Matterhorn lit up with #hope and the curious case of India.

– Govind Sovale

Europe is in the deadly grip of Covid-19 and my current home Switzerland with its tiny population of 8 million is one of the worst affected. The federal government has used its special powers to enforce Lockdown.

Opinions of media, various political parties and people greatly differ about the timing and strictness of the measures but everybody is joining hands to follow the plan laid out by the federal and cantonal governments.

In Switzerland, Italy and the countries around, the people have demonstrated solidarity by clapping for the health workers and lighting candles in a resolve to fight together.

Matterhorn, the most photographed mountain in the world is specially illuminated to carry the message of hope and solidarity. It is a wonderful sight and an assurance that we will overcome this challenge together.

In India too, we saw some quick steps taken by the government. It is a humongous task to make even a simple message reach 1.3 billion people. Hence it was a great idea that the PM of India decided to put his personal connect with people to communicate the importance of social distancing and co-operation with the health workers by the Janata Curfew and the clapping exercise.

From here though the story differs from what happened here in Switzerland and Europe.

1) As soon as the PM announced the Janata Curfew and clapping, several spoof messages were constructed, sarcastically linking the rationale behind the clapping to Indian astrology, Indian ancient sciences, Indian culture etc. while heaping praise on Modi, clearly to ridicule the initiative.

2) When the government decided to air Ramayana to keep people at home, they attacked the decision and ridiculed Ramayana. Some claimed it to be a conspiracy !! Ramayana though broke all TRP records with a viewership of 170 million vindicating the decision.

3) When it became clear that Tabligh Jamat has indeed caused the rapid spread of virus, they immediately jumped to defense of Tabligh.

4) And finally when the PM announced another symbolic exercise to bring all together – the lighting of lamps for nine minutes; this lobby went into overdrive, creating the false narrative of imminent nationwide power grid failure and feeding it to media houses, friendly state governments and public at large to scare them away from participation.

5) But I was shocked and decided to write this note when I observed that some ‘liberals’ went to the extent of expressing the hope that the power grid would collapses, people would die and thus Modi is taught a lesson. They even suggested measures like shutting off all the equipment in the houses to make this failure happen. Is this what we have come to as a society and a nation ? Which values does this mindset represent ? Democratic ? liberal ? progressive ? humanitarian ?

The pseudo-liberals of India seem to believe in and follow only one principle “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. This explains why this group erupts into frenzy of joy asking “How is the Jaish?” when Pakistani terrorists attacked and killed our soldiers in Pulawama. The people who celebrated were our own so called educated people. For example, a reporter from NDTV, another a director of a department in Mumbai University etc. This is a very small but the most vocal and visible section of the society.

Indian pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-liberal lobby, media houses, think tanks and organizations seem to be looking at Covid-19 as an opportunity to finally discredit Modi government, on the back of hope that the pandemic will cause massive destruction.

India needs to flight Corona as one nation, one people. But in order to do so, it will have to neutralize the enemy within.

You don’t need to be a Sanghi or a Modi supporter to support India. Let us speak-up, stand-up for our country and be counted. .

– Govind Sovale
Zurich, Switzerland.
05.04.2020
Photo : © Light Art by Gerry Hofstetter / Foto Gabriel Perren

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Venkkat Prannit Nissankara
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