Hubris and Humility

by | May 15, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic presented a contrast in the way it rolled out in 2020 and in its second wave in 2021 in India. The rigorous lockdown in 2020 prevented large-scale spread of infection and hospitalizations, and mortality levels in India did not exceeded the global trends. However, migrant workers suffered untold miseries and peeled off the veneer off a heartless, self-centered, and transactional society.   

Then, for many months, the pandemic appeared to have receded, and people were back to their carefree ways that included large gatherings and congregations, be it rituals, festivals or election rallies. Even cricket matches were watched by people in packed stadiums. The arrival of an indigenous vaccine along with other global brands created the hubris of India as a “Vishwa-guru” that was leading the world in effectively handling the pandemic. 

 And then, the second wave struck. Even the best hospitals raised their hands in their failure to provide oxygen to needy patients. Questionable therapies like administering convalescent plasma were used to earn enormous profits by the hospitals. Beds were given to highest bidders. Unproven medicines for COVID-19 were sold in the black market. It was as if vultures were hovering everywhere. People were out in the streets not having a hospital bed. To have people not have oxygen was really tragic. 

 What might explain these staggering letdowns in a country that was discussing QUAD with the US, Japan and Australia to counter China only on March 12, 2021? Suddenly, we were receiving oxygen tankers from other countries in aid to fill the demand deficit and a section of the Western media was showing shocking pictures of long lines of dead bodies waiting for cremation. The entire system seemed to have collapsed like a pack of cards. 

In engineering parlance, there are two ways of looking at systemic failure. One focuses on how one part of the assembly failed and took down the whole system. It is a more familiar narrative: find the missing piece, the worn-out cog, the exhausted element that brought the machine to a halt, fix it and voila! Supply shortage of Oxygen in hospitals was highlighted at the center stage of the COVID-19 second wave and fixing it was seen as mission accomplishment.

However, there is a second way of looking at systemic failure. It requires widening the scope to think about the system as a whole and how it crumbled. What turned the well-tamed COVID-19 pandemic into a quick-moving and relentless public health emergency? The answer is mass religious gatherings, cricket matches, and a general attitude of “all is well” on the one hand. On the other, huge federal budget allocations to augment hospital facilities were found unutilized by many states. Both were the hallmarks of hubris – the arrogance of doing no wrong and doing nothing. A widespread view amongst people, that they are outliers, prevailed with many living in the false belief that “I am in some way distinct from the others, and nothing will happen to me.” 

Media channels had their own hubris. One reality was shown in so many different ways based on who was reporting. Negativity and cynicism were galore. TV reporters were seen cherry-picking scenes, rather than communicating the ground situation. Thousands of lives were saved by valiant doctors, staff and volunteers bringing oxygen from factories on their two-wheelers to help people in need. The way tons of liquid oxygen is now produced by our non-medical industry after modifying their plants in few days’ time is also historic.

 In Greek mythology, hubris is punished by the goddess Nemesis. Overconfidence in our specialness led to lack of preparedness, prevented collaboration with others, and limited the opportunities of learning from the experience of other countries. Deficiencies in administration and greed of the people emerged as punishment by Nemesis for the hubris of “world-power India.” Two lessons are apparent:

  1. Panic mongering for profiteering Most Covid positive patients may recover on their own. The things needed for them to do so are oxygen level monitoring to maintain a level of 93 and above, Paracetamol for fever and body ache, and home isolation to make sure that they do not pass on the virus to others. Large numbers of hospitals beds were occupied by the “affluent anxious,” denying them to those who actually needed them. People were seen squatting on beds for their “Masters,” should they need it. 
  2. Highjacking of science In any infectious disease, the virus mutates while jumping from one host to another. The science is that every mutation adds to transmissibility and virility is lowered. Mutations happen in clusters along the genome. In the SARS-CoV-2 virus of the 30,000-letter long genome, hundreds of mutations have happened and will continue to happen. A hype was created about “double mutations” and the “Indian mutation.” When intellectual garbage was overflowing like an open drain in social media, most of our scientists stayed away from making public rebuttal. 

Except the availability of a vaccine, and cognitive surplus on rampant media, there is no difference between the 1918 Flu pandemic and COVID-19. COVID-19 will run its full course over about 3 to 4 years and stop after herd immunity is achieved, making the virus incapable of causing any mortality. Till such time we need to be humble – moderation in living, and the self-discipline of wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. A very large number of people are just not doing this. 

