Coronavirus in India: Standing together as a nation

Indians responded to PM Modi's call by claps and conchs on March 22 Image: India Today

Claps, conch shells and plates as they all erupted together on 22nd March 2020 in almost every nook and corner of India for five minutes as a gesture of gratitude for the hundreds of paramedical staff and workers on the frontline for Coronavirus Disease, India stood together as a nation showing solidarity together in the face of adversary, as one of its strongest traits. In the battle of us vs. them where the human race has divided itself on the basis of religion, caste, gender, boundaries, this grave danger has made us all stand together as one, against an unseen enemy. “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, which means the whole world is but a family stands truer than ever before, making each one of us realize how connected we are to each other and it is this interdependence in the time of an extraordinary crisis that has made equality the most apparent factor in today’s time.

Respect for nature is a lesson that we need to inculcate in our value system and imbibe in our daily lives. Humankind’s craving to control nature and twist and turn it for its own gain has resulted in a mass exodus by a microorganism that has humbled the Homo Sapiens. Nature is reminding us to quintessentially acknowledge with humility and look down on journey so far and plan for a sustainable future going ahead so that interdependently we can as one race join hands and fight a pandemic caused by our own negligence.

The Coronavirus wracking the whole world and making countries like Italy come to its knees, where the death toll has passed that of the country of the virus’s origin, is a product of China and the negligence by the Chinese government that helped create it and their cover-up of the virus sped the spread, making it a global pandemic. The immediate question here is not how we change our entire relationship with the planet, but how to make China take its responsibility seriously.

Read: China still withholding coronavirus information: Pompeo

U.S. President Trump/AP

Donald Trump quoting it as the Chinese Virus might instigate racism against Asian – Americans, but this can’t give the Chinese government a pass. CNN is carrying communist China’s water by deflecting blame for the virus only mentioning it in a pass, that the experts believe the virus originated in the wet markets of Wuhan where wild animals are held captive together and sold as delicacies or pets and a mix of viruses and species can occur. China must be held accountable for its actions not just as an act of justice but for matters of public safety. As the virus spread around Lombardy, the region that has by far the most trade with China and the home of Milan, it became a tragedy for the Italians. The Italian authorities fumbled with tough measures in the start of this contagion to protect the basic civil liberties as well as the economy. This lackadaisical approach cost them thousands of deaths and the piecemeal efforts to lock down the country eventually always lagged behind the virus’s lethal trajectory. Codogno and other red zone towns linked to the original outbreak faced the wrath of the Italian authorities’ protection of civil liberties with the death toll rising each day and almost no survivors who were shifted to the Intensive Care Units or were on Ventilator support.

China’s expanding global engagement with the WHO and its ambition to build a “Global silk road for health” has put the WHO in shallow waters. WHO’s complacence by delaying the decision on calling it a global emergency and endorsing China’s mid – January claims that there is no human to human transmission of the virus, consistent support of Beijing’s handling and criticism of other nations for imposing a travel ban on China has left an indelible mark on WHO’S character. This has raised strong questions about WHO’s leadership that has been accused of serving China’s interests rather than preparing the world against the spread of the virus and pointing Beijing’s success in leveraging International Organizations for its national advantage. In today’s multilateral world when standing together to fight a common enemy is the task at hand, WHO’s erratic response has chided not just USA but India as well.

Governments beyond Italy are now in danger of facing the same calamity if they repeat similar mistakes. The tragedy of Italy stands as a warning to Europe and the USA, where the virus is coming along with equal velocity. Italy’s experience clearly highlights that no matter how advanced the healthcare systems of a nation might be, to fight this virus it is absolutely essential to break the viral chain of transmission. With the growing number of positive cases and fatalities across all 188 nations where the virus is creating havoc, each nation is left to fend for itself first and then care about the others. In times like this, India sends a relief team to China when the virus was at its peak there and similarly the Chinese and the Russians have sent aid and relief to the virus torn Italy. Although such measures are appreciable, yet the harsh truth is that the first positive case is actually the most rigorous and active spreader and only social distancing is the most helpful remedy right now.

NEW DELHI, INDIA – MARCH 22: Indian policemen push barricades to place them in the centre of a road leading to historic India Gate, during a one-day nationwide Janata (civil) curfew imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 on March 22, 2020, in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

Having said so, for humanity to triumph against this unseen enemy, the global community has to stand together as one and help each other fight it in every possible way. Spain, Italy, Iran as they all suffer grievously because of their initial relaxed approach are desperately waiting for things to settle down and hoping for a miracle where they don’t have to choose between patients to let live and leave for dead. Once this global pandemic settles down, all nations must work together against transnational threats sensibly by taking concrete actions. Collective solutions must be developed both at domestic and international levels tackling the cost-benefit distribution.

Finally, looking at India and the increasing number of cases, the 21 days lockdown by the Prime Minister is a strict step in the right direction to stop this global pandemic from spreading in the foreseeable future. The stringent measures are taken by the Indian leadership to showcase a strong will. When the commonplace watchword for the era of globalization has been “all economics is global, all politics is local”, PM Modi’s initiative to mobilize the G – 20 will encourage a purposeful multilateral response.

As of now, New Delhi’s response in this Eurasian pandemic has been commendable, but a lot depends on people practising social distancing and for some time following the Hindu way of life. The Indian diaspora that is viewed as an asset should remain so in the post Covid world when normalcy returns and the global Indian will fly back. But at this crucial stage standing away means standing together and showing solidarity and togetherness is what will help us win this fight. With folded hands as the Prime Minister requested 1.3 Billion people for self – quarantine emphasizing on “world is, if life is”, we the people of India owe our medical and essential services staff the life of our nation.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Shivangi Gautam

Shivangi Gautam is an Electronics engineer and IR enthusiast, passionate about politics, literature, policymaking and the latest developments in the technological sector. She can be reached at

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