When we are alive, we often go uncared for. When we pass away, it’s pointless beyond a point to grieve. A hard fact of life. Practicality hits you finally, at some stage. Does it not? It makes sense to move on. You, yourself say it. Maybe on WhatsApp forwards that strike early morning in the form of the “thought of the day!” Many quote godmen to state facts of life. To many others, it doesn’t matter. Because somewhere it’s ‘fine’ or ‘natural’ and frankly, absolutely legal ‘to note care one bit!’ But just come to think for a second about those who become easy victims in times of national tragedies.
Those who, truth be told, spend an entire life worrying about something most of us privileged people don’t have to bother about. That same old grievance causing issue: two square meals a day.
Surely you are living under the rock if you think that despite being a strong economy, well, until say a year and a half back, India was doing just fine in terms of feeding its poor and keeping its destitute off the very limit beyond which one can’t be saved.
But when national epidemics of the size and appetite for destruction such as the Coronavirus strike, then it isn’t the affluent who has to bow down. It’s the poor who receives the bludgeoning blow.
Alas, not everything in life pans out the way the inimitable Kabeer or other masterly saints have philosophized about, “During the worst natural crisis the arrogant tree is dislodged but the tiny grass gently bows down to avoid the worst wreckage!”
Then, at the same time, only some sort of sense can be made through the following priceless couplet of Kabeer:
“Kabeera Garv Na Kijiye Uuncha Dekhi Awaas, Kaal Paron Bhui Letna, Upar Jamsi Ghaas.”
Do not be proud, do not act uncouth, tomorrow you are going to be nothing but the mud on the ground, on top of which grass will grow; nothing else will remain of you!
When you view the above timeless piece of wisdom from the context of the struggles of those whose lives are on the line during this major crisis in India, you understand what the poor and the less-privileged are passing through.
For how else would you describe the fate of the recently deceased Ranveer Singh, a 38-year-old migrant worker who chose to – and yes, it wasn’t probably the wisest thing to do during these times of lockdown- undertake a highly onerous journey of walking back to the deep interiors of India.
You and I would think, he could’ve instead chosen to have stayed back and opted for the sensible thing to do. But he didn’t and he’s now not among us.
Sad. Utterly sad.
But how can one even understand his frame of mind and the frustrations and helplessness he would have dealt with during this immensely testing period?
The following is an extract from NDTV’s recent report on the death of the migrant worker who passed away due to the novel Covid-19:
Ranveer Singh, who worked as a delivery agent in Delhi, was among the thousands of migrants desperately trying to return to their hometowns and villages after they were left without jobs, shelter or money. Most of them have been covering a journey of hundreds of kilometres on foot, as all transport services are shut, including passenger trains and interstate buses, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.
That being said, just think of it.
Someone eats a random and preposterous piece of animal meat in another part of the world, that part where animal trade (including eating dog meat is considered fine and normal), and the rest of the world comes to a state of a standstill.
Ranveer Singh could’ve been alive had I chosen not to flirt with danger. But when the only source of earning is stopped, owing to a nation-wide epidemic, a state of emergency that’s sanctioned to protect everyone, where does the uneducated and uninformed go?
Can we be really that patient and wise to wait for our chance? Can you extend philosophies and contend with positive, “peace of mind” thoughts when there’s not a penny in your pocket and when you, the provider of the family, see a dark future ahead?
Can assurances provide the soothing balm that you so desperately seek?
Remember, someone in China ate a bat or a pangolin and the world is losing people, who’ll never come back, and not just time- but its own credibility, provided we chose to conveniently turn away from the fact that medically, many of the world’s best-known powers weren’t prepared for it.
Remember that India chose to spend money on statues and idols, building shopping plazas and mighty real estate emblems that hide the intellectual vacuum but boost the commercial viability of its cities the next time you thoughtlessly forward some piece of propaganda, which you don’t let your conscience deal with.
The next time you flog to social media to express a common opinion, deciding to not question or at least probe whether the world is correctly dealing with this burgeoning crisis, think for a second that how kind has life been to you that you aren’t that migrant worker or an old helpless soul whose immunity doesn’t allow him to box with Coronavirus.
Rest in peace Ranveer Singh and hundreds who are putting their lives on the line when they could’ve been saved, whether by a climate of certainty or by wisdom.
What if the panic wasn’t created at all? Would the poor have rushed back against all odds? What if the money we have been putting elsewhere could’ve just been acted upon little smartly to save the most vulnerable?
There’s less sense in acting against Mr. Modi, the honorable Prime Minister or to criticize the government. But there’s every right to question the priorities of the powers-that-be that cannot make world-class medical facilities that aim to treat those who are unable to guard themselves.
DISCLAIMER: Views expressed in this article are of the author, not of the Content platform