This Government’s touching faith in serving us ‘horse’s eggs’

ICMR now tells us that there were 6.5 million COVID cases in the country during May and June. The Government had claimed the figure to be just 85 thousand on May 15. How can one trust this Government?

This Government’s touching faith in serving us ‘horse’s eggs’

Ranjona Banerji

India now reports about 100,000 new COVID19 cases a day, the highest in the world. Our overall figures are above four million or 40 lakh. The Indian Council for Medical Research’s National Serology Survey results estimate that in May and June 2020, India had about 6.4 million or 64 lakh COVID19 cases while official tallies claimed only 85,000 on May 15.

This massive terrifying discrepancy only corroborates what doctors have been saying in private: that India’s COVID-19 positive numbers are much higher than official declarations. The same also applies to death figures. You will have of course heard all the arguments about great recovery rates, about how more people died of bee stings than COVID and all the other justifications, either from those obsessed with being “positive” or frantic to save the Narendra Modi government from any possible criticism.

By now, most of us know people affected by the virus, and sadly, people who have succumbed to it. We also know any number of people who ignore medical advice and even more who spend most of their day spreading false information about the virus. Meanwhile, several prominent citizens, many politicians, and those in government have also tested positive.

Maybe you have hidden yourself from 100,000 cases a day because it’s all become too much. Maybe you are struggling to cope with the aftermath of this virus, whether financially, socially, medically. Maybe you have decided that distraction in the form of a vicious witch hunt is the only way you can save your own sanity: destroy someone else in lieu of yourself.

But where are those people who are supposedly in charge? The Union Home Minister was unwell, one can only hope he is better because news about him has been thin indeed barring the cryptic news late on Saturday that he was re-admitted to AIIMS with breathing trouble.

The Prime Minister on the other hand, what can one say? Narendra Modi has done everything in his power to avoid the whole issue of COVID 19 as far as he possibly can. He made a few statements in March, claiming the virus would be done and dusted in 21 days. He implored the nation to bang pots and pans together and now ignores people banging their own heads together thanks to the condition he and his government have created. Now he has come up with another slogan suggesting that till a cure is found, people should not drop their guard.

You do know this of course. And do you care? Or is the endless stream of rubbish you receive from well-wishers about miracle cures made out of animal waste products enough to keep you safe from the virus, do you think? And even more, is the nightly baying for sacrificial blood on TV even better than a yet to be ready vaccine?

Or was that whole stunt of feeding peacocks enough to keep your mind virus-free for the next few months? Even better than a vaccine, that the Prime Minister of India walks about ignoring birds and then feeding them? Or that he talks about toys and dogs but not one word about what his government is doing about testing, containment, treatment of COVID-19? The very fact that he mentioned “self-reliance”, that has got you all excited and happy? What a prime minister! Wants us to become strong and do everything for ourselves?

The bad news, sisters and brothers, is that whatever we did ourselves, well, it didn’t work. Almost 100,000 cases a day means that self-reliance is a horse’s egg, to paraphrase the Bengali, unless you have spent seven months locked into your home with no access to the outside world. In fact, all promises made by this government are horse’s eggs.

I understand that “justice” and blood are all you want, but there is that small matter of jobs. Or rather, the job losses that are in their millions. The Prime Minister, who will not reveal evidence of his own educational qualifications gives anodyne or horse’s egg advice to students in general. Students though know that they face one of the worst years in recent history when it comes to their own education, their dreams and their future.

Acts of God is what the Union Finance Minister has said. It’s not quite working the way I thought, is what the External Affairs Minister says in a mild manner, now and then about the escalating situation with China. Other ministers keep their jobs by telling us that Modi is the greatest.

Without a doubt, the greatest mass delusionist ever. And he relied on us to get him there.

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