Woman banging steel utencils during Janta Curfew on March 22, 2020 in solidarity with the fight against Coronavirus
Politics & Economy

Coronavirus – Exposing the fault-lines

In India, television news channels
are milking the virus

Coronavirus disease has in a way dented Karma. For the longest time we weaved our own Karma. Karma was the result of the choices that we made every moment of every day.

It was cosmic justice where good was rewarded and bad was punished. I am sure no one of us chooses Coronavirus.

In fact, it looks like Coronavirus descended on Earth to shatter our belief in Karma and to start analyzing the massive inequality human greed has generated.

This is definitely not justifying Coronavirus but highlighting the deep fissures that have been exposed by it that need to be collectively examined by societies across the globe.

In India, television news channels are milking the virus for TRP (Television Rating Point) by establishing, as laughable as it may sound, ‘Corona Labs’.

In these ‘Labs’, our journalists sit, suited-booted, without talking about the grim realities that we are going to face but generate a subtle panic among the viewers.

Maybe this panic is what the masses want but news channels are not entertainment hippodromes featuring races but a window in to the realities of society.

Janta Curfew

A woman in National Capital Region clanging steel plate from her kitchen window, in support of Janta Curfew to ‘protect’ everybody against COVID-19 virus on March 22, 2020. People in India came out of their homes and on their balconies at 5 pm on Sunday to clap, clang utensils and ring bells to express solidarity with support staff and health services. Photo: Partha Protim Sarkar.

Have our news channels done their job with complete honesty and integrity will be a question that will keep lingering for a long time.

Coronavirus pandemic has collided with inequality

As the super-rich and well-to-do stow away themselves in luxury abodes or work from the comfort of their houses, how many of us have truly thought about that garbage collector who every morning rings our doors with consistent and conscientious regularity, or the sweeper who sweeps our roads.

Have you thought what would happen during the monsoons if the gutters are not cleaned? Cleaning gutters still remains a largely human driven exercise as glaringly inhuman as it maybe.

Have we equipped our health workers to care for a substantially ill population? The low-paid group has nowhere to hide.

Uber and Ola drivers, Zomato, Dominos and Amazon delivery force have families to feed and with this uncertainty of lock-down whatever will be their fate.

Have we thought about the Police personnel working day and night to maintain law and order situation while the rich and entitled brats sneak away without proper testing at the airports?

Apparently it is impossible for them to quarantine themselves for 14 days while the lesser privileged junta is ready for an indefinite lock-down period without fully understanding the consequences of it.

Clearly, the rich are acting as a carrier and passing the virus to their underprivileged friends.

Human empathy was long lost. Coronavirus has only exposed this loss. People below the poverty line who suffer from underlying health conditions face a double whammy of health and economic failure.

Coronavirus led Janta Curfew photo by Johny Ghosh

All roads and public places wore a deserted look on March 22, 2020, a Sunday, in response to the nationwide Janta Curfew called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to contain the spread of COVID-19. Business establishments, railway networks and metro services remained closed. Photo: Johny Ghosh.

Prepared to tackle the consequential mental breakdown?

The lock-down is also the beginning of increasing levels of depression and poor mental health which unfortunately will never be addressed as priority.

A malnourished country like ours which is not able to feed hungry bellies of its children will never prioritize mental health of its people.

Hand washing, as per the World Health Organisation’s directives, is the front-line defence that is the most effective way to prevent the spread of disease.

However, that is a problem for more than 163 million people in India who do not have access to clean water, the highest in the world.

In the days to come, will we become the most water-stressed country struggling to cope with the pandemic?

Likes to follow political happenings in India & across the world. Cares for women & children. Concerned about poverty across the continents.