From Pandemic to Panacea
From Pandemic to Panacea
Yesterday Satyam Jha from first History Honours succumbed to Covid. He was eighteen. A young man looking forward to life, expectantly. His dreams and those of his parents and all who loved him came to an end with his death. His soul though, we pray, hope and believe, rests in eternal peace.
We’ve been going through the Covid-19 pandemic for more than a year now. The pandemic has brought the world to it knees. The second wave of the pandemic has been heartless in its ruthless rampaging through our country exposing our hollow claims of being prepared, of being one of the largest producer of pharmaceutical products in the world, of even being a civilization that places value on the higher things in life. But if life itself is gone, then whither all these claims? They are merely a futile breath of air. A mere posturing, signifying nothing. Medicine is a highly sought-after profession in our country; but not all the dedicated work of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff helped prevent the death of a Satyam Jha or a Mrs X. Many lives were saved but many more have died, not only in our country but the world over. This virus does not respect scientists, armies or the police force; all have been led on a destructive trail of death and defiance. The claims of belligerent and blind leaders who are immune to the suffering and deaths of simple people also show that we are veering off dangerously to becoming a cruel and insensitive race. How do all those claims of power and importance matter before the death of a loved one? Nothing.
Is this the lesson that Covid teaches us? That before death nothing else matters?
No. On the contrary the lesson that this ruthless pandemic is teaching us is that life matters. The quality of our life matters. Eighteen years or eighty, how we live matters. We must live with dignity. We must live with love. We must live in a manner that enriches not only our life but also adds value to the lives of those we come in touch with. After all, we are a worldwide community, not an isolated specimen within a species.
And so Covid teaches us humility. That we are, after all, not all that powerful. That we cannot even predict when we will have to depart this life. If we cannot see how vulnerable we all are because of a minute virus then we are a blind and foolish race indeed! If the fierce power of Nature through its storms, raging wildfires, earthquakes and melting glaciers does not teach us to stop increasing our greed for more material wealth, then we are ironically an impoverished species. If we pause to understand that the Earth has enough for everyone’s need but never enough for everyone’s greed and then put into practice a more balanced approach to life and living then, we can still salvage our place as the crown of civilization.
We will not live forever. No, no one of us is eternal; but if we can pass on the wisdom of our collective experiences then perhaps, there is a possibility for redemption from the curse of arrogance. Are we willing to listen? Are we willing to co-exist, rather than dominate through our selfish pillaging, our indiscriminate and profligate lifestyles? Are we willing to do our duty, wherever we are, rather than claim to be doing it? If we are humble enough to learn from Nature, if we pause to learn from each other, love each other, care for each other then we can transform this pandemic into a panacea.