Monday, Jul 04th

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Our World Is On Pyre

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By Sidharth Mishra

My father, a medical graduate of early 1950s, often recounted the service he had rendered in the cholera, malaria and typhoid epidemics in the 1950s. He would end conversation saying, “Hope your generation never gets to see an epidemic.”

His soul must be sad seeing his country facing the epidemic for the past one year and with no light at the end of a very densely dark tunnel. In his epidemic stories, one thing was very clear that it was the government infrastructure and machinery which led the fight. During that time hardly existed any facility in the private sector. This time around government is not visible at the grassroots, and private sector unequal to rise to the challenge.

For the past two weeks the fear of opening the social media handles lest a notice announcing the passing away of a known name pops-up has only increased. Writing obituary has become difficult as many are dying young still to have lived a full life to be written about.

My generation came up feeding on the stories of death and destructions caused by floods and famines, then saw the opening of the economy and finally having super power dreams. Probably we dreamt much too early little realising that political ambitions and corruption and dishonesty in public life could still gnaw at the gains of the decades. The country has been left pauper, looking for alms from ‘friendly’ nations, China included, in our fight against catastrophe which has befelled many with bodies in waiting for the wood to arrive for the pyres to be lit up.

The government says the people should also be blamed for putting down the guard aka mask. People indeed need to be blamed for electing a government, which comes to power propelled on a manifesto of freebies and religious sentiments. Delhi is in bad shape, because we have not added a brick to the infrastructure which was built during the Commonwealth games or before it.

In search for free electricity and water, we voted out Sheila Dikshit government which had built 39 hospitals over 15 years. The dream of turning Delhi into a health tourism hub has been thwarted by the designs of the present city government which has perfected the art of using acts of non-goverance to its advantage by indulging in verbal sophistry and criminal optics.

The fact is that the Arvind Kejriwal government has not added a single brick to the health infrastructure left behind by his predecessor and her able minister Ashok Walia, unfortunately who also recently succumbed to Covid. But that doesn’t absolve the Narendra Modi government either of giving precedence to optics over hardwork, for which the country is paying a very heavy price.

The Delhi High Court has rightly said, that the state has failed in performing its fundamental obligation of protecting the most basic fundamental right, that is right to life enshrined in article 21 of the Constitution of India. No wonder, the world is rushing to sculpt the epitaph for the Indian nation.

On the brighter side, the governments may have let the Indians down but the Indian spirit refuses to die. A big salute to the resilience to the Indian soul, which has joined hands in battle of survival.

We the people of India, as enshrined in our Constitution, have overcome callousness, black marketing, hoarding, profiteering and debilitating disease in our struggle to not let down poet Mohammed Iqbal, who once wrote that many a civilizations died but we survived because there was something extra ordinary in us. Iqbal’s religion may be a problem for some but his words are proving to be prophetic as we resist our world being put on the pyre.

(First Published in The Morning Standard 


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