As we live through an unprecedented number of new infections of Covid-19, and deaths, we can take pride in that in this one indicator we have even overtaken the USA. We are reporting close to 400,000 new cases every day and close to 4000 deaths every day. We are haunted by the fact that there are not enough hospital beds, not enough oxygen, not enough ventilators. Images of funeral pyres, very stark, suffuse the media, here and abroad. Indeed, there are reports that there is a shortage of wood for funeral pyres, now being lit in parking lots in Delhi.
My friends are struggling for hospital beds, medicines, oxygen, and a retired professor from Jawaharlal Nehru University died in a prominent private hospital for lack of oxygen. I know of a family that has paid Rs 50,000 in Delhi for a private cremation. A good friend, whose mother had died of Covid, agreed to a group cremation, since there was nothing else available. Another friend, whose mother died peacefully at home of old age, could not get a doctor to certify death. I have lost count of friends, colleagues and students who have contracted Covid. I cannot bear it but keep track of deaths alone. We are all relatively privileged people with contacts. This IS apocalypse.
There is no doubt at all that this is evidence of the monumental failure of governance. The western press is saying this; most of the Indian press is too scared to speak truth to power, although there are some weak voices now being heard.
The government of the day brought in many laws that might be unconstitutional, such as the CAA laws or laws related to the NRC. The Supreme Court, bullied into obedience, is yet to hold hearings on all these fundamental constitutional matters. Just as it is still to hear the validity of the law to abrogate the status of Jammu and Kashmir, two years after it was passed by a Central Government high on hubris.
Millions protested across the country, and I too was an avid protester at Bangalore’s Town Hall against the CAA and NRC. Ram Guha was arrested—in Bangalore—for protesting. There was the Shaheen Bagh protest that has entered the annals of history. This too had repercussions across the country.
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