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DOs & DON’Ts in the Times of COVID-19

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KARO & KARO-NA

By ALOKE  LAL
The handling of any challenge calls for exceptional efforts by those who are in the eye of the storm. The superhuman hard work, dedication and sacrifices of professionals are noticed at such junctures. In the current crisis caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, we see medical professionals and police forces right in front trying to save lives: one by providing medical attendance, the other by preventing people from multiplying chances of an uptick in positive cases through unwise social gatherings. One can say that on the one hand we as a nation acknowledged our debt to these professionals by publicly clapping and banging thalis, on the other some took out celebratory processions. The latter expression brought out the sordid reality that the realisation of the seriousness of the danger we are grappling with has not yet dawned on some of our fellow citizens. Then we had risen to the call of our PM to light diyas and candles on the 5th this month. Unfortunately even on this day it was a big shock to find that many turned this solemn occasion into a boisterous celebration by indulging in a most avoidable bursting of firecrackers. It clearly showed that we failed to learn a lesson on the first occasion and once again displayed the irresponsible side of our values. It is in this context that I felt relieved that the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on 14 April stuck to the announcement of an extended period of the lock down without any act of a symbolic nature to be performed.

A friend who lives in Kanpur was telling me that there are interior areas where the population density is such that social distancing is a near impossibility. There are on an average four to five occupants in each room of these claustrophobic dwellings. Then, he told me that shops are closed as per order, but there are backdoor transactions taking place. An overworked and grossly under-staffed police can barely man the main roads. The inner roads in many mohallas are being used for showcasing of cricket talents. Gully cricket is common. Gatherings at places for social interactions within these mohallas are also said to be not uncommon.

This is the height of irresponsible behaviour by the citizens. They need to understand that they are putting theirs and lives of hundreds others at risk by this behaviour. The DO to be learned from this is: you are yourself responsible for your well-being and that of so many others, DO find ways to maintain social distancing.

A friend of mine had to recently travel from Naldehra in Himachal Pradesh to Gurugram in Haryana for an urgent medical reason. He sent me a WhatsApp message a couple of days back: “Today I travelled by car from Naldehra to Delhi-NCR. I had to move during lockdown owing to circumstances that do not require recounting. I crossed five states and one UT. I was checked over forty times in my journey of 400 kms. The policemen were all performing their duties uniformly politely and with a sense of purpose. They were in the frontline risking their lives. I am proud that in times of crisis my fraternity is not found wanting. They are discharging a very difficult duty with utmost devotion. A salute to our comrades in uniform!”

Yes, indeed our policemen are doing exemplary duty in these difficult times. This has been acknowledged by people from all walks of life. The DON’Ts that emerge from this are: DON’Tover-state a slip here or a blunder there by these men in uniform; and, please DON’T make their task even more daunting by resisting their just directions. Certainly, do not chop off their hand, as was done in Patiala a couple of days ago.