Florence in 1348. He lost his parents to the plague. In order to escape the fury of plague Boccaccio fled to Tuscan countryside where he stayed for many months. It was during this quarantine period he wrote an Epic known as “Decameron.” It’s a collection of novellas framed as stories where a group of friends tell each other which quarantine inside a villa during the plague.
(5) Edvard Munch- Edvard was born in 1863 in Norway during a time when sickness, plague and epidemics were looming large over many countries in Europe. He lost his family members and dear ones at his early age who succumbed either to tuberculosis or plague or mental illness. He himself was plagued with ill-health. All these human realities made deep impression in his mind. He created masterpieces of art by painting various moods like melancholy, jealousy, pain, suffering, anguish, anxiety, frieze, emotions, love, death which have universal appeal to human experience. His artwork speaks to typically modern situation of the individual facing the uncertainty of a rapidly changing contemporary world.
Amidst frustration and solitude of isolation many people lose their mental balance and peace of mind. Human history has witnessed pandemics, plagues, epidemics. The control of the pandemic is in human hands when we are ready to mend our ways and reconcile with nature and become part of the natural flow of time and space. Do we have courage and willingness to do?(Published on 27th April 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 18)