On 19th March 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation for the first time, about the COVID-19 pandemic. In the same address, he announced a Janata Curfew to combat Coronavirus and asked the citizens to applaud medical professionals and other essential services providers for their relentless zeal and hard work during these unimaginably scary times. This, he asked, could be done by, clapping, beating utensils or ringing a bell, at 5 PM for 5 minutes. The Janata Curfew was to be observed, people were asked to not step out of their houses until it was inevitable and social distancing was to be followed increasingly. “On Sunday, from 5 PM for 5 minutes, you all should thank the corona warriors. And how can you do that? By clapping, beating utensils and ringing bells”.
“In many residential societies like mine, many people came in vast numbers in their balconies on Saturday, that is the day before the Janata Curfew and started beating the utensils and clapping, the day before it was supposed to happen. They said it was kind of a prep session we do before an exam,” shared a student living in Indirapuram. “My locality saw huge participation when it came to applauding nation’s corona warriors. People came in their balconies at around 4:45. Apart from the ways suggested by our PM to thank the heroes, people also sort to other means. Many people blew the Hindu holy shankha, while others played bhajans on loudspeakers. What was really shocking that a few people also burst crackers,” said Delhi University student.
The entire movement was extremely unifying. In a situation, wherein everybody’s mental health status has proven to be compromised, people felt a sense of belonging and positivity. But the people failed to follow the basic instructions rather massively. Not everywhere people did what they did on the prescribed day, at the suggested time. Not everybody sought the instructed ways to thank the national heroes. Therefore, it is a matter of concern.
The crackers which were burst were another massive mislead, given the fact that COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. In desperate times like these, Whatsapp forwards has proven to become the biggest source of idiocracy in the country. One such forward which was also tweeted, later deleted by Amitabh Bachchan stated that since 22nd March happens to be on Amavasya, the darkest day of the month, all viruses and bacterias have maximum potential and power. Clapping or blowing the shankha, therefore, creates vibrations that can reduce or destroy the potency of the virus. Coming from a person as respected as him, people read such messages, believed in it, shared it further and actually performed what the message asked them to. Something which was supposed to be done to appreciate the services of medical professionals was incredibly mistaken as a move to eradicate the disease itself. Something which medical science could not do until now could have been done merely by what was sent across the app.
On the same day of the Janata Curfew marking social distancing the activity was to be done in one’s balcony or terrace, within the precincts of the household, people deviated. A large number of citizens who were asked to maintain social distancing came on the roads, to ‘thank corona warriors’. They took out an entire rally, defied the curfew and put the masses at an enormous risk of catching a disease for which we don’t even have a cure yet. The only thing which is being asked to follow for weeks now was defied. How can we even ignore the consequences that their actions bore? “Though the request was to remain at home and support our medical professionals from balconies while maintaining social distancing there were multiple instances across the country where people took to streets in large crowds shouting slogans and banging utensils. This inevitably defeated the very purpose of the curfew and turned out to actually disrupt the proceeds of controlling the spread of the virus, not to forget the whole circus in the evening created considerable discomfort for the street animals,” said Soumya Singh.
All these things happened on the same day which was supposed to be about isolation and distancing oneself from the crowd amidst the horrors of the pandemic. The very purpose of the curfew was failed by the people, applauding national heroes thus, it became all about violating the basic instructions, wronging animals and the environment. In a country that worships the current Prime Minister, people failed to even follow his basic instructions, which were in turn for their well being.
Image Source – The Hindu
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