Nature is as brutal as it is benevolent. Post globalization, in the late 1990s, a pandemic was imminent. It happened in 2002 as the SARS-CoV, in 2009 as H1N1, and then in 2012 as MERS. Luckily, it remained confined to a few countries. Finally, SARS-CoV-2 became a pandemic as a large number of infected tourists carried it across the globe while holidaying for the Chinese New Year in 2020. There were signs of trouble, but they were ignored to prevent losses by the airline and hotel industries. And we had the COVID-19 pandemic! 

A recurring theme in mythology is that of a man or woman who loses sight of human limitations and acts arrogantly and with violence, as if an immortal, and pays a terrible price for it. So, what is the lesson? 

Don’t get carried away and suffer despair. Be humble, live with humility, and like a reed, bend before the storm, waiting for it to pass by, which eventually it will, as it has to. Know your limitation of being a mortal and plan your life a little more meaningfully. 

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30 Comments

  1. Dear sir Thank you once again for a very well articulated blog on the pandemic. The way the first wave was handled, was exemplary. Probably there was fear, people were careful, they followed the guidelines to a great extent in the initial phase and with limited knowledge of the disease people were able to handle the pandemic. But as the pandemic weaned off , the complacency got set in, the leaders, the administrators, medical fraternity and public at large lowered their guard and took the pandemic for granted and they felt they were through with the pandemic.

    The Kumbh melas, holi festival, elections and cricket matches and other religious functions were conducted in full scale without any fear. People went to the extent of asking “WHERE IS CORONA?”. The political leaders had their own compulsions of assembly elections in some states and by elections in some other states. If some of the states were to start the lockdown right in the first week of April the damage could have been much less. Places like Delhi, Mumbai , Bangalore , Pune and other cities could have imposed lockdown much earlier.

    I would go one step further, had they enforced , COVD, appropriate behavior right from the month of march strictly (especially wearing of mask) lot could have got saved. Mask , which in my opinion , can reduce the transmission by more than 50%.

    “The WhatsApp university and You tube institute” have added enough confusion , with respect to treatment protocols, effectiveness of certain drugs ,like REMDESIVIR, FAVIVIRAPIR,IVERMECTIN, usage of CORTIZONES, plasma therapy, hot water consumption, taking steam, Ayurvedic drugs and so on. The people also wanted to create artificial scarcity of BEDS, Oxygen, and medicines and make money even in adverse conditions.. All human values were given a go by, without realizing the fact that they could be next in queue.

    I only hope and wish that all of us have learnt our lessons during the second wave and would behave responsibly hence forward so that we can face the next challange ( I donot want to use the word THIRD_WAVE)adequately. If each one of us acts responsibly and take adequate care I am sure we can avoid the unavoidable.

    WEAR YOUR MASK, MAINTAIN HAND HYGIENE AND AVOID CROWD all waves will subside.

  2. Thank you Sir for sharing this article.

    You’ve beautifully put into words the current scenario of our country. The events leading up to the second wave could have been easily avoided or the severity of the second wave could have been prevented had we all taken the undue precautions.
    You have rightfully said that this pandemic resembles the Spanish flu pandemic and will take it’s own course to end.

    But until then it is our job to act responsibly so that the sufferings end soon. With the numbers going down people should not start living their routine lives and follow all the required precautions. If not, we may soon see a third wave which might have a greater impact on the children and can be catastrophic.

  3. Today’s Indian scenario may be nature’s punishment for our hubris and greed. While leaders were discussing QUAD and fighting elections, the slow but sure buildup of devastation was missed. This time, not just poor but all barring the super-rich and most powerful suffered.

    The catastrophe bared our society’s divisive wounds. The system failed most of us. Knowing and acknowledging ‘What is’ is essential for advancement.

    What is next? Professor Tiwari has summed up and analysed future scenarios and building over this structure is the key. The Foundation of an action framework has been presented, it is for us to make the most of it.

  4. Wonderful and well crafted blog Bhaisab. You have depicted the true scenario of current situation which is cunningly planned and successfully executed by vulture politicians, media and opportunists.

