INDIA’S fight against coronavirus pandemic has reached a critical point as it finds itself perched between Stage II and Stage III of COVID-19. Even though India’s national effort until now have been of exemplary standards, the subsequent efforts will have to be much more disciplined and intensified than ever before. The common people, too, will have to extend much better cooperation to and collaboration with the official efforts so that the country is able to handle the rigours of Stage II and Stage III more capably.
Of course, good signals are available everywhere with the top functionaries of the Government including President, Vice President, Governors, Prime Ministers, Ministers and central lawmakers agreeing for voluntary pay-cuts so that enough embellishment is available for funds to fight the pandemic. This is certainly a good move that would not just fatten the funds to an extent but also boost popular morale. For, when the people in leadership positions are willing to make sacrifices for a larger cause, then the common people, too, realise that seriousness of the situation and become better partners in the overall efforts to quell a national calamity. Let us hope that the common people draw a right lesson from this major leadership action.
It is not possible to predict at this stage the fate of the current lock-down. However, signs are available on the ground that the Government may have to give a deep and serious thought to the next move after April 14 when the 21-day period of the current lock-down is to end. One of the most critical worrying points will be the rush of people outdoor once the lock-down is withdrawn, howsoever in a staggered manner. With ugly signs of community transmission of coronavirus visible on the scene, any decision as regards watering down of the current restrictions on people’s movement will require a lot of in-depth consideration with a long-term strategy of a continued fight-back.
Any decision in this regard will certainly test people’s patience and their ability to endure social distancing for an extended period. This possibility will invite a greater leadership-involvement in winning over common people’s support in the future action of whatever nature. But then, there are the situational imperatives that the country will have to endure as the fight against the pandemic gets intensified all the more. It must be asserted at this point that until now, the common people have conducted themselves in an exemplary manner, no matter the exceptional violations of the public code. Most fortunately, the people have understood correctly the rightness of the leadership’s thought and action. That is the reason why they have rejected any politically-driven doubts by vested interests about the integrity of the national leadership. A similar article of faith will have to be maintained between the Government and the people from this stage on.
The most important aspect of the ensuing challenge will be its growing intensity which the nation will have to cope with. In those conditions, the only watch-word will be restraint at all levels -- of emotion, of action, of popular response to whatever the Government will choose to do. Genuine doubts may still prevail, but the country will have to keep following its own norm of expressing those in a dignified manner without attribution of political motives to the leadership’s decisions.
For, in a complex situation like this, the response of the leadership and the nation will have to be equally complex -- and not confused. This requirement of the moment will then test the nation’s maturity to the hilt. We join the nation in praying for that maturity as well as the sense of dignity and sanity of everybody including people in corridors of power and the common people in the streets of India.