I felt it is Important to talk about the lockdown. Many people have taken it seriously and are remaining indoors and some have not realised the seriousness of the virus and its spread.
Due to these some, many may be affected. Luckily, the count of affected people, quarantined people and deaths is limited in India compared to many European Countries and US.
Government is doing their best and our hospitals and every person involved is doing their best. From Doctors, Nurses, support staff, housekeeping and Police.
Please understand that this lockdown is only for our good. I have witnessed lockdown at Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Nepal when Army takes over and you cannot move an inch from where you are or should stay within the house or room in a hotel.
*Kashmir incident *
While at Srinagar, when we landed at the airport in 1998, could see big military contingent and our worry started from there as I had never seen gun wielding persons before in my life.
First day, we (2 of us) went around in the market to look for raw hides and came back to the hotel. Suddenly, there was an urgency and we were asked to vacate the Hotel. Local friends put us in to Shikara (House boats) in the Dal Lake.
We were made to stay there next 3 days and could not move out. Now, we do not know how far this will go on.
The owners of house boats used to narrate how difficult their life was some years back when they were under fire from terrorist and also the military.
They had to send out all their young girls and boys to ensure their safety to Delhi or other cities.
4th day we were taken by our local friends and dropped at the airport. There were too many military checking on the way and we learnt that there was a bombing in the surrounding area a day before.
We could breathe easily only after reaching Delhi.
We knew and have seen the nice gardens, saffron fields, cheshma sayee, sankaracharya and all that. But, never could venture out as you may be fired at by the military wrongly thinking you as a militant.
This was in 1999, when a bomb blast hurt Chandrika kumaratunga and we were all locked up in hotels for two days. I have been traveling from 1995 and there was always an emergency situation and if we are put up in a hotel we cannot move out after 7pm or before 7am.
Survival itself was a question mark for all the Srilankan’s. Anytime, anything could happen.
June 2001, there was a big massacre and all of the Royal Family of King Birendra was wiped out.
I have been traveling from 2002 June to Nepal and have seen what emergency and lockdown mean.
Nepal – the first imagination comes about Kathmandu, mountains and serene nature. I also thought so and landed up at Raxaul. The last rail station of Bihar and Nepal starts from here.
I arrived there by 5pm and one of my business associate put me on to a hotel. I had my first shock looking at the village look and under developed situations in Raxaul and then on to Birgunj, in Nepal.
After I freshened up and went to the Restaurant down suddenly all lights went off and the manager came running to inform me that the Country is in a state of emergency and after 6pm all lights need to be shut down and need to remain the room only with candle. Food will be served at the room.
From this day, whenever I went to Nepal which was practically every month until 2010.
I have witnessed lockdown for 2 days, 4 days and up to a week. We will not be allowed to come out of the Hotel. These announcements will be by the maoists and everyone had to follow.
I have seen situations when all mobile connections were withdrawn for 5-6 months and how people suffered.
Moving from one city to another city was such a terrifying experience. Whether you go by car or bus, suddenly you will be asked to get down go for whisking and checking all your baggage and made to walk a minimum of one km at least.
There will be land mines on the way when you walk and with beer bottles on top of it. Nepalese used to get teased with such beer bottles, military people keep warning not to touch those beer bottles.
After crossing over, the bus from other side will take us and vice versa. Cars will have to go back.
There will be locked down in one city and other city will function.
Imagine the plight of these people in all these Countries and how they would have lived in fear all the time. Their survival was itself a question mark. I was only going there for business. But, I know how difficult it was to enter, stay and exit from Nepal during those period.
No electricity, No TV channels, No Internet or mobile connection and how they lived. Nothing seemed important more than their life and of their families.
Respect our Government, who is requesting us to stay home and not to take things easy. In all above places, the enemy was visible somewhere but, here this is an invisible enemy and we need to fight this out and it shows its ugly face only after a week or so when you get affected.
Respect and thank God that, we are still given enough freedom of electricity, TV channels, Internet and still we want to venture out welcoming our enemy.
*Unity across Political Lines
I would like to thank most of the political leaders who have behaved very responsibly at the time of National crisis and did not create any chaos or confusions.
Still, there are some whose only intention is to take political advantage on any given situation.
They are still trying to create unnecessary controversies for their own political gains. Please let us fight together till the Virus is eradicated and after that all “TU TU” can start.
Look at China. No one talks against the Government. If the Wuhan situation would have happened out of India, our political parties would have stripped off the ruling party in front of the World.
China is totally quiet. I have lot of friends and no one says anything about their or against their Government. Is it out of fear or Nationalism?
We are a democracy where anything can be spoken anywhere and let us use that freedom carefully.
Even Indians working in China do not open their mouth or can talk against the Government.
It is only a request that across all political lines, let us come together.
After the Virus is gone, let us make it as the practice. Take the cue from the American Senator that when we were fighting within us, China is developing and planning for the future. They have prepared themselves with 5G and Quantum Computers.
It was a shame that he mentioned that we all do not have a plan for next week and China has it for 5 years, 50 years and 120 years ahead.
These were statements from an American senator in the senate house.
Please read the below quote from none other than Napoleon
“China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move the world.
Same way Winston Churchill used to get terrified looking at the power of Mahatma Gandhi, who had a very simple cloth to cover his body and was preaching Satyagraha.
Have we lost all our strengths to get in to differences at a time of National crisis and come together always even after the crisis is over and prove the World that this is a land of Mahatma Gandhi.
PS: I am sure that every political party have some strong, long term thinking personalities and they all should come forward for a united India getting ready to lead the World in good intention and good deeds.
By Vasan. Suri