By BIRAJ DIXIT :
T here are good times and there are bad times. There are also good times after bad times as there have been bad times after good times. There are times that - for good or for bad - remain etched in memory for a very, very long time. Times out of which legends are made! And then, there are those that change the course of history and shape the future of generations. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that we are passing though one such huge moment in perpetuity. Sometime later, history books will mention stories of these days with either much zeal or calm contemplation.
They may be eloquent in their eulogies or restrained in their criticism. Whatever be their predicament, they will have a hell of a story to tell. A tragedy - enormous in its scale of infliction, when life, human life, leaving behind all its tales of valour, dreams and achievements, was reduced to a number, terrifying and increasing. It will be told like those epic stories, when angels fall and mortals rise to occasion. Or those doom stories wherein follies of a few completely overshadow sacrifices of many. Or perhaps, those renaissance, rebirth stories that bury all old and haggard paving way for a new world. Who knows?! It could even entail a comedy.
A dark one! A tale of lust, caprice and folly where an entire civilisation is put into grave danger by some unchecked behaviours, rotten habits or ill-conceived notions. Based on that the future generations would create satires on destructive powers of human genius or humour themselves with lists of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. They may also create poems, as most people in civilisations have done, musing verses about the events and the values we bequeathed to them. Who knows?! Or perhaps, it can be a tale of redemption where Nature is the protagonist?! While we are busy writing our own tales, we cannot miss the point that sometimes in future, someone will read those.
They will read about not just how a pandemic took away human lives but how it could not defeat humanity. How it grieved the world propelling it towards unity and how some good lessons did not go unlearned. Earlier too, many epidemics have swooped upon humans, preying on lives. With their minimal resources and prayers to the Divine, our ancestors have fought bravely against very many diseases. With our unthinkably high material achievements, levels of comfort and huge pool of resources, there remains little room for excuse. We will definitely fight our war and win it, but how do we do it is also a matter of prime importance.
Wise men of the yore say adversities are our best teachers. They force us to remain grounded and help us come face-to-face with our true nature. They also bring to us the knowledge of our true place in the nature of things. And what better adversity than to sit at home and meditate over our actions, their results and our collective future! Isn’t that what wise men who shaped our civilisation did? Going away from the social hullabaloo so that they can churn a society that has its base in strong values, body full of vitality and courage and head actively engaged in understanding, visualising, planning and achieving. This adverse time can also be the first trigger of an ensuing golden age, who knows! The fact-file says that the death toll due to Covid-19 pandemic, as on April 7, is 74,697 and mounting with 13,46,566 confirmed cases in 209 countries of the world. People in many countries of the world are living in a never-seenbefore lockdown to avoid infection. The world looks still and silent.
The earlier never-ending chase for money, economic wars between nations, dreams of higher and higher growth rates, bettering the GDPs, even individual aspirations of minting more and more money all have fallen by the wayside. Nations are now making unprecedented efforts to serve their people. Promises of reaching out to the last man are now being fulfilled. Administration, finally, looks humane. The police are no longer the hard enforcers of law but kind order-keepers.
Doctors have regained their godly compassion. The rich are making sure that poor are fed. The men have realised what a colossal world a home is! The women are thankful for the gratitude showered upon them are not by mere words but emanate from greater understanding of co-operative actions. Children are having parents’ undivided attention. Roads look bigger and paths clearer. The long stretches of highways connecting cities and towns have not seen an accident for days now. ‘Lives lost or lives gained’, they are wondering. It may not come as a surprise if someone in future describes this as divine intervention.
A painter of the future may use strokes of his brush to create an image of the Almighty holding a weapon corona in His hand ready to hurl on the world. A subsequent ‘shloka’ or lines would reveal how the Lord saved the world from destroying itself, and how He poured wisdom in His very intelligent children. Historians may write about a turning point in human history and tell a story of how the age of information technology and artificial intelligence disintegrated to pave way for the ‘Age of Prudence.’ This was an age in which a virus penetrated into human body and sucked away several lives. And then, it penetrated into human soul and oozed out honesty, kindness, compassion and value for truth tucked away by intelligent humans, a story teller may say.
This may sound too fantastic as fantasies usually do before they come true. But today the pandemic is going strong and all efforts are directed at saving lives. As we sit in the safe confines of our homes, we can meditate over lessons learnt - the first one being a full scale acknowledgement that we are not the only species inhabiting this lone life-nurturing planet. Nature demands respect for all life forms. It demands respect for its waters and air and forests and mountains and animals and birds. The second one is that human ways are too arrogant and too less accommodative. Like the coronavirus, we have been sapping out lives from so many beings.
We need to cover our own ambitions with mask of foresight so that we do not inflict fatalities around us. Third, quarantines and lockdowns can also serve as eye-openers. A little quarantining of ourselves from our world and our world from ourselves isn’t a bad idea. Soon, by God’s grace, we will tide over the present crisis and be on the other side of the pandemic. It is then that this viewing of things from a distance might help. A little pondering over gains and losses or things that we consider as gains and losses will help in bringing about a turning point for the greater good. We are history in making. Let’s be its heroes. ●