In a pensive mood of sadistic whim, we may call Covid-19 the dark maestro of maladies. It came, it saw and it won. Now Homo sapiens, the self-styled crown of creations, are housed in their passive solitude to guard themselves against its onslaught.
With the surge in death toll and with its global spread, the shadow of impending doom is far more ominous than any other natural calamity in known history. The only strategy to hinder or at least slow down its transmission is to restrict people to people contact. But it is not without unfavorable ramifications. It has chilling effects on livelihood. Businesses are shut down; unemployment is mounting and the global chain of demand and supply is unsettled.
What should be done now? Things are too serious to wink at. Here man resorts to lockdown; there he cries for economy. Corona kills, so does hunger.
So far, scientific advance falls flat. Prayers too are cutting no ice.
Covid-19 caught man out of the blue. In a jiffy, it shattered his comfort zone. Precise analogy for this virus can be borrowed from fiction. In The Lord of Rings, one ring, the master ring was made in the fires of Mount Doom to control all rings given to elves, dwarf lords and men. The Master Ring endued with evil power must be destroyed. The task was assigned to Frodo, the most unlikely creature for the adventure ahead. But he withstood the trial and destroyed the ring.
Today, in the battle against Covid-19, men with washed-out hands seem to be on the back foot. Are they losing the battle? Yes. Much is already lost. Vaccine or no vaccine, the world isn’t going to be the same place of halls, concerts, stadiums, parks, festivals and festivities. Some activities may be restored but fear will be there like a pointed gadget to bleed and gore the sense of security.
But great American writer, Ernest Hemingway has something to tell us:
‘Courage is grace under pressure’.
Many Frodos have taken the responsibility to save mankind.
In the wake of this calamity, the grace of man wins more glory than ever. Never in history has man shown such unprecedented co-operation. Hostile nations are holding each other’s hands. Russia sent America a big supply of medical aid and so did China. Thousands of best minds in more than 40 countries are trying their best to make vaccines or antiviral drugs. Scores of brave men and women offer their bodies for volunteer tests. Most of the countries have announced to distribute the vaccine, when discovered, free of cost for the entire mankind. No alleged greed or exploitation of any system, be it capitalism or socialism or communism, is witnessed to press for its varsity or supremacy over others.
But more than anything else, today man precisely knows his enemy. Thanks to Science. No naked eye, not even common microscopes could have seen virus unless it were electronic microscope. Today common men on their TV screens can see the shapes of virus. Even a layman understands how virus ails him.
In the past, epidemics were there but the cause was unknown. Lack of awareness in the wake of danger breeds superstitions and superstitions torment more than disease itself.
In 14th century, plague known as Black Death killed 75 to 200 million people in Europe. Man didn’t know its cause, so it was termed as ‘Curse of God’. Jews were killed to please God with no effect. Then cats and dogs were mercilessly butchered. More faith was the battle call to fight off plague but it failed to yield results.
It is just one example. Smallpox was also called Curse of God. In the past, physicians knew nothing about bacteria and viruses. For them, the cause of every disease was excess or deficiency of four humors. Anything not falling in that category was dismissed as disease. It was declared the effect of black magic and ‘treated’ accordingly. Holiness would come into play. So man was hostage to the whims and quirks of divines.
Today, no nation, religion, ideology or moral failing has been accused. Man knows Covid-19 very well; he is waiting for a vaccine. He is sure that sooner or later it will be discovered.
There is, it is true, some blame game between China and America to lob on each other the responsibility of Covid-19 outbreak, but its tone is light. President Trump throws an allegation, only to be countered by the spokesperson of Beijing. But it doesn’t upset the sleep of seven billion people of the world. They know that it is just a time pass. Such light exchanges will not result in anything serious.
Prime Minister Modi tried to hold Muslims responsible for corona spread in India, but it was rejected by the majority of Indians. Thanks to sanity. No communal violence was seen in any part of India. In Pakistan, some traditional folly seemed to breathe… see how Heaven has enforced Veil… protesting aunties will be punished… Kashmir will be liberated…. some divine mantra is needed. But thanks God, now things are normal. All are waiting patiently for medical care.
Superstitions are being exposed. Man’s trust in reason is strengthened. Simple and reasonable mode of life may be adopted at least in the near future. People of the world are beginning to realize that they need more healthcare than missiles and jet fighters. In the past only ‘traitors’ or ‘foreign agents’ used to say such things. But today it is talk of the town. Men in uniform are seen saluting doctors. The death of paramedical staff is termed as martyrdom, and national tragedy.
So, all is not lost.