This is for the attention of all those ignoramuses, presstitutes, know alls who think it is their business to only ask questions, tukde tukde gangs, mercenaries and those jealous of Sri Narendra Modi's handling of a pandemic that has devasted the lives of millions all over the world during the last one year plus:
Firstly, as per the Indian Constitution and division of labor between Union Government and the States, health is a state subject with provision for the Union Govt to intervene in emergencies. And that is what NaMo led govt did in Mar 2020 by declaring a lock down which went on for more than 2 months.
During this time, the seriousness of the problem and how it must be handled- using mask, social distancing and hand washing- had been driven home thoroughly.
Those who were employing migrant laborer were directed to look after them for some time and states were directed to ensure that no large-scale reverse migration took place.
The states failed miserably on both counts. In fact, the Delhi Government had, reportedly, displaced the laborer by spreading false information that buses were waiting for them in UP border to take them back home.
This was followed by the largest migration after the one following independence. But people rose to the occasion and all along the route these trekking masses were looked after by NGOs and resident welfare association and except, maybe for stray cases, no serious law and order problems, like rioting, were reported.
While lakhs died even in the land touted as the best in the whole world, in terms of infrastructure, health care (where even communist leaders from India flock to) and economy, and there was chaos all over, India, with its forever-developing nation status and where poverty line had been defined as an income of less than Rs 30/- per day, stood as an example of success.
India is the only country that used its national carrier, Air India, and air force and navy to bring home its people from every corner of the world. During the process it had even brought home citizens of neighboring countries, including Pakistan, from those places.
During those days, even the President of the USA had directly called our Prime Minister for help with medical aid like Hydroxychloroquine and had been obliged. Our own facilities for producing masks, sanitizers, PPE kits, oxygen concentrators etc had been ramped up and we had started exporting these to those countries who needed them
Gradually, the states were empowered to take on and at least in Kerala, the delegation had been to the level of District Collectors, to declare containment zones when needed and enforce protocols. Even now, the Union Government is ensuring that a certain minimum ration of food grains is being given to almost the whole population free of cost. And some cash, directly to the accounts of those below poverty line.
But statistics prove that some of the states acted as renegades. During the early part of this year, we had just a handful of states contributing more than 50 percent of the infection at the national level.
There were two mass agitations in and around the national capital, which were unwarranted and purely motivated by treachery. Even the courts, instead of ensuring that the laws laid down by itself, like banning blocking of roads, were complied with, opted to send interlocutors to those agitating against CAA and formed a committee to deal with the middlemen, posing as farmers, for repealing three laws enacted to help the farm sector. It is important to note that the agitators were demanding nothing less than the repeal of these laws and they were not even prepared to participate in any dialogue with this committee.
China, who had set the Wuhan virus on the world, even tried to militarily occupy Indian territory in Galwan when the nation was fighting the virus, with all the resources at its command, body, mind and soul. The Chinese had to retreat with a bloody nose.
On the sides, efforts were also on to develop vaccines, independently and in collaboration. Both were successful. But again, politicians with ulterior motives spread canards and even declared that they will not use, or allow to be used, the vaccines which were sarcastically called Modi vaccines. And when vaccine roll out began many doses that could have saved thousands of lives were wasted.
Even when the roll out was gathering momentum, the Union Government ensured that it provided vaccine to front line workers of many countries, including developed ones like Canada.
Almost around the same time a few countries like the USA and Russia (apart from China from where the virus was leaked) had also brought out their own vaccines. They have also been rolled out only under Emergency Use provisions, as in India.
Meanwhile there was regime change in the USA. Trump gave way to Biden. And one of his first acts was to ban the export of raw materials required for producing the vaccines.
In early April this year, Gita Gopinath, the Indian American economist who has been the Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund since 2019, had even commented that India had overcome the pandemic and was on the road to economic growth.
Then suddenly a more virulent variation of the virus, at the root of the pandemic, struck India. And shockingly, India alone, not even its neighbors appear to have been afflicted with this strain. Though, even now, the mortality rate per lakh or million of the population, is still in favor of India, its infrastructure and resources have been stretched. And the ones to whom this message is addressed, hit the panic button. Photos of burning pyres, choked hospitals were published freely in local media and even, reportedly, sold to foreign media. It required a media in Australia to expose these detestable acts (https://www.theaustraliatoday.com.au/besides-covid-19-india-is-also-fighting-with-vulture-journalists-who-are-spreading-more-panic-and-despair-than-pandemic/).
Of course, hoarding, black marketing, spurious products are all happening as is usual in this country. But who was that great Prime Minister who brushed aside the issue of corruption as a global phenomenon? Not Narendra Damodardas Modi, for sure.
The other day the Delhi High Court had asked Aravind Kejriwal headed Govt of the National Capital Region to inform it of the date by which a hospital, due to be completed in Mar 2020, would be completed. Earlier, his failure to establish oxygen plants, for which the Union Govt had allotted funds as early as in December 2020, had also been exposed in a court of law. He has now promised to set up 44 oxygen plants in one month. The sordid saga does not end there. This government had also been exposed for stating on affidavit that only 2500 vials of Remdesivir had been received against an actual 52,000 vials delivered.
Interestingly, Kejriwal government which had once ordered that only Delhi patients would be treated in Delhi hospitals had reserved 100 rooms in a 5-star hotel as Covid treatment center for judicial officers of the Delhi High Court. Fortunately, the court did not bite the bait. But nothing is known whether the reservation has been cancelled or not, how much of tax payers' money has been paid or whether it is being used as a facility open to the public or not.
The story is not much different in Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab and Chattisgarh, which contribute to more than 50 % of the Covid cases in the country. Again, it needed a foreign media to bring out the facts. Many questions raised by Modi's detractors, like elections rallies, Kumbh mela and Central Vista Project, have been logically and factually answered by a reporter for Gulfnews. (https://gulfnews.com/opinion/op-eds/covid-19-second-wave-and-india--the-questions-and-answers-1.79153360)
There is a popular saying in my part of the country that if you enter a police station with your right foot first (considered auspicious) you will be asked whether you have come to make it your home and if you enter with your left foot forward (considered ominous) you will be asked if you have to ruin it. So, it seems with the government led by Narendra Modi. Do it, you are wrong; don't do it and you are still wrong.
Having said that I must state that I am no fan of Modi. I do not indulge in hero worship either. But I do honestly believe that Narendra Modi being the Prime Minister of India is the best thing that happened to her post 1947. Lal Bahadur Sastri died an unnatural death after a short stint, making way for Nehru's daughter Indira Gandi. P V Narasimha Rao did a good job in pulling out the nation from an abyss of economic disaster, but he was hounded by his own party, faced 3 unproven scam related charges and on death, his body was not even allowed to be taken to the party office. Atal Bihari Vajpayee just survived for a full tenure plus.
Now, it is almost like India got freedom in 2014 only. But Narendra Modi is not God incarnate nor does he have a magic wand. He is still at the mercy of babus and judges who have no accountability to their real masters, the citizens. But that is the gift of our Constitution which, I believe, needs to be rewritten to meet the challenges of a democratic society and fulfill its aspirations.
Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.
P M Ravindran
16 May 2021