Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Guest column: Trust, faith and the coronavirus

The gullible and the cunning, a dangerous cocktail

There`s a 2008 song by the ironically named Killers that rather cryptically asks: are we human or are we dancer?

I`d like to tweak those words and ask: are we gullible or are we cunning?

Well, do look at the evidence I put before you.

One idiot  MP touts cow urine one day, is airlifted to AIIMs with possible Covid the next. But the populace will drink that liquid. A second idiot urges people to rub cowdung over their bodies,  and the people do that, too. A third  idiot states that  the virus too, has a right to live. Which the virus immediately takes as tacit encouragement.

The orange-robed man from Haridwar scoffs at allopathic medicos while plugging his own pill to prevent Covid. The IMA reacts angrily. Then he  proudly proclaims that no one`s father has the guts to arrest him, and  announces that he plans to convert a thousand allopathic doctors to Ayurveda, so there. He`s still spewing, so watch this space.

Coronamma shrines are popping  up across the country. A mobile havan goes from village to village in Punjab to cleanse the environment and kill the virus; unfortunately, they don`t carry vaccine vials with them. In an AP village,  a herbal concoction has people stampeding for it; those who consume the paste say no to masking and vaccines. A priest in Karnataka calls for the sacrifice of one hundred  sheep to ward off the virus.

Blood donation recipients are now specifying that they will accept only the blood of the same caste, community, gotra.  Vaccine hesitation still sweeps across the country. Meanwhile, our leaders shed tears, a clear indication that they do not know what to do, besides building themselves new vistas and residences.

Things start to touch ludicrous heights when a rebuttal to what international publications like Lancet said about India`s mishandling of the pandemic is immediately issued …. with a cat as user`s dp pic. Go figure.

The cruelties begin anew. Doctors are being attacked again, Covid patients and ASHA workers are pelted with stones. A woman denied a hospital bed delivers standing on the road outside the hospital, the baby falls to the concrete ground and dies. In UP,  the owner of a private hospital  runs a drill where he gets the oxygen supply switched for five minutes to see how many Covid patients can withstand that and survive.

And then, the thing we can never unsee: alongside the Ganga in UP, shallow graves are dug for unidentified Covid victims. Then the shrouds that provide a  flimsy cover for them are  removed so that the bodies would not be visible to aerial cameras.

This mix of the crafty and the gullible is one dangerous cocktail indeed.

This appeared in the Sunday Express magazine of 20 June 2021.

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blind faithblind trustguest columnSunday Expressthe craftythe credulousThe New Sunday Express MagazineTNIE

Sheila Kumar • June 20, 2021

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