The coronavirus continues to spread across the world. Hardly anyone is untouched by its extraordinary transmissibility. We, in India, like in other parts of the world, are trying to break this alarmingly speedy transmission of infection through a national lockdown, social distancing and personal hygiene measures. Almost all religious institutions have now been closed and no religious congregation is being allowed, not only in India but in most of the affected countries around the world. We can win only if we act with wisdom, alacrity and a dispassionate understanding of the preventive actions.
Maharashtra witnessed a subdued celebration of Gudi Padwa, which marks the beginning of New Year in the state, as people stayed indoors in view of the national lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. Akshay Tritiya and Maharashtra day got cancelled.
Thrissur Pooram is one of the grandest temple festivals in Kerala that usually involves a flood of people visiting the Vadakkunnathan temple. One of the most important Poorams in the state, this festivity is especially loved by elephant-lovers who enjoy watching the grand activities of these majestic creatures all decked up. Thrissur Pooram 2020 falls on 3 May.
However, as we enter Lockdown 3.0 and with the current spread of COVID-19 in India, this annual festivity has been cancelled for the year. However, instead of being disheartened at the cancellation of Thrissur Pooram 2020, followers of this tradition are eagerly looking at the grand pictures of Thrissur Pooram from previous years and watching Thrissur Pooram 2019 videos to remind them of the extravagant festival.
Thrissur Pooram celebration usually sees the footfall of thousands who enter the Thekkinkadu ground and enjoy the traditional percussion orchestra which is known as ‘’ilanjithara melam’. Thrissur Pooram celebrations take place on the day when the moon rises with the Pooram star in the month of Medam. The celebration of Thrissur Pooram traditionally goes on for 36 hours and is filled with songs, dance and prayers.
However, with the absence of the grand crowds, this year’s celebration is bound to be a smaller activity with just the temple heads offering their prayers and seeking the blessings of the god. However, we can still enjoy this year’s Pooram celebration by revisiting the grand and eloquent celebrations that took place last year.
As the month of Ramzan has commenced, crowds were seen shopping and moving around at various places completely flouting the lockdown and joining the public gatherings. Delhi, Mumbai,, that witnessed a huge crowd on Friday morning despite lockdown orders. The Ramzan has increased the crowd in the markets in the city, which has the highest number of Coronavirus positive cases in the country.
The large congregation in Tablighi Jamaat’s Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi brought this stark unpleasant reality to our attention. This is a massive disruption in our lives. Our socio-cultural life is enriched by festivals and cultural events in which we mingle with each other and celebrate together. Social distancing is antithetical to the spirit of bonhomie and the collective celebration of life.
An “article on India Facts by Rakesh Krishnan Simha explains as to why Islamic countries impose strict lockdown codes on its citizenry and they comply whereas the Indian government goes sissy and the Ms assault doctors, strip before nurses, attack cops, etc,” wrote Surajit Dasgupta on his Facebook wall.
“Their rationale is simple; no detailed analysis is required for it,” the Sirf News editor-in-chief wrote.
“In an Islamic country, if you defy the lockdown, you end up infecting other Muslims. Here, when you defy, you intend to infect the majority Hindus, sacrificing a few Muslims in the process for the jihad,” Dasgupta wrote, adding, “Their strategy bears a stark resemblance with communist China. Use the people of Wuhan as cannon fodder; keep the country outside the Hubei province safe to inflict a pandemic on the world.”
“In either case, when the world is ruined or subdued, you rule,” Dasgupta concludes. This explains also why the community, of which Tablighi Jamaat is an organisation, but in which others are hardly separable by ideology, has been so belligerent in the defiance of the nationwide lockdown.
On the other hand, the widespread compliance by the Hindus — as also other non-Muslim communities — with the government order shows they really consider India their home. During the initial days, just the heads and representatives of just one did not comply immediately when the lockdown was announced. And those defiant religious heads did not belong to the jamaat, lest one should argue that the mistake of one outfit should not be attributed to the whole community. Those who assaulted policemen, doctors, nurses and cleaners in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh were not members of the Tablighi Jamaat. The commonality between the jamaat and them was their religion, not an organisation.
Another facet of this deliberate assault on humanity in this country is the disturbing trend of sporadic attacks on medical personnel, especially those who are fighting on the frontlines and braving the tremendous risk of getting infected. There are quite a few instances of doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and other social workers being stigmatised and denied housing facilities and viewed with deep suspicion as carriers of the virus. This is truly unfortunate and deplorable, especially in a country that has traditionally had had a highly reverential attitude towards doctors.
If the solution lies not in following the Islamic states like Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East — where Shari’ah law would meet defiance of government order with capital punishment — it is to lend full support to our police force and pressure all state governments to stand by their respective guardians of the law. This moral support is required, for the men in khaki may sometimes be unsure how their political masters in an India governed by distorted secularism would react to their honest discharge of professional duty. It’s not a question of discrimination on the basis of faith; it’s doing what you got to do for the law and for humanity. Watch the treatment police forces across the world mete out to violators of lockdown:
And now India: