Another lock down is on cards. The possibility of it as ripe as cherry in the hot summer. One more spring and summer would go either without any rejuvenation or bloom as the pervasive gloom is in the stock of the human lot. Humanity is passing through the toughest times primarily not because of virus but because of hopelessness and collapse of idyllic existence.
The states have their compulsion to curtail human liberty but they have the double responsibility of upholding public trust. As of now, it is eroding like a sinking mass into a huge precipice. The governments of the day call for emergency measures. Life by and large is crippled many ways. With gathering almost banned, schools shut colleges and universities in a virtual mode. Taking up the issue in the global context is too huge a problem because of different context. In an unequivocal argument with one of my friends who has the first hand experience of having lived liberal democratic countries in the west whereas they would believe and the best government is the one that governs least and doesn’t agree that the governments in a liberal democracy can go harsh unnecessarily. And as reports came out, the virility and fatalities are quite on the upper side, due to ageing factor, unlike the medically below par and disadvantaged states of Asia especially India and Pakistan where the bulk is younger. The argument according to some experts might be true. The ageing European population might be at potential risk of getting consumed as quickly as the fire does the thatch yet it is too early to construe if the general masses there have wholeheartedly accepted this curtailment and a sort of clampdown even in their own interests. And this public faith in the daily business of public interest cannot be overlooked by any democracy. Suppose the claim of conspiracy theorist prove to be partly or wholly true who maintain that the life is controlled by some Big Brother; as are the institutions like WHO, who issue health advisory like taking shots in the dark in absence of any definite scientific research or conclusion or law that fairly holds good in all weathers and places. Between these multiplicities of views which a true democracy must truly respect for her own health and public trust the virus has displayed a great uncertainty with place and persons the common man is growing up in many misgivings and they are in no means insignificant. For instance, in our context, our village was the first to be declared a red zone because of a single positive case, the imam sahib of our Jamaia with contact history traced to Nizam mu udin which he refuted while narrating his ordeal and sharing the details of his travel. Nonetheless, he was quarantined for fifty five days. While his close contacts were traced out, sampled and his two brothers and his mother declared positive. Therefore, put an official quarantine for forty odd days. Later on, some more people came out positive. They too were put on quarantine but the duration was reduced to fourteen days, further reduced to two days. Then, instead of official quarantine to home. While all this happened, the village was sealed in, barricaded, the movement in and out banned. In fact, it looked like a microcosm of ‘Wuhan’ while the virus first broke out or leaked (sic).With sirens of ambulance blowing like trumpet bells of war, the drone hovering over heads like the sword of domiciles, the air thick, the atmosphere like a dull network of frozen air, with the spring breeze enchained and the vehicle from the district making rounds and deadly announcement like the unwanted advice that comes as insult to the injury.
Life had a little hope of possibility of resuscitation and normalization as the people virtually set for funerals of the dear ones who had been declared positive. Such was the ghost of fear that vegetables were kept to 45 minute sun shine before put inside the gridiron or Cookers.
However, there was an anticlimax with the release of quarantine prisoners. Not only did the hope come back as the narrative from the very mouth of the infected helped to kill the ghost. Without any medication they had enjoyed good health. So the possibility of life amidst the virus turned brighter. People dangerously flaunted the reports about the fatality of viruses as either manufactured or absolutely farce. Even, the statistics about the deaths were taken skeptically with fingers crossed about who exactly met their end purely because of virus not by what the doctors called double Pneumonic, or Covid diabetic, hypertensive and Covid etcetera. Between these extreme views and contradictions, life slowly crawled back to normalcy. A kind of herd immunity they call it. As one of my friends explained to me, “you can be positive by eleven and negative by twelve” and got developed like the incarcerated hope. The profitable idea would be to move on irrespective of the virus.
Yet this is not easy going as the curve is showing a phenomenal surge. For a while, let the common man trust the government. The word of advice would be caution and prevention as it is better than cure and that too when there is no formidable cure as of now. However, life can’t be halted, as was not, when for the erection of democratic buildings huge election rallies were permitted. Ironically no one died there or tested positive because the universality of virus could not penetrate there, nor did the virus break the file in the farmer protest or say in the Tulip garden or Badamwari where people mostly travelers are enjoying the pleasant spring unlike the schools and colleges where the cruel spring is on the hunt. So nothing is universal about the virility of virus. Yet it did hit the rich and poor alike, the common man and the celebrity, the prince and the pauper, the public and public figure. In short, so and so. Despite all this and that, the fear of virus got neutralized especially in this part of the world where fear grows under the feet like the grass over the grave.
On the other hand, the government is gearing up to feel the heat of the virus. They may not be truly irrelevant or insincere in their intention. But who is to believe it. In a true democracy it should be backing up the efforts of the government because it is where from it derives power and legitimate authority. It ought not to be done by force but by persuasion. While a certain onus lies on the general public, the government needs to be particular that this erosion of faith in public institutions is deadly.
It would be claptrap to totally ignore the public perspective especially here where there is a series of betrayals. I would as a common man suggest, if the government is too helpless to curb a calamity it must at least ensure peaceful death instead of horrible existence. Otherwise I predict the death of democracy in coming times.
Nasser khan is an Asst. Professor in Higher Education Department and can be reached at Khannaseer1001@gmail.com.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.