History repeats itself! Almost exactly a hundred years ago, over twenty-five million people died across the globe, in the Spanish Flu epidemic (February 1818 – April 1920). Pandemic conditions are not new to us. Three thousand years ago, according to the Torah and the Old Testament, Moses, after murdering an Egyptian guard, demanded of Pharaoh Ramses I: ‘Let my people go!’ who ignored the request. So God, who was keeping vigil over the Jewish people, although, poignantly, he allowed them to be delivered to slavery in the first place, sent across the first known Corona- 19 viruses which, selectively, left the children of Abraham safe, while decimating the others- including the Pharaoh’s firstborn son!
We have been, periodically, visited by many other plagues, mostly of our creation and continuing abuse of Mother Nature, including the Black Death 1346 – 1353 ); the Third Plague(1855 – 1945 ); Influenza (1957–1958 ); Swine Flu (2009 – 2010); Hong Kong Flu (1968 – 1969); West African Ebola. (2013 – 2016) and the, fairly recent, SARS outbreak, bringing to mind 18th-century British philosopher and economist, Thomas Malthus, who was noted for the Malthusian Growth Model, which was an exponential formula used to project population growth. The theory stated that food production will not be able to keep up with growth in the human population, resulting in disease, famines, wars, natural calamities – and, of course, pandemics! It is Mother Nature’s way of not only rapping us severely on the knuckles for the harm we have done to her – and ourselves- including to other beings who share our planet, but to cull the growing human population.
In India, through the ages, and especially in recent times, we have always held that although all are equal, some are more equal than others! But matters have now come to a head in this summer of 2021, which many may not survive. Politicians have always had double; even triple or more, standards because ‘votes’ are synonymous with the Chair and, hence, with power. Religion forms the plinth of our existence and beliefs, however absurd and hazardous they may be. The mammoth gathering at the recent ‘Kumbh Mela’ is one such example. Lock-downs galore are in process, sabotaging the country’s economy and driving the people to penury and starvation. Paradoxically, there seems no let-up in political rallies, of all hues, which not only exemplifies our hypocrisy but also is among the main reasons for India topping the International list of pandemic positive cases – and deaths – which no vaccine or prayers can overcome. Maybe, like lemmings, we are also suicidal!
Safeguards against the Corona 19 contagion are many. The first of which is to switch off the News channels on television and also to delete, at once, or block such messages and ‘Gyan’ (knowledge). Ralph Waldo Emerson had said “What lies before us and what lies behind us, are tiny matters when compared to what lies within us”. Also to cite Theodore Roosevelt
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!”
I am in no position to give advice, having danced to my own beat all my life. But my suggestion is, stay at home. Have a drink or three of rum, with hot water and a twist of lime, every evening before dinner. Read a good book; shut out the world and the negativity around, to survive the summer of 2021 with dignity and hope.
Author: AMIT KUMAR BHOWMIK
Amit Kumar Bhowmik is a lawyer based in Pune. He has his practice including in the Bombay High court as also other High courts as well as he appears as Counsel in the Supreme court. Although essentially having his practise on the criminal side he is an all-rounder having taken up matters in the matrimonial courts as well. He is a prolific writer and an unabashed champion of women rights.
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