Kaushal Kishore | Follow on Twitter @mrkkjha
In the second week of last December the corona virus came out of the Pandora’s box. This outbreak of the flu is known as COVID-19. Since then onwards Isabel Hilton keeps us posted in the China Dialogue. The city of Wuhan in Hubei province of the southern China is in focus. People across the nationalities are shaking out of its fear. Never before in the history, Namaste was noticed so vividly. It replaced all the romanticism of kisses and hand shakes. India has fallen prey to it before last week of March. The chaos in the cities and villages are also clearly visible. And this is not going to calm down soon. In 100 days a million victims are reported, including 200000 recoveries and 50000 casualties. Situation in India is bearable so far as infection is concerned, but fear of the trinity of chaos, inflation and recession is unbearable. Meanwhile, China has changed the New World Order, and the neighbourhood is yet to witness a civil war. The story of this pandemic remains incomplete in absence of its political economy.
The World Health Organization noticed the outbreak as an international crisis and declared it as a pandemic. Suddenly the transportation stops to redefine terms like globalization and nationalism. Janata Curfew on Sunday, 22nd March surprising extended to another three weeks of nationwide lockdown. The government announced its implementation in a hurry as the bureaucratic adventure. Next day the hoi polloi thronged onto the roads carrying bags and bundles on their heads. The unrest it creates has beaten previous such instance during the demonetisation. As a consequence the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tendered an apologise to the masses compelled to move towards the village. The ghost now fully active in the market is ready to teach its political economy to the hard working class as well.
The outbreak of flu before the end of World War I accounts for approximately 20 million casualties. It was referred to as Spanish Flu and Avian Flu. In the last couple of decades the world witnessed a series of dreaded diseases i.e. SARS, Bird Flu, Ebola, etc. The institutions like WHO and CDC (Atlanta) are also noticed to control the epidemic. Still the mutation of new species poses unavoidable challenges. The new type of influenza is a result of the mutation of corona virus known as SARS. Unfortunately its birthplace is in the China and its utility as a biological weapon is also not impossible. The text book of history in the China clearly narrates how the USA used biological weapon in the Korea War, five years after the nuclear attacks in World War II. The Trade War between the two superpowers introduced us with the Virology Lab at Wuhan. The world is curious to know what happened there?
My time line is full of reports dealing with cases of COVID-19 from USA, Italy, Spain, Iran, etc. It seems the rising number is not ready to stop soon. At this juncture, Prime Minister of Norway contributes 210 million dollars, and British Prime Minister 210 million pounds to procure its vaccine. The distribution of relief packages in different countries is yet another part of the same saga. The stock market in Europe, United States and India crashed due to the fear. At the same time the flag representing the Chinese Corpocracy is flying high. Beijing has declared victory on the corona virus and its celebration is in the picture. The most populous nation has beaten the ghost in a very short span of time with the least casualties. As such the COVID-19 pandemic rendered a win-win situation for the Chinese authority.
The pressure on US President Donald Trump to support the lockdown is in public domain. He has been criticised in the media to act against it. The death toll there on account of influenza can reach close to 250,0000 in 2020. According to the American Institute of Virology, the average influenza-pneumonia death is 66,000 every year. WHO is also being criticised to favour the China. Again the world is compelled to move between the two poles. And this time United States looks like the dwarf before the China headed by Xi Jinping.
The China appeasement policy of India came into existence with the sacrifice of Tibet in 1959 due to the proponent of Panchsheel and the first Prime Minister. The same policy of Indo-China fraternity and brotherhood reflects from slogans like Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai. And the war in 1962 is the other side of the same coin. The Karakoram Project surfaced, two decades ago, connecting Pakistan and China together. Today OBOR (One Belt One Road) that encompasses through Asia, Africa and Europe on the Silk Route is its extension itself. In the twenty-first century, at Mahabalipuram and Wuhan, Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi seems to promote the same old policy. The formation of a grand alliance with Pakistan and Turkey on the issue of Kashmir is yet another reality. Here, the Mongol (Chinese) and Islam joined together to lead the world. The nationalist leaders predicted the emergence of such an alliance before the advent of the World War I. The questions that arise in this situation are not new. Whether India is destined to repeat the same old mistake? Or we will be successful to form the grand alliance with countries like Great Britain and United States? The foundation of such an alliance is yet another question pertaining to it. Leaders can easily turn away from questions, but the consequences. The thinking being needs to look into this crisis in the presence of sufficient light.
The state of Chinese Flu infection in India is still satisfactory. Here, the virus attack is not as dreaded as in the countries like Italy and Iran, proponents of Chinese Model of the Silk Route. The Prime Minister’s conversation with the doctors engaged in the treatment of COVID-19 patients at Pune and New Delhi bears certain ingredients to remove the fear. The mild infection as reported from both places are not less than the most needed solace. The talks on resistance of an Indian against the outbreak are often featured in mainstream now. My friend Dr. Onkar Mittal, a graduate from Maulana Azad Medical College, reacts with an idea of the cooperative for traditional health care practitioners to address the burning crisis. I believe this is something in the favour of my village. Meanwhile, Prince Charles has preferred the Homeopathy to recover from COVID-19 infection.
(Kaushal Kishore is the author of The Holy Ganga (Rupa, 2008), Managing Editor of Panchayat Sandesh and his column Across The Lines appears in the vernacular publications)