Who Let Their Guard Down?

As more marketing events will be planned while people are kept in the dark and eventually being blamed for dying, the doctors have again warned the government of a third wave.

The day of rhetoric and loud proclamations just got over on the longest day, also the longest stretch day, being International Yoga Day and all, with our supreme leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi also stretching more than a bit of imagination. That 56- inch chest must be rather scrunched, with no loud chest-thumping till this day, hence, suddenly, a Baahubali chest was puffed out, packed with inflated Covid-19 data. Speaking of inflation, which is what should be checked and brought down is being conveniently overlooked; this is the tragedy of our government, managing narratives for popularity. Meanwhile, petrol price in most cities has coolly crossed ₹100 per litre. A majority that voted for this Bharatiya Janata Party-led government buys these loud claims while those who don’t, especially journalists who ask questions, must face threats of arrest or worse.


Petrol price in Mumbai crossed Rs 100/lit mark last month. (Credit- PTI)


On Yoga day, June 21, the PM said, ‘‘When Covid emerged, no country was prepared. At this time, yoga became a source of inner strength”. As you can see, no specifics of who, when, where and how? Don’t ask silly questions, one has to remind oneself, once the supreme leader states, it has to be taken verbatim. I am sure many like me, must be wondering where was this strength for those 3.89 lakh who simply lost their battle to the virus and have been included in the total death tally. Or is it the strength the supreme being has, to tackle such harsh realities? No wonder he and other leaders had just disappeared from the public eye.

A more interesting claim made on this very day was, “In collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO), India has taken another important step. Now there will be M-Yoga app, which will have yoga training videos in different languages for people across the world”. Just Google the WHO site, there is NO mention of such claims for collaboration. Yes, so similar to the claims for inner strength, one paragraph on yoga day tells us how yoga helps people develop immunity to non-communicable diseases. WHO does NOT confirm any collaborations and initiatives. Or, is it more like the national anthem being selected as the best by UNESCO? We have a predictable pattern of claims being made on the University of WhatsApp and they are always backed by connecting them to leading institutions without any verification. Time and again such claims have been made, obviously not followed up by leading mainstream media. In the interim period, the Prime Minister of Nepal has claimed yoga originated in Nepal and not India. I wonder often whether the narrative management even crosses borders and it is arranged well enough to distract a nation of billion people who have just put up photographs of various postures across the social media platforms.


On 7th International Day of Yoga, PM Modi announced the arrival of a new M-Yoga app in partnership with WHO.


Claim three made on yoga day on Twitter: “Today’s record-breaking numbers gladdening.” For the first time in four months, India allegedly saw a record spike in vaccinations, as 85 lakh people got the shots. See, as I told you, a lot of stretching has been done and now it is time for us to give some exercise to our brains to do some calculations. If you visit the CoWin site, you will find it interesting, that all the BJP-led and alliance government states got deliveries of vaccines – Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh got the maximum – 58 per cent – share of this total of 85 lakh. In fact, the struggle of the Maharashtra government continues, as Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said their government needs 120 million doses of the vaccines to fully vaccinate 60 million people. The state, on June 19, delivered 3,81,765 doses, but on June 20 delivered only 1,13,109 and on June 21, 3,81,765 doses. Maharashtra on June 22 updated data shows it administered 5,59345 doses.

The point is, there are way too many fluctuations and moreover, the huge disparity in demand and supply which now the Central government needs to address. The government did not conveniently inform the public of this dramatic spurt, but the stark jabbing fact is this: only 3.7 per cent have taken both doses of either Covishield or Covaxin, while 16.7 per cent have taken only one shot, with the majority, 80-85 per cent, still not being inoculated. What is even more pathetic is that most of the mainstream media lapped this proclamation without doing any homework. Not much had to be done, except make an intern look up the three-day data for different states, BJP and non-BJP-ruled, to get an idea and voila, there would have been a story. It would have made the graphics on television screens, but sadly, citizens have been denied this basic information and yet again, the people of this country have been let down.


Fluctuation in overall vaccine doses administered in the country. (Graphics: Hindustan Times)


It brings us back to the root of this problem: that the government, instead of admitting to its failure to prepare for the second wave and contain the unnecessary deaths, has rubbed not just salt, but has poured a more fiery chili powder on the wounds. So far, officially, 3.89 lakh have died of Covid and most were deaths that could have been avoided. Instead of announcing a pumping of funds to the health sector, adding infrastructure to already existing government hospitals, we have the head of the country speaking like Alice in Wonderland. Worse still, these 3.89 lakh, whose lives were gone so cheaply, should cause us, the still standing, mortal shame. The government of India has refused to compensate their deaths, they were to be blamed for it. Sadly, the government told the Supreme Court, Covid-19 it could not pay Rs 4 lakh compensation per deceased, as doing so would exhaust the disaster relief fund. This government needs to be asked why are they going ahead with that obscene Central Vista project that is costing our nation Rs 20,000 crore. Let us go a step further and ask how much money has been donated to the PM Cares Fund, which has received donations of approximately Rs 12.41 crore. To make matters worse, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan went on to blame citizens for their plight, both living and dead. He claimed, while the corona virus mutated, people let their guard down, leading to the second wave. Now, this is nothing but a lie because right at the beginning of the second wave, scientists’ warning were blatantly ignored by the Union government.

For the government, it is business as usual. In fact, it has set up two Parliamentary Committees, to discuss Covid-19 concerns, which were expected to meet on June 23. Prior to the meeting, Congress Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi held a press conference on June 22 and said the party had issued a white paper, giving specific recommendations— he has asked to implement an all-party committee to review the pandemic containment measures, decentralise decision-making, prepare for the third and future waves, give Rs 4 lakh compensation for all Covid-related deaths and implement relief measures.

As more marketing events will be planned while people are kept in the dark and eventually being blamed for dying, the doctors have again warned the government of a third wave. They have urged the states to avoid easing the strict lockdown norms. In this period, in fact, Maharashtra faces an even more daunting task, with 21 cases of the Delta-plus variant being found in the state. The health minister said it is highly infectious. It is time for the Union government to have more direct interaction with the states and allow them to take decisions to save lives.




Neeta Kolhatkar is a senior journalist with over 30 years of work experience across different media platforms. She is currently a freelancer and media consultant.

(Views Expressed Are Personal)

Dear Readers,
As an independent media platform, we do not take advertisements from governments and corporate houses. It is you, our readers, who have supported us on our journey to do honest and unbiased journalism. Please contribute, so that we can continue to do the same in future.

Related posts