02 Aug 2020  |   04:59am IST

Govt cannot win the pandemic war all by itself

Govt cannot win the pandemic war all by itself

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant now says ‘bhivpachi garaz na’ with a added rider: as long as you get yourself tested and admitted on time. It’s difficult to understand the CM's bravado, even as people continue to succumb to the virus and leave the world without even a proper funeral. Those of us still alive and breathing should read between the lines of this 'mantra', exercise caution and stay safe. After all, an ounce of prevention is always more than a pound of cure and survival is not compulsory –its our choice!

On my way home the other day, I bought some bananas from this fruit vendor on the highway in Verna. She handed me the change and then wiped her hands with a sanitizer kept near her cash box. I was amazed and I told her so. It made her happy.

A kilometre away, on the Cansaulim-Verna road, a fisherwoman had just arrived with a basket full of fresh mackerels from the all seasons fishing Bay of Hollant in Velsao, Cansaulim. Within minutes over 25 people materialised from nowhere and were almost falling over each other (some with their masks pulled down) to buy her prized catch... The lure of fresh ‘bangde’ made everyone quickly forget the lurking dangers of the deadly corona virus. For all my weaknesses for "recheado bangdo", I could only manage a glimpse of my favourite fish from a safe distance.

These are two contrasting behaviours that need to be understood by us. We can either learn from the fruit vendor or act as if there is no tomorrow like the irresponsible fish lovers to wilfully throw our lives in danger. Lockdowns are all fine as and when circumstances demand. But what we need most is a behavioural change! For how long can you lockdown a State/nation?

If we are to rise up to challenge of the prevailing grim situation and survive the deadliest pandemic in recent human history, we need to have a healthy fear. Bhivpachi garaz asa!

No, not the fears that would intimidate us into a state of despair and non action. Our fears should trigger the Survival Optimization System within and get us into making all possible sacrifices and taking all possible steps to safeguard ourselves and others during these most difficult times. Fear is an inbuilt survival mechanism that protects us. We don't play with poisonous snakes or run around on rooftops, do we? Like fools who rush in where angels fear to thread, let us not play around with an invisible, little known deadly virus that has killed close to a million people worldwide within a matter of a few months.

The government cannot win the pandemic war for us all by itself. The vicious circle of infections and recoveries that has taken the shape of a raging forest fire won't stop unless we citizens rise up to the challenge. This is also not the time to expand businesses or make huge profits and money. The survival and well-being of self, near and dear ones itself should be counted as a huge profit. Nevertheless, this down time can be productivity utilised to learn new things or hone up ones skills so that you get a head start when things normalise.

The reason why Europe is back on its feet is because of behavioural change voluntarily implemented by their citizens. The reason why USA suffers is because conservative Americans refuse to change their behaviour. Same is the case with Brazil as with India.

Viktor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth, survival and our freedom.”


Iddhar Udhar