By Syed Qamar Hasan
Hyderabad: COVID-19 pandemic has taken the Mickey out of the most arrogant and bullying nations. As deaths by this lethal pandemic grow in numbers by the day across the globe, governments are enforcing lockdowns of cities and towns forcing life and commerce to a halt.
In India the lockdown announced on March 24th at a short notice of few hours changed life for the millions of Indians. The most adversely affected were the thousands and thousands of poor and hapless migrant workers who run the humblest of services for big businesses and provide for roadside commerce. To date, thousands and thousands of them are stranded or lodged in makeshift camps awaiting proper transport to their home towns.
The silver lining, to the gloom and despair, is the intrepidity inherent in humans that surfaced during the last few weeks especially from the medical fraternity of doctors, nurses, and paramedics who have relentlessly given the most cherished of their duty hours and family time to nurse the COVID-19 patients. And unfortunately many have lost their lives nursing them, becoming martyrs.
It is said the North Sea made the Vikings. COVID-19 pandemic has also its heroes and heroines and villains and molls. Who would have ever thought a woman would ride a scooter 1,400 Km all by herself braving the hazardous of Highway traffic to rescue her son who was stranded miles away in a distant town due to the lockdown Razia Begum mother of three grown-up children threw caution to the winds and rode out lonely night and day to bring back her son home.
A 20-year-old youth caught up in the lockdown in the state of Maharashtra overwhelmed by love for home abandoned business took a rickety bicycle and peddled 1700 km to be home with his family in the state of Odhisa. Travelling across four states when Mahesh Jena reached his home after 7 weeks of gruesome peddling he was turned away by the selfish villagers who refused him entry suspecting him of being COVID -19 infected and instead handed him over to the district administration to be quarantined.
The flip side to the COVID-19 is troubling and spiralling out of control as more and more individuals and communities in Hyderabad and its suburbs are taking the law into their hands and preventing people from returning to home after being found negative and discharged from hospitals and quarantine centres.
According to reports in many localities in the city neighbours are no more neighbourly but have become total strangers showing any sympathy and humanness refusing those who had been taken for tests and returned after being found negative.
Elders of the community expressing their regret and disapproval of such selfishness that goes against the spirit of cooperation, brotherhood and good neighbourliness especially in such critical time have appealed to the Chief Minister, Police Commissioner, Health Authorities and religious scholars to stop such behaviour and dispel fears that negative and properly cured persons can be carriers of the virus.
Syed Qamar Hasan