From the Viewsroom

We, the irresponsible people

Poornima Joshi | Updated on April 18, 2021

Individually, Indians have shown scant regard for Covid-19 norms

Never has the trope of us “deserving the government we get” been truer than in the past weeks when the Covid-19 pandemic surged to its highest peak thus far. Besides the multitudes thronging the ghats of the Ganga in Haridwar and milling around in election rallies which politicians obligingly pay us to attend, the near absence of individual responsibility in adhering to Covid-19 norms shows a collective complicity in bringing this nightmare upon us.

Apart from a false sense of bravado or perhaps the mythical belief of the Yaksha Prashna variety in our own immortality, what explains the full flow of the marriage season in these dark times? We are happily socialising, going about daily business as if the deadly virus with about 17 per cent positivity rate is not infecting over 2.6 lakh Indians every day. In Delhi, the police are struggling to prevent people from breaking the weekend curfew norms or, worse still, getting them to wear their masks. On Saturday alone, according to the Delhi police, 363 FIRs and 2432 challans were filed and 164 people arrested for defying curfew norms. People lied about suffering from Covid-19 and attributed their being out to “getting treatment” with no documents to show for it.

A rickshaw-puller, daily-wager or a vegetable vendor may not have the luxury of ‘work from home’ but such justifications are surely not available for those loitering about mask-less or rushing off to buy liquor for a weekend treat. Has a thought been spared here for the health workers straining to cater to their burgeoning workload without a break since the start of the pandemic last year? According to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), 747 doctors have died of Covid-19 in the line of duty. Must we add to their burden because we cannot remain indoors for two days? What possible alternative remains for breaking the chain of the spread than imposing a strict lockdown which will strain a reeling economy and start yet another round of mass migration from the cities? And how much can we the people then blame the government?

Published on April 18, 2021

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