“Imagine waking up in the morning with a sore throat, your body burning with fever. You cannot smell the morning blossom. Your grandmother prepares a kaadha to fix the situation. You drink the mixture in a single sip, without any sense of taste on your palate. The fever subsides and you can now finally sleep till the sun climbs up the sky.”
Fast forward to the year 2020.
Imagine a similar situation.
The same level of mercury in the thermometer, the same feeling of soreness, leaving you anosmic. Your grandmother isn’t present around to prepare the magical potion. You panic. You might be affected by the not-so-novel coronavirus.
The single-celled coronavirus has been making a lot of buzz in the media recently. The virus, scientifically called SARS-CoV2 has affected more than 3.5 lakh people globally with more than 15000 succumbing to the illness. Thus, the entire world, having faced a medical challenge of unprecedented scale, is in an indescribable state of terror and fear. Who would have thought that a tiny microorganism could affect the lives of billions of people and not in a good way!
The SARS-CoV2 virus has its origin in the Chinese city of Wuhan, famous for its seafood markets. Being highly communicable, the virus quickly spread its legs across all six continents except Antarctica. World Health Organisation, the global watchdog for health standards and related safety levels, after a series of high-level meetings with the representatives of member nations, declared the coronavirus spread as a pandemic.
The biological source of the virus hasn’t been traced yet with surety but scientists across the globe claim that the present scenario is a consequence of unhygienic food practices of the people of the area where the virus first appeared. News channels and social-media, surrounded with all the negativity and pessimism this virus has brought with itself, play the blame-game day and night.
What needs to be understood is that the damage is done. The next step now is to focus upon the containment of virus spread.
The Indian Government, if not successfully, has carried out all the needed steps required to limit the virus spread and is continuing to do so. To prevent the spread of the virus through community transmission, the Prime Minister of India called for a Janata Curfew, with the Democratic fervour of the movement being ‘for the people and by the people’. The movement could not restrict all the Indian citizens to their homes but more necessarily provided the required momentum to build upon the practice of self-isolation and quarantine to limit the virus spread. Consequently, more than 75 cities across 22 Indian states are currently under lockdown till March 31.
On the regional front, the Prime Minister put an end to a long moratarium on SAARC and mobilised it’s members for mutual cooperation in these testing times.
The atmosphere, however gloomy it might seem to be, always has a brighter side to it. In times of distress such as these, we, the people, being the most intellectual of all the 8.7 million species on planet Earth should utilize this duration to ponder upon what went wrong?
For the sake of proving the superiority of one’s nation, fueled with a sense of chauvinism, man has destroyed the environment and taken the gifts of Mother Nature for granted.
It is high time we realise the need to put a brake on this exploiting-expedition. In this race to prove oneself better than the rest, we forgot to respect the integrity of other species of this planet. Man and his society forgot the interdependence we have with other elements of nature. The Gulf is busy fighting a war, a peace deal was signed in Afghanistan, the economy is in shambles-oil prices being lowered like never before with stock markets crashing every day and here we are, facing a pandemic without any tangible cure. It is evident that threats such as these clearly rule out international boundaries and affect one and all, alike. The Indian philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ can help us fight this threat that looms at large.
The outbreak may be nature’s call to mankind to finally realise his folly. Without humans bustling on the streets, nature seems to be healing itself. The nitrogen dioxide concentrations over Wuhan reduced drastically over the quarantine period, a clear indicator of the way nature heals itself.
As you spend your days, locked in your homes, now is the time to appreciate the simple things in life. The ideology of resolve and restraint should be practiced to prevent community spread of the virus.
Together, we shall overcome this virus and make our way forward, in unison with Mother Earth.
– Anshul Kumar Mishra
– Department of Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2017