    In comparison to other countries COVID was well under control in India when Center was handling.
    The situation worsened after States insisted to deal on their own just for their personal gains, profiteering and above all political reasons by even compromising hundreds of thousands getting sick and thousands of innocent lives.

    We can only pray for opposition wisdom and a selfless responsibility towards the nation keeping all their enormities aside. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. Prof Tiwari, Thank you for offering a realistic reflection of what happened and continues to happen in the Great Subcontinent in wake of the SARS-CoV-2 infection, sadly so many lives have been lost and many still are ailing in the facilities that are not optimal for their care and the outstretched human resource for health ill equipped let alone their insufficiency to meet the need.

    The picture being painted in India isn’t unique as all LMIC (low and middle-income countries) share the hurt, least prepared for a disaster of the kind currently being dealt with (not that we are ready for other any kind), its as if we are living the adage of ‘experience is the best teacher’ doing our utmost to experience every situation before enlisting mitigating measures while neighbours are dealing with one and learning from them, I hope this pandemic has done more than stimulate our thinking but has helped us refine while reforming the way we address such challenges now and in the future.

    While the World Health Organization has been at the forefront, I believe this pandemic has taught us of the importance of a unified approach in fighting diseases of international public health importance, what worked for New Zealand and Australia should have been encouraged for all Countries save none! If it was effective for Israeli human beings it should be effective for humans elsewhere in the world, this is a very serious wake up call!

    While the World Wide Web is meant to alert, inform and teach, sadly during this pandemic it has served so negatively that conspiracy theories against the disease and the vaccines have been perpetrated without marching rebuttals that in certain regions of the World they are held as though they were the very facts! I hope in the future ways will be engaged to filter out such negative influence, but end of the day, lessons have been learned, science has won, humans have been born and others slept in death, we thank God for the privilege of life!

  6. Excellent article! The fact is presented straight – As was the Spanish Flu in 1918, this time also the pandemic will run its full course over the globe before becoming non-fatal. Instead of 4 years as it took a 100-year earlier, due to large scale vaccination this time, it may take a year less. Vaccination, wearing a mask, and social distancing is the only way out and nothing else would work.

    As a biology researcher, I want to talk about ‘variant’. Every time the virus jumps from one host to another it mutates. There are roughly 30,000 elements in the SARS-CoV-2, which we can see as spellings in the genetic code. Every time a virus copies itself there are few spelling mistakes and text becomes a little different. This is called mutants. When a pattern, a cluster of spell changes, gets formed it is called a variant.

    We have detected around 25,000 mutations in 7,000 variants of the virus currently under circulation. There has been a British mutant, then South African mutant, Brazilian mutant, and now Indian mutant is being called. Many more would follow. Things are not going to change by talking more. Biology truth is further mutants will be more infectious but less fatal.

  7. Thank you for this well-crafted article, Sir. This is a fresh look at the entire situation and clearly lays out the roles and failings of all players in the system – state governments, hospitals, media, scientists and intellectuals, airlines and hotels industry, and the public themselves — in the current crisis. How easy to overlook all these and make the central government’s failure, the only narrative!

    As you point out — fixing oxygen supply as the missing piece is an oversimplification. The problem is deep, has stemmed from hubris of players individually and also their interplay. Perhaps, apart from arrogance and violence, also the unwillingness to let go of selfishness and greed. One instance of the apathy of the medical system is Delhi private hospitals that were built on subsidized government land. In retun, they were required to reserve free treatment to the poor to a certain extent – but had not been not complying for years!

    People often say that Covid is a teacher. Indeed, and as long as the lessons are not learnt, waves will keep coming and subsiding. My surmise is — it will be one country after another, and good health infrastructure will be a necessary, but not sufficient, condition to beat the pandemic. Countries, organisations, institutions and individuals — all will be forced to clear up their own debris, which may be continually scraped and thrown up.

    A new way of living, which includes moderation in living (and right diet, activity, recreation) as well as stoicism may finally emerge. Until then masks and social distancing will be the feeble protection.

  8. Challenging times for everyone indeed. Let us ignore people who like to thrive on other’s discomfort. This phase will also pass.

    Let us be strong mentally and physically and in our own way educate the masses. Let us also strengthen the hands of the people who help others.

    Our strength lies in hope and we know that there is hope for those people who believe in it. We know the prayer ” सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु, मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् (May All be Free from Illness. May All See what is Auspicious, May no one Suffer). Let us therefore pray and act.

