By Zile Singh – Ambassador (Retd.)
“Yesterday is gone, Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin ‘an introspection’. – St. Mother Teresa.
COVID-19 is a ruthless hard taskmaster. It is a Master because it has taught a lesson to the whole world across political, economic, social and religious spectra. It has earned the title of “Pandemic” from the World Health Organization, one of the most important agencies of the United Nations. Matters are discussed, debated and voted in this World Forum, but hardly any other issue was approved with such a unanimity as COVID-19 was declared a Pandemic. After seeing its ferocity as the time passed, voices have been raised why the decision to declare Coronavirus a ‘pandemic’ was delayed by WHO? Such an enormous has been its impact that it surpassed all other titles of notoriety. When it attacks, it is feetless and faceless with no rhythm and no symptom. Never in human history, countries and human beings have come so close emotionally to each other than today to find a redress from the havoc played by it. Trillions of dollars have been budgeted world-wide to find its cure and give a hand to the needy and sufferers. On the other hand, so ruthless is its nature that it has separated human beings physically from each other as never before.
So far, no one has been able to comprehend its origin. The two main reasons maybe:-
Is it a Wuhan originated animals’ market throttle ?
Or a ‘ghost’ inadvertently escaped from a lab bottle?
These questions are bothering the international community day in and day out. A blame game between two super powers has been unleashed.
COVID-19 has evidently proved that it cannot be restricted within the boundaries of nations, political systems, high or low status, eastern or western cultures, race, gender or religion. It is neither capitalist nor the communist. It has taken into its grip persons of all countries, all political systems whether it is dictatorship or democracy; presidential or parliamentary forms of governments; a Prince, the would-be Heir to the Throne, a Princess or a slum dweller; a city in India or a city in the US, China, Italy or Spain; a singer in India or the Chancellor of Germany; or be it a Prime Minister or the wife of another Prime Minister. It has levelled all fields irrespective of Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh beliefs. The Pope and the Priests could not close the doors of the churches, temples, mosques and gurdwaras to avoid its attack unannounced and without any symptoms initially. It is such an undisputed brute force that all prayers and scriptures have kneeled down before it. Religious places as well as places of entertainments have become deserted. It is a universal and secular demon in its activities. A mad race that a particular tradition, way of living, food habits including urine therapy and social etiquettes were the best suited to ward off such infectious pandemic like Corona will lead nowhere except to a doom. Such claims, supported by references from the scriptures have become a laughing stock as against medical and scientific approach. Very sadly, a 70-year old Priest died of Corona in Punjab leaving thousands infected and many dead including members of his own family. Coronovirus has exposed the reality of a world without work.
As per some comments in the irresponsible social media, a sense of doubt has taken roots in some individuals minds that they are hesitant, for fear of contamination, to use the medical supplies donated by a specific country to Canada. They suspect that such donations have been sent with some ill intention. Such rumours are not healthy neither in public nor in bilateral interests.
In the context of our introspection on this moment:
Tomorrow’s fate, though you are wise,
You cannot tell, nor yet surmise;
Pass, therefore, not today in vain,
For it will never come again.
We have to take precautions today. A small laxity today can lead to huge loss of cash and kind. If we can become aware of the moments as they flow by, focusing our attention on just that is required now we can control COVID-19 to a greater extent. We have to be vigilant regarding misinformation and propaganda through television and social media spreading superstition, medical hoaxes and rumours etc. Banging pots and pans is not going to send ‘vibes’ to Corona. Contrary to it, we have to reinforce our belief in real news and in sound advice by medical experts and healthy decisions by the leadership in our personal, national and international interests.
Today, midnight, I was woken up in my dream,
Someone was measuring distance on our bed.
People have started living in fear and paranoid,
Will we be cremated not by our own, when dead?
Zile Singh is much respected Link Columnist, writer, a Vipassana Meditator and has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Rights. He can be reached at [email protected]