Date :26-Mar-2020

THE period of three weeks of extended lock-down across the country will pass quickly, if all of us stay indoors happily and also with a sense of duty -- towards ourselves and towards the larger human community in India and in the world. For, when there is a well-set goal, well-defined method and manner of doing things, and the innate interest in common good, staying indoors for three weeks would not be impossible. Much to the contrary, when we are aware that effective social distancing is the only known tool to combat coronavirus, and when there is no other method of tackling the challenge, staying indoors should not pose a big problem. For, when the whole nation is locked indoors, there is nothing else anybody can do. Going by the call of the hour, it is fathomable that the period of three weeks should not be too long for us to endure. For our own good, we must pass the muster.
Everybody could read the transparent honesty in Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s facial as well as verbal expression. With eyes almost moist, he folded his hands in Namaste and urged all of us to take his words seriously. ‘Your one word out of your home may become the cause of the disease to walk in’, he cautioned. His tone and tenor were good enough to convince the nation -- and the world -- that he is one of those rare leaders whose integrity is beyond question.
Of course, in a nation of 130 crore people, there are bound to be some smart Alecs who will think differently -- and bring trouble to the society because of their brazen rejection of common sense. Thankfully, the administration appears to be dealing with such elements with a lot of firmness -- which is welcome, given the overall need of the moment. In a couple of days, most such brazen elements are expected to learn right lessons and fall in line quickly -- in larger national interest. Never had a Prime Minister addressed the nation in such a quick succession on a single issue. But the Prime Minister found it fit to do so because he could not possibly hand over that task to some one else. That is the mark of true leadership -- of taking the lead, of forging ahead to do the needful, and of taking the full responsibility of the action the moment called for.
Even as India braces herself to the next stages of the fight against coronavirus, traces of good news, too, are coming from the laboratories the world over, where scientists are engaged in a race against time to come up with a solution to coronavirus. Some have claimed success in isolating the problem and have offered a possible solution as a wonder drug. Clinical trials, statistical analyses, sample-testing etc may take some time.
All the news from the world’s labs, however, is bringing cheer to countless millions of people across the international landscape. For, through those pieces of information peeps out a bright ray of hope that fairly quickly science is about to come out with a proper response to the challenge of the deadly disease. But more important than the possible medicine or injection is the social medicine -- distancing, at least for now, as the Prime Minister asserted. He said, in effect, that the people should take the lock-down almost as a curfew though not by official definition.
By stating that, Mr. Modi was only underlining the importance of strict but voluntary social distancing by staying indoors. If the Government finds that the people are taking too many liberties, stricter instructions may follow, making things far more difficult for the people. It is against this background that the people should understand their responsibility and conduct themselves with a sense of discipline. Each one of us must realise that we are passing through a period of global emergency and must extend fullest cooperation to the official efforts -- beyond politics, beyond pettiness and looseness.