  9. It is quite sad to witness the tragedy India is enduring. Although I live in the US, I have many friends who are Indian and I hear firsthand the stories of loved ones passing due to no oxygen or simply poor management of the situation by family members and hospital staff. Biased media stories were also evident here in the US and are sure to continue.

    There will be many debates and writings for sure in the coming years ahead analyzing the COVID-19 pandemic. What really happened in China? Did governments react effectively? What could have been done differently? What have we learned to be better prepared for the next pandemic? My hope is that the future rhetoric will be based on facts and science just as your blog has so clearly depicted the situation in India.

  10. Humility is indeed the lesson of the pandemic, throughout the world. Covid-19 has showed inadequacies in Western governance, just as it now shows us we, too, cannot escape the consequences of our failures.

  11. Not a day passes without me pondering how much this pandemic has affected us, taught us and helped us introspect of ourselves and of our lives whilst leaders and frontline warriors across the world continue to battle a global mission to save the World!

    The complexities of human survival have boiled down to staying in our dens and it is quite normal to be overwhelmed with good and bad news. Yes, the pandemic is a universal human experience which is also forcing us to reevaluate our priorities and behaviors across a range of dimensions.

    Work that results in essential services, the relative importance of economic output, and our obligations toward the society are inter-related. Take one for granted and the entire circle falls out of place resulting in small to big disasters.

  12. Hi Arun Tiwari, Your blogs are simply amazing for me and I’m sure for all the readers! I really enjoyed this blog and the one on clock towers. Wonderful! Many thanks. Waiting for your next blog please.

  13. Sir, such a thoughtful article! I feel every effort that was put forth in controlling the pandemic during the first wave crumbled when the second wave hit. Relaxation of COVID-19 guidelines, disregarding advice, ignorance of the citizens, a fragile healthcare system that couldn’t support it’s people, all contributed to the current state of where India is.

    “Be humble, live with humility”, is my take-away from the article.

  14. Dear Arun, Your blog has correctly depicted the scenario prevailing in the country at the moment. Covid-19 pandemic has not only taught lessons to individuals but also to the societies as well. The irrational and inappropriate behavior of the public is the cause of second wave of Covid-19. If all of us would have followed Covid protocols, we could have controlled the pandemic and reduced the severity of the crisis.

    It is not the strongest person that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to the change. Those who oppose storm, falls and perish but one who remain humble and bow to the situation, survive.

    One should remember that no nation in the world is able to control Covid by increasing hospital beds, oxygen, ventilators etc. These are very impossible, temporary and expensive solution. If healthcare infrastructure was the answer, the developed western countries wouldn’t have had that many cases and that many fatalities.

    The simple and inexpensive solution is following covid appropriate behavior, observe social distancing, wearing mask, going out when it is very essential and maintaining good level of hygiene. Let us hope that we will learn lessons from the current situation and change ourselves to avoid further losses. Wish you good luck in your endeavours.

  15. When would the pandemic end? Your blog does not give an answer but indicates the reality – not immediately. And if we don’t observe discipline to break the contagion chain, things may become very difficult and even uglier than they are today.

    Lockdown is not the answer and the fragile Indian economy cannot sustain it. The solution therefore is to follow protocols by people themselves and not as an enforcement. The US has recovered, the UK has recovered by people taking upon themselves to defeat the pandemic.

    Two things trouble me: the vulture-like attitude of people, and the role of our leaders (to whom the word hubris applies most). If you watch any TV debate, you wonder if we are fighting a pandemic or each other? People who were ridiculing vaccines just a month back, are now asking for 100 million ‘right away.’

    As you rightly said, “Don’t get carried away and suffer despair. Be humble, live with humility, and like a reed, bend before the storm, waiting for it to pass by, which eventually it will, as it has to.” Keep writing and enlightening Sir.

  16. Dear Prof. Tiwari, Thank you for your critical and comprehensive commentary on the on-going COVID 19 management scenario in the country. It is true that overconfidence coupled with arrogance made us blind and we could not see the enemy returning with increasing gusto.

    The COVID 19 episode in the country has exposed the worst and as well as the best face of humanity. Everything was/is on sale on premium by hoarders, black marketeers, greedy and inhuman health workers. Unfortunately, in some cases, even medical professionals were/are involved – all aiming to earn easy money at the cost of human lives probably trying to recover their investment they made to secure admission in medical colleges through management quota.

