By RK Sinha
On Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given a strong message in his address to the nation by putting 21 days of lockout across the country. It is “n bhuto n bhavishyati” means it neither happened in the past nor will happen in future. But, this message was very sensible and also absolutely indispensable for the country. In all humility, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the masses to maintain restraint for another 21 days. He is the first Prime Minister of the country to have taken such strict steps in view of the welfare and sentiments of the entire 130 crore people in this hour of crisis. Further, he expressed the strong feelings that still if we failed to learn from the experiences of other countries and people continued to behave negligently for the next 21 days, the country would lag behind by 21 years.
His words carry weight. When this epidemic spread to Italy, Spain and America, they had also the option to lock down like China. Perhaps they may have been in the misconception, in the words of the Italian Prime Minister, that they have enough medical resources available to deal with this problem and the decision of the lockdown will only make the people of the country feel that the general public is being intimidated. However, the result of not deciding for the lockdown in Italy was that there was no one left to carry corpses of the kins and the army is forced to carry the dead bodies in trucks to the far off places to bury them, which is clear from the reports being shown daily on television channels.
Spain is another country to pass through the same situation. The beautiful country has been so badly affected by the terrible outbreak of Corona that it seems like the whole country has been shattered. Despite all the state-of-the-art facilities in America, the situation there is getting out of control as every day many of our close relatives are calling from America saying that India’s situation is far better than America.
During his address to the Nation, Modi ji very well explained that the only way to fight the corona is to break the growing chain of infection. Because, if a person is infected for any reason and if he keeps roaming in the society, he can infect hundreds of people knowingly or unknowingly. India is a densely populated country as compared to Europe and America. So if we failed to break the chain of infection and continued meeting each other, the infection will spread more rapidly.
The Prime Minister explained through the data that it took 67 days for the number of infected persons in the world to reach one lakh. However, it took only 11 days to reach 1 lakh to 2 lakhs, and yet only 4 days to reach 2 lakhs to 3 lakhs. The speed being such, the most sought after endeavour will be to prevent infection from spreading at all costs.
Therefore, this 21-day historic lockout is welcome. This had never happened before in the world and God forbid that it should happen in future also. Initially everything was fine in our country
When this infection initially spread in Wuhan, China, we immediately brought our Indian citizens from there and also those trapped in nearby countries Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives. They all were placed in an isolation camp at ITBP near Gurgaon where they recovered after 14 days. However, the lapse occurred when not all passengers arriving on international flights were strictly put into isolation. Domestic and foreign travelers coming from all international flights who were coming to India should have been strictly sent to isolation camp.
But, our airport staff only examined their fever and left them on seeing the normal health. It was not fair. This is where we missed because, Prime Minister Modi himself said that the symptoms of infection did not come immediately even in an infected person. It may take 4 to 5 days for symptoms to emerge and sometimes even after 10 days. In such a situation, the decision that international travelers should be allowed to go to their homes was the biggest mistake. Due to which the virus spread rapidly in other parts of the country, especially in the cities of Kerala and Maharashtra. Now even West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa are no longer untouched by this infection.
After March 24 nationwide lock down, the number of critics did not go less. Even now they are talking different kinds of things. They say the economy will be affected by this lockdown. Oh brother, when there is life, then there is the world. They say that 21 days is too much.
People previously did not have time for home, children and when asked to stay at home, it became a problem for them. At first there was no time for children-wife. Now they are getting bored of spending time with family. It is also being said that what will happen to the poor laborers now? I want to ask a question to these people who are shedding crocodile tears for poor labourers, when these poor people of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa go to work in those developed states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat etc, do they not go to their native places to celebrate Dushehra, Bhai Dooj and Chhath.
Whether the Nepali labourers do not go to their native places to celebrate Dushehra. Yes, they all do go there every year and do not returns in less than 3-4 weeks. They don’t mind it. The critics must understand that it is an epidemic that can swallow the lives of lakhs of people if goes uncontrolled.
The public should not care about these critics. When the country has trusted Modi, everyone should unite and follow him in the hour of crisis. Come, proceed according to our Prime Minister and his guidelines.
(The writer is senior editor and columnist)