The protest held on Monday by the state unit of the Congress in Dehradun, to support the party’s cause in Rajasthan, was an example of how little sense of responsibility there is among people regarding the Corona pandemic. All norms of social distancing were abandoned as they wrestled with the police. Most protestors did not have their face masks properly in place. Like earlier ‘leaks’ during the lockdown, this could be one of the events that might speed up spread of the pandemic.
When pontificating about the public good, such politicians can make a lot of grandiose claims, but when it comes to practice, they are downright anti-social. Uttarakhand is at a very crucial point in the fight against COVID-19, with the rise in cases presently within controllable limits. It is important that everybody contributes to adopting a disciplined lifestyle that makes the curve dip so that important sections of the economy can be got going, such as tourism and the hotel industry. Schools and colleges have to reopen, but if everyone puts the immediate interest first rather than that of society, it will not happen. As in so many things, the performance of duty is being left to the other person. If, as some people are demanding, even the weekend lockdown is done away with, people will abandon even the few precautions they are taking at present. As a consequence the deaths will continue and those tasked with fighting the pandemic will have to risk their lives for much longer than absolutely necessary.
It is a fact that India’s response to the pandemic has been much better than that of many better off countries, mostly because the right decisions were taken at the right time. However, as time has passed, India’s many shortcomings, as a developing and by nature chaotic nation, have begun to manifest themselves. Some states are doing better than others, as are some local administrations. While it was thought appropriate to book a goat in Kanpur for not wearing a mask, action is awaited against the senior politicians who defied the norms on Monday. It would have been good if they had all been sent on two weeks of quarantine to prevent spread of the virus, and also to teach them a valuable lesson. Uttarakhandis pride themselves on being civilised and cultured – they really should exhibit these traits when it really counts.