    It has been a system’s failure – several factors contributing to it. The whole health infra-structure in the country needs revamping. Instead of 5-star corporate hospitals, which are beyond the reach of common people, we need a series of simple and practical hospitals reflecting the ground realty of our poor country. The medical education also requires complete reorientation. Instead of being money-oriented, it should be service-oriented to inculcate human values in the minds of graduating medical professionals.

    Your parting advice – “Be humble with humility…………………………and plan your life a little more meaningfully” does have a sobering effect on the readers reminding them of their vulnerability and mortality while giving them some solace in this unpredictable world.

  17. “Don’t get carried away and suffer despair. Be humble, live with humility, and like a reed, bend before the storm, waiting for it to pass by, which eventually it will, as it has to. Know your limitation of being a mortal and plan your life a little more meaningfully.”

    Excellent message Sri Arunji.. This sums up how we are a broad society should act in the current circumstances..

    And the other best thought that resonated with me was around the “hallmarks of hubris – arrogance of doing no wrong and doing nothing”..

    It has been crazy times by all means.. And as you always say, we get what we deserve. Not sure how many of us will be able to achieve a balance between not being completely paranoid to the extent of overreacting many times and at the same time not being undisciplined & careless indirectly contributing more to the troubles of the times.

    As you said, the storm will pass through. It has to. Lets hope the nation bounces back with more positivity, hard work and innovation than ever before to cover for all the loses.

  18. A very relevant artcile in todays time. The second wave of covid has put all of us in a spin. But were we caught unguarded or did we chose to become complacent is the question we should ask? My guess it is a bit of both. We always find ways of getting into the blame game and never fail to seize an opportunity to criticize. May be this has to first change if we really have to address the crisis in the current form. While the Government could have been more vigilant or firm in seeing the necessity of conducting elections or other public activities, one must not forget that it is left to the individuals who also go and participate in such activities. Rules are good only when they are followed. At the end blaming someone always for activities that individuals do by choice is never going to work in any country be it developing or developed.

    While covid is showing its potential to make this pandemic a tough one to handle, the fear mongering done by people, negativity spread across all the time through various platforms has increased anxiety levels to a large extent that comorbid factors seem to be triggered by this kind of stress and anxiety making people more vulnerable to health issues. Nature has always a unique way of teaching people in a way that they understand if they chose to be ingnorant or take things for granted. We thought that the oxygen we breathe is free, only now to realize that a need to pay for this oxygen has come up. Are we realising the kind of disconnectivity that has set in within ourselves?

    We have been critical of the wisdom of our scientists who have indigenously developed vaccines and now are complaining of a shortage of these vaccines. Yes it is true that mismangement has probably happened at various levels for getting into this situation, but the important thing to do now is to create an environment of calmness by standing together and seeing if we can contribute in providing a solution and if we cannot at least try not to spread fear and anxiety to score points over one another.

    I am always reminded of Dr Kalam Sir’s words “dont tell me 100 stories of why things cannot happen, tell me one way of how you think you can make it happen”. I think being grateful for what we have and living simple life with humility, doing meaningful work and being positive is one way by which we can possibly handle this hour of crisis.

  19. Dear Arun Ji, The emergence of the second wave of Covid-19 should serve as an important lesson to India’s policymakers, political leaders, and citizens like us. The policy decisions must be guided by scientific considerations and field experience in handling public health issues. Unfortunately, there was a mistaken belief that India has defeated Covid-19. It was stated that we are seeing the end-game of Covid-19 in India. This belief led to faulty decisions regarding mass gatherings, procurement, distribution of vaccines, etc. As you have mentioned in your blog, there should be more humility and civil society orientation in the national as well as our personal lives.

  20. We’re living in a nightmare that we’d all like to put an end to. Hopefully, we will learn from our mistakes and remain vigilant in the future. And I agree with you Sir, the only way to get through this is to remain humble and self-disciplined until herd immunity is achieved.

  21. Dear Arun, Very well-written and well-thought-out article. Besides people being arrogant and ignorant current political leadership behaved in a manner that cannot be explained. Their confidence and public bravado as a nation that only a few months back had conquered Covid-19 convinced people at large that it’s ok to not take precautions.

