The ‘modern population’ had been very busy of late. They were so much engrossed in their work and they so selfishly indulged in their personal life that they were desperate for having a break! Social media which is closer to the modern man than anything else got filled with memes, photos and stickers which read, “Only if Sunday to Saturday were weekends”, “All I need is to be locked up in a room with internet and pizzas”, and many of this sort. They say collective prayers have better chances of being answered. This prayer too was answered by the Almighty when the deadly Coronavirus made its appearance in Wuhan late last year.
Only after a few months of its arrival, this virus has become a pandemic which has forced people in almost all parts of the globe to remain under quarantine. The world, more or less, is in the state of a complete lockdown. Since its inception, the world has witnessed many calamities and disasters, both natural and man-made. But, the distinctive nature of this pandemic is that it doesn’t distinguish among its victims.
The virus originated from a fast developing country China and spread to developed nations like Italy, America, and Japan and also in many developing and under-developed countries. Today all the countries which find mention in the globe have been affected by this novel virus. It has killed several thousand people all over the world. Even countries with best medical facilities like Italy haven’t been able to contain its spread. The most advanced nation of the world, the United States of America has the most number of patients suffering from Coronavirus. Also within a nation, the virus seems to make no disparity. While the Queen of Spain has died from the virus, Prince Charles of England, British PM Boris Johnson and British Health Minister are currently suffering from this deadly virus. Today all the rich, wealthy and upper class people including the Kings and Queens, Dukes and Duchesses and even top bureaucrats are equally vulnerable to this virus as are their counterpart in the society. Everyone in the world, no matter to which class of society they belong, irrespective of their caste, creed, race, religion and gender are reduced to the same thing today- a prey of the novel Coronavirus.
All modern technology invented by the modern man have become futile today. No nuclear weapon can destroy this virus. The trade has stopped worldwide. Economy has sunk drastically. The aeroplanes which had passengers competing for tickets to travel across the globe are themselves competing for space to halt. Life has come to a stand-still. The wish of an extended period of rest and leisure has been granted to man but it has also betrayed man’s belief that he is the greatest of all creatures and only the privileged and powerful can sail through difficult times.
May be that was the need of the hour. Amidst this chaos, pollution has decreased all over the world, the air quality index has improved in most regions, the aquatic animals reign in their kingdom after long, the water bodies are breathing again after getting respite from chemical and other industrial waste. Nature has found its own way of healing. It has given man a chance to introspect and realize that humanity comes above everything else and man cannot survive without maintaining a balance in ecology and in the society.
René Girard, the French critic, wrote in a famous essay that “the distinctiveness of the plague is that it ultimately destroys all forms of distinctiveness”, and today we witness it in reality.
By Sweta Mohanty