Will candlesticks kill Coronavirus?

By Pervez Bari

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, addressing the nation, said that the nation is united in the fight against Coronavirus. To illustrate this, on April 5 at 9 pm, he asked the citizens switch off all lights for nine minutes and light up lamps or torch or cell-phone flashlights. However, ensure that you maintain social distancing while lighting up lamps, he added. Last month, the Prime Minister had addressed the nation twice — on March 19 and March 24.

Despite the first case of Coronavirus in India, found on 30th January, 2020 Prime Minister in February fourth week organised Namaste Trump and gathered around 1,25,000 people, hundreds of US staff many of them might have been infected. It is now history.

Besides this 27 mega events took place in February 2020 mega events went on right under PM’s nose in India. Then it would have had millions and millions of Indians attend the same in addition to foreigners who would have come in for these events. Additionally on a low scale count say 2000 passengers come into India on a daily basis, and then February 2020 would have seen approx. 55,000 India bound Humans, who were not entirely screened. Let us see the list which is as follows:-

1. Surajkund International Crafts mela; 2. Kala Ghoda Arts Festival; 3. Sula Festival; 4. Matho Nagrang Festival; 5. Adoor Gajamela; 6. Udaipur World Music Festival; 7. Alwar Festival; 8. Jaisalmer Desert Festival; 9. Thaipooya Mahotsavam; 10. Mahindra Blues Festival; 11. World Sufi Festival; 12. Shekhawati Heritage Festival; 13. Elephanta Festival; 14. Pariyanampetta Pooram Kattakulam; 15. India Art Festival; 16. Taj Mahotsav; 17. Konark Festival; 18. Natyanjali Dance Festival; 19. Maha Shivratri; 20. Goa Carnival; 21. Losar Festival; 22. Khajuraho Dance Festival; 23. Nagaur Fair; 24. World Sacred Spirit Festival; 25. Deccan Festival & 26. Hampi Festival; 27. Def Expo 2020 at Lucknow.

It seems Mr. Modi has been consulting some mumbo-jumbo man – – some Jadoo-Tona Baba. And he has been advising Mr. Modi on how to mass hypnotize and how to break resistance of the masses so they would follow you blindly. So, Modi-Shah can continue to take arbitrary decisions, even non-Constitutional ones, and nobody will ask questions. I don’t know what else can explain the belief of killing Coronavirus with candlesticks.

Battle Plans

Battle Plan 1.0 was clatter of pots, pans & bells in the Covid-19 war, now the Great PM Narendra Modi will do Battle Plan 2.0 of Diyas, LED lights at 9 PM Sunday with 65 Billion lumens light, fire blinding light and heat to burn the evil Covid-19 into ashes. Battle Plan 3.0 we have to wait may be a Dragon dance with an item song or two played to Dandiya tunes. Sadly, we the people of India have baptized the wrong person to lead India. Masks, vaccines, medicines, ventilators, PPEs, test kits, essentials, and jobs etc. can wait to be listed in the next manifesto of General Elections 2024. GDP has been brought to a halt and will grow at a zillion percent and then “we will be the fastest growing major economy”!  

Has this PM nothing to do except drama? Rather than handling serious issues, he just wants drama, to be in the limelight. Lockdown was good decision but proper planning and implementation were the core issues, which he never addressed. One feels sorry for looking up to him as a dynamic person in comparison to other contemporary political leaders. But all he did during the last five years were only dramas. He may have a vision, but he has never been a practical man. He led Gujarat which was already a relatively developed state right from the British days, which implies he is not a modern practical PM. Sorry to say this, but unfortunately, it’s true.

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I can’t understand where we are heading this way. When the whole world is busy in fighting against Covid-19 which has hit them excessively hard and scientists trying to make vaccines we Indians are banging thalis and now this 9 minute candle burning event has popped up. Such a shame that our PM himself is projecting a tarnished image of India in front of the whole world.

By lighting candles and lamps for 9 minutes what will India achieve by highlighting this type of objective? Instead of spending money on candles, lamps and lights, better to donate for the poor and those who are unable to get and earn their daily bread. Now it is time for highlighting the objectives to the One who can listen, care and able to give immediate relief from this Virus.