    Rural folks do not believe that they can catch the virus. Like many people, my group interacts with told in Dec that ” Hum logon ko Covid nahin hota hai. Hum log gaon wale hain” Urban folks, I guess, believed the leadership, and threw caution to the wind.

    Since December, the US press has been amplifying the message that double masking is required in view of new mutants being much smaller than the original one. India’s health communication, I am not sure if they amplified this at all or not. It’s, not individuals alone. It’s the entire society, as you said right when seen as a system got misled and misguided.

    The fundamental questions and this is a serious one discussed in MIT’s Tech Review recently– How do you know what you know is true. Are we organized, in India and in many countries as well for that matter, in a way that one can trust the system– people, politics, politicians, processes, data, world view all being part of it.

    I am more and more confused about us. My pride as an Indian is hurt when my near and dear ones are dying for the lack of facilities. The senior citizens are losing their income to the hospitals to treat their young sons and daughters. They will be impoverished forever.

    Not simple. We will continue to pay a heavy price to learn. Covid-19 is a great teacher. But will it succeed in teaching us who knows? These days nobody can say much. Keep writing and keep illuminating.

  22. Sir, a very soulful blog. It took me to the Bible: “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” (Romans 12:16). I have come to India on vacation.

    I am indeed shaken by two things. (1) how widespread is the mediocrity in the healthcare system, and (2) a general attitude of insensitivity to the pain and suffering of the fellow being. Hope and pray that it passes off like a dark cloud. Thank you Sir.

  23. Dear Sir, you have hit the Bull’s Eye in identifying the role of hubris, what we generally call pride or arrogance. Just two months back, leaders and government officials were patting themselves on the back. India was the “pharmacy of the world,” they said, and its cheaply produced vaccines would help end the Covid-19 pandemic globally.

    First the crisis of oxygen, black marketing of Remdesivir, and now floating dead bodies in Ganga River made such boasts sound foolish, at best, today. Even vaccine doses are running short. We unwisely believed our own rhetoric about having bent the curve of infections after imposing the world’s strictest lockdown last year.

    Most pathetic was when new strains of the virus began to emerge, some of them from India’s own hinterland, they were wishfully ignored? Or perhaps it was too late. The picture of ‘great’ Bruce Lee with mask and glove gesturing pandemic to stop is indeed the reality of today. It is high time that instead of blaming government for everything, we take charge of our own lives and modify certain behaviors.

  24. Very timely and several pertinent issues are raised in this blog. A very lucid account of the pandemic has been portrayed. Several learning points have been touched in this blog. We have touched the surface of moon and are flying helicopters at mars, but a tiny virus has shown vulnerability of human race. This pandemic teaches us to be disciplined. Are we? Secondly, so much effort is being put by health workers and several organizations, they deserve to be projected more and more to boost morale of the society and the himanity at large.

  25. Thank you Arun ji, You have hit on the nail. When I led Crisis in my life couple of times, I learnt to be more humble and more humane. I analysed, reviewed causes for systemic failure and strengthened capabilities to cope with it to manage better in future.

  26. The placid waters turning suddenly into waves of unprecedented fury, a drop of milk for a ripple in the tea cup to a typhoon spilling into the saucer or a soothing gentle breeze unleashing into a 100 Mt dash for a hurricane of mass destruction is how I can describe the present Covid – 19 statuses in India, unique, exceptional, unmatched and unparalleled.

    Our callousness, unpreparedness and ‘chalta hai’ attitude clubbed to several known and unknown factors has cost us dear. It couldn’t be worse than claiming humanity world over. The ground beneath our feet, the pious rivers of our country is stunned with the unabated receipt of humans or their ashes. The tunnel is dark and too long, with just an iota of light visible at the far end…. It seems far away.

    You have hit the nail on its head Arun ji for this is THE topic at present which needs to be understood, evaluated, researched and definitely addressed.
    Right you are, we never learnt our lessons from the ‘first wave,’ Unaware about the efficacy of pandemic a year back, unprepared medically both in logistics and its cure and struck badly financially when everything came to a grinding halt we should have learnt. It was a herculean task to come out of it but slowly and steadily we did limp back thinking – thus far and no further. We having burnt our fingers should have prepared ourselves well for the lesson learnt the hard way but alas we didn’t.

