Savage in the neighbourhood

K.N. Pandita

Till date, mankind knows no deadlier epidemic than COVID-19. In a matter of weeks, the pandemic spread across the globe taking a heavy toll of life. It is three months old now and despite enormous potential, the world community has in medical science researches no antidote to the virus has been discovered till date.

COVID-19 is not only secular but also classless and timeless. It decimates indiscriminatingly. Almost three months on no country no community and no individual is out of danger. The densely populated sub-continent is mired in fatal threat and painful suspense. Maybe in comparison to the affected countries in the west like Italy, Spain and the US, we have fewer casualties to date. That, however, is no guarantee of full escape from the pandemic may have had to meet with fewer casualties till date. If we give an iota of credit to pessimists, the real and massive onslaught is yet to happen in the sub-continent. Taking into account the population size of India and Pakistan, one can imagine the mind-boggling magnitude of the loss of human life and devastation to the economy if God forbid the pandemic becomes widespread. Consequently, each country is trying to stake everything for saving people from devastation.

Countries across the globe have taken a slew of protective measures to defeat the scourge of God. All productive activities have come to a standstill and all resources are diverted to provide the respective peoples with the necessities of life.

On the night of the wild dance of the angel of death, many people have sought to supplicate for divine intervention to save humanity. Saints and godly men everywhere exhort people to pray to divine powers to tone down their wrath against humanity. In times of catastrophe, humans have always tried to solicit for divine intervention calling the pandemic a scourge of God. No one can dispute the point that humans are helpless and powerless against the fury of nature.

Destruction is one of the three attributes of the Creator. The question is how should human society behave in such trying circumstances?

Secretary-General of the United Nations has made a fervent appeal to the entire humanity. Among other things, he has appealed to the world community to shun violence against fellow beings and direct their energy and resources to the eradication of the virus rapid expanding in stealth. Indeed it is a highly appreciable initiative by the Secretary-General. His concern is genuine.

In the background of the enormous threat looking straight into the eyes of the humanity, the Saudi state authorities have declared a ceasefire in Yemen where clashes between the pro-Saudi and pro-Iran Houthi elements have brought untold suffering to the people. The entire world has appreciated this remarkable human decision of the Saudi government.

All responsible states should pay heed to the appeal of the Secretary-General which is of utmost importance and relevance to the safety and security of human life everywhere. Such an appeal become more relevant because nobody knows how long this phenomenon of the epidemic will continue and it will be controlled how will be controlled.

A highly depressing picture of the world economy is projected by experts and countries and governments are trying to conserve every penny they can for fighting the economic consequences of the pandemic.

In such a grim scenario when life is hanging by a thread, it is so sad and disappointing that there is absolutely no relent in the shelling and firing across the border in Kashmir. It will be noted that during past one month and more of the rising graph of the pandemic in the sub-continent, militants in Kashmir, including their guest mujahedeen infiltrating from across the border, have intensified attacks on security forces inviting retaliation of no mean order.

In South Kashmir, in Kupwara frontier region, and at some more places every other day terrorist launch attacks deep inside the border claiming precious lives of man and beast. Along with that, Pakistani Rangers are now targeting inhabited areas along the border causing enormous loss of life and bringing misery and agony to the poor and toiling farmers. They demonstrate their utter insensitivity to the value of life especially when Damocles sword in the shape of the deadly virus is hanging on their heads.

If our neighbour was humane and true to a noble faith of peace, it would have played a human role and conveyed its willingness to join hands with us in fighting the deadly virus so that people would forget the wounds of acrimony eating into the vitals of our enemy and open their eyes to a new dawn of humanism and human dignity.

Our neighbour’s greed for land may be gauged from its response to collective effort on a regional basis to contain the COVIs-19. Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated a video conference of the Head of the Governments of SAARC countries for exchange of ideas on the prevention of pandemic. Pakistan downgraded its delegation to the rank of a junior secretary obviously with the sinister design of disrespecting the SAARC. Not only that, the Pakistani discussant, instead of talking about the steps to coordinate efforts of the SAARC countries in controlling the spread of an epidemic, raised Kashmir issue as if Kashmir was the generator of the deadly virus and Pakistan wanted a panacea to insulate it. This neighbour’s response to the deadly pandemic is reflected in one more incident. Media reports said that when COVID-19 afflicted persons were detected in some parts of Pakistan Punja province, the authorities removed them to PoK. The life of Punjabis is more precious than the life of the people of PoK: Mirza Ghalib has rightly said:
Bas kih dushwar hai har kam ka asan hona/admi Ko bhi mayassar nahin insan hona (nothing is obtained easily. Even a man has not the luck to become human).

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