The Bania of Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go down in Indian history as the most notorious and cruel merchant of death. Dead bodies are floating in the river Ganga because cremation is now a luxury, sending shivers down the spines of the subalterns. Tragically enough, there is no Munshi Premchand who could write yet another 'SADGATI', in today's India, to depict the horror of Corona virus pandemic and inhuman behaviour of people who matter in decision making. Though he is continually getting flak from different quarters, both here and abroad, Modi looks reluctant to vaccinate his countrymen, notwithstanding increased body counts with every passing hour. India is now the worst infected nation in the world, thanks to Modi's half-hearted response to the corona crisis.

Meanwhile, Modi's Party—Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is working overtime to offset widespread criticism in handling, rather mishandling of the pandemic by the government. The BJP foot soldiers are out to save Modi's skin by dishing out blatant lies and defending the indefensible without bothering about the ground reality. The government organised workshop to create a positive image of the Modi government only to see at the end of the day that there was none to listen other than a few sycophants. Also, RSS began a series of online lectures titled 'Positivity Unlimited' between May 11-15, to set aside helplessness and negativity. For one thing, Modi's overconfidence in tackling Covid-19 is the root cause for such a horrible atmosphere. As of May 7, the country recorded 3,48,421 new infections while death toll reached 2,54,197. But all these official figures are gross underestimates.

A forum of scientists set up by the government warned the authorities in early March of a new and more contagious variant of Corona virus taking hold in the country. But Modi ignored their observation and refused to impose strict restrictions and improve medical infrastructures. Millions of largely unmasked people attended religious festivals ,election rallies and road shows that were held by Prime Minister Modi , his lieutenant Amit Shah, top ranking BJP leaders and opposition leaders as well. The world's second most populous country is now hopelessly struggling to contain a second wave of infections much more severe than its first last year. Indian variant is said to have reached at least 17 countries including Britain, Switzerland and Iran leading several governments to close their borders to people travelling from India. In the Modi regime doctors and scientific community are a dejected lot. What is more BJP stalwarts and chief ministers are prescribing cow-dung and urine to treat Covid-19. In reality they are asking people to get more infections. That India is ruled by these obscurantist and religious bigots in the 21st century is a tragedy.

Many states have already announced strict curbs and lock-downs to manage the situation and adhere to Covid-19 norms. Then lock-down is no solution. Even partial lock-down in some states has affected the livelihood of a huge number of people engaged in the informal sector. They simply don't know where to go. In truth they have nowhere to go. So they are dying without being treated in streets, in fields, in the corridor of hospitals. At some hospitals patients died gasping for air. Crematoriums are overflowed with dead bodies and graveyards have no space. In the face of a grieving nation and tragedies, the continued attempt to push falsehood and biased propaganda in the name of highlighting positivity borders on criminal offence. Modi's crime against humanity cannot be glossed over by selling '56 inches of false bravado'.

Then vaccine is not available. Those who have taken first dose are not getting second dose. If anything Modi's Bania clan is happy with the bonanza they are reaping through the black market of vaccine. No, the Modi dispensation is not providing free vaccine to all. Instead the Centre is forcing states to import vaccine and compete with each other to create a civil war like situation, forcing anxious people to indulge in parochialism, provincialism and all that. Modi wants to win a campaign even before starting it.

The government's programme of vaccination for people above 18+ from May 1 is in limbo. It opened with a great fanfare only to be abandoned in view of staggering teething troubles. Almost 1.3 crore individuals reportedly enlisted themselves on CoWin on May 5 for the vaccine drive for everyone above 18. But it failed miserably as people are still facing glitches such as technical problems. The plight of migrant workers defies description. Workers working especially in the northern states are on the brink of despair as they are stranded in the cities with most work having dried up. People are at a cross roads—they will have to choose between Modi and life. Sad news is coming again and again. Those who have accountability are hiding somewhere. The government has compounded the problem to reach 'such an apocalyptic human tragedy'. After all it is India where human lives are disposables. At last twelve opposition parties wrote a joint letter to Prime Minister Modi a few days back slamming the government over its managing of the corona pandemic and demanding free and universal mass vaccination campaign across the country, stopping construction of Central Vista project and repeal of three farm laws. Tens of thousands of farmers continue to camp on the edge of New Delhi protesting Modi's agrarian policy changes. The hard reality is that Delhi is now suffering one of the worst infection rates in the country, with more than three out of every 10 tests positive for the virus. And the Modis are now utilising the Covid-19 card to crush the historic movement. But protesting farmers are too determined to hold the fort despite corona virus threat.


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Vol. 54, No. 5, Aug 1 - 7, 2021