A farcical sound-and-light show

These are all theatrics, token gestures. What about economic problems which people have to confront on lifting the lockdown? “Leadership is not power and dominance; it is servitude

Our country is being reduced to a farcical sound-and-light show by a man who utterly lacks intellectual substance. In this time of crisis, the worst the world has experienced in a century or more, what is needed immediately is concrete action not symbolisms. And there appears to be a tinge of saffron in some of these symbols too.

The people of India have always shown their collective will to face and counter any national calamity. Whether it was the devastating Tsunami in 2004 or the Global Economic Meltdown in 2008 or the Massive Floods in 2015; the people of India do not need gimmicks to prove their collective will as history of India is proof itself. It is the Govt of Narendra Modi which Failed to act seriously from 20th Jan to 19th Mar – for 60 days – when China had declared total lockdown in Wuhan & South Korea & Hong Kong & Singapore had launched huge nation-wide testing to identify, isolate & treat infected patients. Germany with only 80 million people is testing 100,000 Germans every day to isolate infected patients. Even now the Govt. of Narendra Modi has not launched mass testing. It is Govt of Narendra Modi which must demonstrate its dedication to people of India in Medical Actions to eliminate Coronavirus.

Your abrupt announcement of lockdown disrupted the supply line of farmers products, vegetables, fruits, milk and these perishable items were thrown away by the farmers in the absence of no Mandi, no buyer. You have no idea that back bone of Indian economy are not your billionaires friends, but a huge force of daily workers, who come to city in search of better life but end up in slums and live like rats. And now, they are gone. But you are still busy in your theatrics. Theatrics may earn you few barony points but Mr. Prime Minister this is not going to solve the problem of workers, economy or Coronavirus. 

Mr. Modi once again you are at your best in making empty but attractive rhetorical Speech without substance. Making people fools is the best art you have. Did you explain any concrete measures taken by your Govt. to mitigate the sufferings of poor, migrant labour and working class or did you offer any reliefs to them. The people who lost their living and no place to settle and reside, how can you expect them to have lamps, candles, Mobile flash lights or torch lights Mr. Modi? Will that “Naatak” (Drama of lighting candles, torch lights, mobile flashlights) bring any cheers or reliefs to them Mr. Modi?

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Days in and days out, Indian PM’s speeches, statements, or narrations carries no weight. We already suffered, we are sufferings, and we have to suffer more, just for Union Government’s gross neglect for the country’s health sector. So, don’t give any importance to Indian PM’s good for nothing opinions, rather take care of yourself and your family.

Health expenditure less than 2 pc

India spends less than 2% on health, which was further cut down under this govt. We don’t have enough ventilators, no protective equipment for doctors, very low levels of testing. But yeah, let us citizens engage in symbolism or hating a community and pretend that all our problems are solved.

The country needs more concrete measures to help those who are suffering and have very little help. Those of us inside our homes and in large towns and cities are relatively safe. What about those who are suffering most? What about doing more tests? What about declaring prizes for those who can come up with quicker tests, mass produce quality masks and protective breathing equipments? What about training more people to engage in health care? What about procuring or producing more ventilators? What about building more hospitals on urgent basis? How many testing kits do we have? Which are the companies that have been tasked with making them and other medical equipments that we require? How are we going to deal with our huge population and the lack of health care facilities in the time of a pandemic?

Boosting people’s morale at the time of a global crisis is very important, but that can’t be done by speeches alone. Our PM and his government need to understand that they need to do actual work that shows planning, takes the unique circumstances of our country into account, engages with all sectors. Boost our morale through actual work as well, not merely by addressing the nation once a week! Just as everything else, this pandemic too is being used by our PM to boost his own image and his fan-following. His speeches are not reassuring at all, if anything; it makes people tense, because it’s all noise with no substance. All he has said is – don’t panic, do yoga, bang utensils, and light lamps.

It’s a request to Mr. Modi to stop all (tali, thali bajao or switch off/ on light) drama immediately and also your image making exercises by showing your yoga Asan. You have created theatre of the absurd by announcing abrupt lockdown without thinking about the plight of millions of workers, who were forced to walk hundreds of kilometres to reach in the safety of their homes. You took away their dignity by spraying them with chemicals on the roads as people spray chemicals on cockroaches in their kitchens. Jobless, moneyless, no shelter and ripped off any safety and dignity, beaten by police, they found themselves surviving on the mercy of their sheer collective will power. 

Mr. Modi please stop all your rhetoric and do something positive and tangible to the millions of poor who are suffering due to lockdown and Social Distancing.

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