The hapless human

Jayanta Madhav

The other day I saw something very rare on an English news channel : a lady  doctor from Italy requesting , beseeching almost , us Indians , tears in her eyes, to be all careful and do whatever our Govt tells us so we could save ourselves and our friends and families from the menace of the Corona virus. She was pleading us repeatedly, not to make the same mistake that they, the Italians made by not maintaining the required social distancing as was told them by their Govt .

Since the world plunged into panic mode with the outbreak of the dreaded Corona sending more and more people into the confinement of their homes and playing havoc with their lives and world economy, people mostly have been glued to social media. As everyone across the globe prayed and hoped keeping their fingers crossed for the worst to come, social media was abuzz with an overwhelming deluge of information from Wuhan to Italy and London to Paris. While many of these posts gave out a grim picture that awaits humanity in case the virus’ spread is not checked here and now and it’s probable fall out which sure is going to be devastating for the world , many of them sought to reach out to people at large sending out the do’s and don’ts to be followed so to save themselves and their near and dear ones from this virulent scourge that by now has taken the entire world in its grip.

A casual skimming through these social media posts that have been doing the rounds over the past few days do however throws some thought provoking questions that seem to have caught the imagination of many across the world  :

With people restricting themselves to isolation inside their homes , in many places birds and animals are seen to be roaming freely, as if essaying to reclaim their lost , rightful space on earth . Is the current situation , therefore, Nature’s own way of telling us sapiens to respect our limit, to slow down a bit and just leave it to Her to decide on her own way of striking the right balance between Nature and humanity ?

Is it time people of the world realised how fragile human life is, how insignificant, infinitesimal all of our science and technology is against the might of Nature ? Should we now therefore shun our audacity and arrogance about that so called technological advance of mankind and stop behaving as the arbiter of the Universe – taking upon ourselves to decide as to which, when, how , where and how many of the plants and animals are to remain to live on this earth ? Or is it now or never that we all must look inwards and reflect and realize that no further can we humans take it for granted looking upon ourselves as superior to the other species of life which we may choose to condemn at  our will  ?

While no religion has till now been able to find out an antidote to a thing as small as a microscopic virus , when all deities and places of worship have rather been shut out to the people of the world  in general, will we now stop bragging , exalting and exaggerating about the so called superiority of one religion over the other and hence shake off all that nonsensical hatred and bickering in the name of religion that we have till now been carrying on with , hereon ?

As the world scurries to find out more and more places and facilities to treat those affected by this baneful disease ,  how much has it been worthwhile for us, the people from all religions across the globe to have splurged the crores and crores of money that we did over the years in the name of worshipping our Gods and oracles ? Or could have all this been utilized for newer medicines and better research and putting up more medical facilities for the poor ?

Where do we stand today, about our opinion about those who used to work out,  till the other day, our stars and birth dates to predict and foretell for us as to who and when to  marry, what and where to study and what business to take up so to  achieve fame and glory and success in life ? And what also about them , our pundits that presently are looking at their doctors asking them what to do and what medicine to take , who till now would make us offer this thing and that to this God and that so to negate the ‘bad effects’ of our planets and constellations ? Is it not time therefore, to have a relook at all this pretence and beliefs and misconceptions with a whole new perspective ?

But then, as all things do also have a positive side, has the reality of this potential calamity somehow managed to tell us something about a much needed refinement in our habits and discipline , our manners and attitude and about perceiving and developing hygiene , and healthy practices that are in sync with our custom and culture ; and more so about appreciating and respecting our Mother Nature ?  And above all, are the people of the world going to be more compassionate towards  one another – as displayed   by this Italian doctor opening her heart out to the people of a faraway land she might not have even seen in her life ? Which therefore goes to in a way leave us with that ever illusory question : Is this calamity going to give us, the people of this world a God sent opportunity to perhaps try and think , once again, to move gradually towards that distant possibility of One World ?

This probably only time will tell ; for now all we can do is wait , watch and pray for our lovely planet !!

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