With the second wave of Covid-19 hitting the country more severely the stories of stigma and trauma and also the tales of valour and heroism come to the fore. During these trying times many are found abandoning their Covid-infected dear and near ones due to the fear of infection. The victims of Corona virus are stigmatised by their own kith and kin and are passing through a trauma. In these days many Organizations volunteer to help those who are abandoned by their relatives so that they do not go through a disgraceful phase.
In Chandigarh a person contacted a NGO to help a woman suffering from Covid-19. Her husband neither admitted her to hospital nor provided her food and medication at home for fear of infection. The NGO came to her rescue by taking her to hospital and she got much-needed treatment. Some people are unwilling to accept their dear and near ones back at home from the hospital even after they are certified negative. Many bodies await burial or cremation as the family members do not want to claim them. Pathetic were the scenes of bodies strewn on the banks of Ganga or floating in the river as their relatives were unwilling to give them a decent funeral. Their relatives preferred to retreat to the cocoon of self-preservation and security. Has blood relationship lost its soul? A country known for family values does no longer exude warmth.
The trend began last year as the cases of Covid-19 soared up and the country started closing itself, the people abroad started returning home. But their near and dear ones were unwilling to welcome them in their own homes. The adage ‘Blood is thicker than water’ seems to have lost its significance in Covid times.
Though the relatives and the extended family of Covid patients were not ready to accept them, the help started coming from strangers, neighbours and social workers unknown and unseen. These are the Good Samaritans. Culture of genuine human bonds transcends bloodlines, religion, caste, colour and regionalism. This is a new narrative to human relationships.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus speaks about a man (Jew) who was stripped, beaten up and left half dead by the robbers on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho. He was helped by a Samaritan who had compassion on him. Prior to that two Jews, a priest and a Levite who saw him passed by on the other side without coming to his rescue (cf. Lk: 10:25-37). It is an example of the human relationship which transcends the racial discrimination. Love for each other is ingrained in our hearts.
We all belong to ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (Universal Family of God) and are called to live in love and unity as brothers and sisters transcending all differences. Covid-19 has given us a new narrative of recognising every person next door as our brother or our sister and to come to their rescue when their lives are in danger.
Let us raise a toast in honour of our key workers: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, journalists, police, drivers and social workers who are at the front line during this Corona virus pandemic and as such are exposed to different hazards that put their lives at risk.