    The full stop in our lives of around three months be it in entertaining, get-together, merry making, traveling, business to earn money, rallies or similar which had forced us to stay indoors and remain cut off was immediately forgotten. To regain life like before corona times with vengeance seemed to be the call. And there we are…. Having dug our own graves.

    The ‘second wave,’ didn’t give us breathing time. No time for a systematic lock down no ‘Thali’ or ‘Diya’ business and no steps to be climbed one at a time towards recovery. The time given by Covid 2 is just few days and any lethargy or error in the small initial window of 10 days means mortality is looming on the horizon. It simply snatches the oxygen. Helpless we were and we are.

    The blame game is endless and futile. Simply put all have failed, us as citizens, the administrators and the government. All have erred and all need to accept their follies. The need of the hour is to be agile and vigilant, to understand and not to panic, not to politicize and not try to dupe and make money, to follow the guidelines, the basic need of mask, sanitizing and social distancing, to remain mentally and physically strong and to go in for vaccination.

    As predicted there would be a third wave too, let’s better be prepared for we do not know what atrocities it will bring. Forget Covid, there could be other similar or all together different wave or some sort of calamity bent upon destroying mankind… not in our hands but having perception of all such similar destructive possible challenges several bodies or groups need to be formed like Disastrous management boards to scientifically keep on evaluating, to keep a vigil on any perceived threats – Climate related, Ocean, Air, Wind, Earthquake, Fire, Military, Medical, geopolitical, transcendental and allied. Something like a weather forecast of current times – May not be correct but surely does give a warning. We can definitely try, make efforts and not be caught snoring.

    The world will never come to an end. Life goes on and so shall we.

  27. Dear Sir, In India Ravana is known for his arrogance that brought him to pick up a fight with Shri Rama that led to his destruction. At every step his wife, brother Vibhishana, and other counsellors advised him to repent but he did not stop.

    We were having Kumbh Mela, Holi, election rallies, and even cricket matches. No one was wearing masks. Social distancing was never observed. And then in a few weeks’ time everything has collapsed. Now, focus is on vaccines.

    Make no mistake, vaccines are a vital and powerful tool. But they are not the only tool. It will be not sooner than six months before half of our people will be vaccinated. Physical distancing works. Masks work. Hand hygiene works. Ventilation works. And no crowding work to stop infections and save lives.

  28. Dear Sir, You have explained everything related to Covid-19 very strategically in this article. When I compare with people of Australia, we as Indians have totally failed to handle the pandemic during second wave. In my opinion, it has happened due to the arrogant behavior of large number of people across the nation. Intially, government has handled well and explained everything to the people how to behave in this pandemic situation but we didn’t listen and took a very light approach, better to say arrogant approach of “कुछ नहीं होता ” and the devil started working.

    In Sydney, Australia, I have seen the fellow citizens following the Covid-19 protocols very strictly without much intervention by government and that’s why everything is under control here.

    Yes, population is a biggest challenge in India now, which is now started showing its sign in failure of system. India seems to be facing more serious problems in near future because of the rising population. Now, it’s time to do something to control the population or else the things will be out of control.

  29. Sir, I am amazed how neatly you decoded the current crisis. Your message to lie low and let the COVID-19 pass away is most accurate. I am also reminded of a story I read in my school and am tempted to share it here.

    There stood a Giant Oak near a river surrounded by some slender Reeds. When the wind blew, the great Oak stood proudly upright with its hundred arms uplifted to the sky. But the Reeds bowed low in the wind and sang a sad and mournful song.

    The Oak laughed at the Reeds. Poor Reeds, the slightest breeze that ruffles the surface of the water makes you bow your heads, while I, the mighty Oak, stand upright and firm before the howling tempest.

    Soon, a great storm arrived. The Oak stood proudly against the storm, while the yielding Reeds bowed low. The wind redoubled in fury, and all at once the great tree fell, torn up by the roots, and lay among the pitying Reeds. Better to yield when it is folly to resist than to resist stubbornly and be destroyed.

  30. Arrogance or stupidity? Greed, anti-intellectualism, and anti-science sentiment continue to fuel this ignorance. Poor policy decisions, not based on science but on political or economic expediency, result from this ignorance. Floating dead bodies in the Ganga River is a shameful display of a rotten society. Where have we arrived?

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