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Window Seat: Empire of Fake

20/06/2021 at 7:07 AM

After loads of fake news, crores of rupees worth fake medicines including the costlier than gold- Remdesivir – now we get the news of fake Covid test reports dispensed liberally at ‘devbhoomi’ Haridwar during Kumbhmela. No wonder, Haridwar showed very low rate of infection, which the pundits attributed to the mahima of paapnashini Ganga. 

The scale of the scam is so large, that it indicates hundreds of people must have ‘bought’ negative Covid reports to participate in Kumbh mela and take a dip in the holy river. How could a scam of this magnitude evade the police radar? The answer is clear. When religion and politics is mixed up the concoction paves the way for unscrupulous and greedy business men to take advantage of the situation. It happened in Haridwar. As a result the entire country suffered.

Consider the fake medicines people bought and consumed. Consider its impact on their health. And also consider its impact on their faith on the entire system. When the citizens begin to lose faith on the system- that is the beginning of anarchy.

The tentacles of the empire of fake is spreading fast and trying to throttle the country. We must take all steps to contain it.

Corona Mata Temple

We have had goddesses for diseases- Sitala Mata for example in Eastern India, who was supposed to heal or ward off small pox. It was but natural that we would have a goddess for Corona.

Last year in several villages in Karnataka, the villagers worshipped ‘Coronamma’ in sync with their age old tradition of worshipping the goddess to leave their village. In Assam, hundreds of ladies took ceremonious bath in rivers as part of a puja of Corona Devi.

And in June this year some enterprising persons in UP built a temple and installed an idol of Corona Mata- with a mask covering her face. On the ‘temple’ it was written- ‘Biswa ka ekmatra– the only temple in the world for Corona Devi. Within days, hundreds of worshippers started bhajan kirtan and began to offer money, clothes, etc. to keep their family safe.

The temple was subsequently demolished by UP police recently following a compliant.

But two points that needle me: a. why do we turn to the divinity to cure our disease- which is the domain of science; and b. why for most of the diseases we have a goddess and not god?


Cartoon cute crocodile. Vector illustration of funny happy alligator.

In the present times, several cartoons and other visual arts are drawn taking the crocodile and vulture metaphor. In public sphere too analogies taking these two creatures abound. In varying degrees they signify cruelty and deceit, opportunism and unscrupulousness.

However, if you go beyond the look of the two creatures- you’ll realize this is gross injustice to them. Both of them, especially the vulture actually help us to keep our environment clean. In fact the vultures are the sanitary workers nature has provided. Crocodiles, the largest reptiles in the world or their relatives have been around for an extraordinary length of time, their fossil remains having been found in rocks from the early Jurassic period, around 200 million years old. In comparison, the homo-sapiens, have been around just 2 lakh years. But we have managed to push the crocodiles to the brink of extinction. The gharial, a distinctive long-nosed species that eat fish, in India, the Philippines crocodile and the Chinese alligator are on the critically endangered list.

It is good that attempts are being made to protect the crocodiles. June 17 is observed as world crocodile day to highlight the plight of the endangered crocodiles and alligators sound the world. Crocodilian species found in India are Mugger or Marsh crocodile, Estuarine or Saltwater Crocodile and Gharial.

Surendra Mohanty@100

Surendra Mohanty wore several hats. He was one of the finest fiction writers of modern Odisha, politician, parliamentarian, editor and an erudite public intellectual.

Born on 21 June 1922 his initiation into politics happened early. He left his studies at Ravenshaw College to participate in Quit India Movement. The next four and half decades life took him through a roller coaster ride. He was twice elected to Lok sabha and twice to Rajya sabha, wrote over two dozen novels and equal number of short story collections, edited two daily newspapers (Kalinga and Sambad), became the president of Orissa Sahitya Academy, received Central Sahitya Aacademy award and had three children.

My first substantial interaction with him dates back to 1984 – me as a trainee reporter cum sub-editor and he as the editor of newly launched Odia daily Sambad. I entered his room and said “Sir, I want to write a weekly column in Sambad.”

He looked at me with his pair of large and piercing eyes, puffed on his cigarette and asked, “What kind of column?”

  • “A slice of life kind of column like Khuswant Singh writes”.

He flicked ash in the ashtray and told me “Write some pieces and show me.”  

I did that next day. Half an hour later, I was called to his room. He said, OK. write one. I have thought of a title for your column. Sambad Rojnamcha. Do you know what this word rojnamcha means?

  • Yes. It means daily dairy.

He smiled. At 23 I started writing my first weekly column in a major newspaper.

Thirty seven years later- whenever I sit down to write my columns- I remember him- who gave a break to a young man.

Teacher of the Year

Teacher of the year award should go to Covid-19. It taught us how to live our life amidst uncertainty. I taught us we can live a simple life. It also taught us the value of family.


You may have heard about allopathy, Homeopathy, Naturopathy. Have you heard about Googlopathy?

It’s the most modern branch of medicine, where patients prescribe medicines to the doctors.

(Courtesy: Social Media)

About the Author:

The columnist is a journalist turned media academician. He lives in Dhenkanal, a centr4al Odisha town. He also writes and translates fiction and poetry.


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