Who dares to say the emperor has no clothes?

Sep 26, 2022

If anyone repeats a mistake several times, that is attributable to be either deliberate or absurd. That is arrogance and irresponsibility. When a government does it, one has to call it out. 

We see it routinely in the practice of State administration. Foul after foul deliberately. When we do something to correct, the action boomerangs for more severe consequences than the devastating pandemic. Can we go for it? Now that is what is going on. Corrective action is more severely counter-productive.

When Covid-19 infection began to spread all over the world in January 2020 nobody could predict anything. A year after the so-called first wave started, everyone thought the pandemic was over. We began to return to normal life by the fag end of 2020. Neither the Indian scientist nor anyone in the world was in a position to predict a second wave until early this year. Now they predict the third wave with higher virulence. I firmly believe this is only a pre-emptive prediction. Maybe they are compelled to bet on a third wave to save their skin. I believed the so-called novel coronavirus was not as dangerous as we believed.

Now States have a special task force in place, which seems to govern the government with timely advice and direction. Different teams have given vastly different or contradicting predictions. Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) said there could be a third wave, but not as dangerous as the second wave, less dangerous than the first wave. This means there is nothing much to worry about.

This is simple logic. Those who are proven vulnerable to the virus will continue to be vulnerable once their anti-body weakens. So a prediction of repeated waves or seeing it as a permanent phenomenon is not an intellectual hardship. A study carried out by the TATA institute said that there was a possibility of 80% of the Mumbaikars already affected by Covid-19. It said there was a possibility of re-infection but mild, since people have developed the antibody.

It seemed to spread a panic message, which has the potential to be quickly viral in the media, is a new trend. That is a criminal gesture since the authorities who are not supposed to precautionary people are terrifying people in their sadistic approach. Here the intervention of the judiciary is necessary with an action against the unscrupulous rumour mongers. The predictors have a responsibility to substantiate their predictions so long as the same is linked with the safety of common people. The government also has a responsibility to direct such predictions for scrutiny by experts. The people have the right to know the truth. In the days of the pandemic, those who know the art of reaching the media make their presence aggressive thereby making every sword-bearer an oracle.

Usually, every tragic news is circulated through lightning speed. Spreading rumour does not contribute to freedom of speech thereby making it actionable by the government. Though the media is not supposed to reveal the source of a scoop or a rumour, any news harmful to the interest of people should be acted upon.

Recently, a report from one of the Indian States has claimed to have predicted five million infections. How did they arrive at that number? What was the integrity of the authority, which made the prediction? No one knows.

Recently, Maharashtra declared the fifth phase of lockdown relaxations. Relaxation was necessary for people to live and for the economy to grow. The lockdown dragged the people down along with the economy. A terrifying third wave production and relaxation of lockdown happen simultaneously. The rise in the number of infections gives the government a reason for lockdown. It goes up and down. When a step is taken forward, two are taken backwards. Let the government at least once find out what people are thinking about its decision and approach to the pandemic and how worthy are the leaders to call themselves leaders.

Several experts said several times that lockdown was never a solution for the pandemic. Yet, poor shopkeepers are asked to close down, as if they are the sources of infection. As a result of the long-drawn lockdown, people have no money to spend. That drastically curtails the potential of making a crowd in the market. This fact is not unknown to the government.

There are politicians to speak for certain sections, but not for the common man, the victim of all pandemic adversities.

Such action cripples public life making people carry the damage of poor governance. No one in the State knows whether there is a lockdown in place or not until the municipal officers run after shopkeepers. It seems even the State government does not know what action it has taken and which of the actions are currently in force. People do not know what is allowed and what is disallowed. Such a confused public approach reflects only the poor quality of leadership. It is high time to take its review without letting any Dick and Harry be the king of the days. It is also high time to boldly say the emperor has no clothes.