At the time amid the scares, when the entire world is struggling with the deadliest Coronavirus (COVID19), common people under conditions of obligatory home isolation and social distancing, government agencies desperately trying to stave the circumstances off using all its might in order to minimize the susceptibility of transmission of the virus, a section of people are still trying to be obtuse whose opinions are at odds with the rest of the society. The World Health Organization (WHO) is also concerned by the reports of individuals self-medicating in various ways which are causing themselves serious harm. The consequence, most obviously, is going to sabotage the effort of combating the pandemic and pushing a large population to potential life risk. These superstitious and disillusioned people have violated the government order and precautions prescribed for getting oneself sanitized, keeping household safe from any risk of the contagion, are rather trying to trivialize and label the pandemic as merely a supernatural and divine phenomenon showing utter desperation in countering the allegations against them with their parroted wisdom.
Following the Coronavirus outbreak and the formal declaration of COVID19 as a pandemic by the WHO, there have been superstitious messages, videos and rumours galore all around in social media with the prescriptions of healing the virus in tune with everyone’s own belief and understanding. It’s a dangerous phase in India started with the messages and videos shown some people condoning and consuming the urine of cows for healing Coronavirus, and still running in its extremely superstitious form of Tablighi Jamaat incident. A religious congregation was organized by Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin in New Delhi amid the lockdown imposed in the wake of pandemic violating all norms and conditions of social distancing and using personal protective equipment. Out of five hundred odd members from Assam who joined the event and subsequently returned home back are still avoiding necessary precaution and medical advisories. More disgusting and unbelievable is that some of those returned back home, presently in quarantine had the audacity to abuse and misbehave the doctors and nursing staff on duty. Despite the repeated appeal and strong instructions, most of the Tablighi Jamaat attendees are still hiding themselves, who have even dared to threaten the medical team and the police personal with stone pelting and manhandling.
Apart from these, some politicians and so-called social activists have echoed racist flavour of the entire episode of Tablighi Jamaat, terming the event of a particular religious minority to have intentionally defamed by the government machinery. The call of the chief clergyman of Tablighi Jamaat was succinct and full of supernatural confidence, that was reflected in his speech denouncing the value of all scientific and medical options, in the arrangement and accommodation of the interior at the congregation hall devoid of any precautionary measures of maintaining personal hygiene standards.
Unsurprisingly, the outrage and damage caused to the name of the organization, forced the absconded clergyman Maulana Mahammad Saad to eventually observe a formality of circulating an audio speech with the appeal to the attendees to obey the public health norms. But the damage had already been done as the video clip of utterly negative thoughts of the clergyman got viral in the social and electronic media. Maulana outbursts sheer arrogance and hollow orthodoxy in his own verses. Since the incident, a little known Tablighi Jamat has been under severe reprimand and criticism from every corner. The liberal Muslims and even some members of that organization have criticized the whole incident. The prime reason of getting enormous media coverage of this relatively small religious congregation is the complete defiance of the very objective of the all-out medical war against the deadly virus, which was not unwitting at all. The impact of the contagion from every single individual may wreak havoc like a nuclear weapon, may result in transmission of the deadly virus to the thousands in a single day. The social impact of religious preaching orchestrated in the intensely hyped Tablighi Jamaat have already taken its ugly shape through different dramatic stance moving round the social media in large number. These messages and videos, most of them filmed have been scripted in the name and wish of Allah. While some have dragged the NRC and Citizenship Act, some others have smelt suspicion of sectarian politics in the outbreak of coronavirus. However, actions have been taken without any discrimination against the violators, cases have been registered, police and the security personnel have been on high alert to ensure strict implementation of instructions issued in the wake of the pandemic.
When the super-strong country like the USA and many European countries do not have the required paraphernalia and equipment to deal with the burgeoning afflictions by the COVID19, what to speak of the developing countries like ours crippled with multiple deficiencies of resources. Till date, the detailed morphology and ultra-structure of this virus remain incompletely understood, therefore, no country has so far been successful in making the exact vaccine and medical treatment of Coronavirus, but it is expected that medical science definitely will emerge victorious in no time. Till then the precautions and preventive measures are the only option to take consolation and save oneself from the dreaded disease. Aberration in following the medical norms at this tricky situation may negatively transform the environment that can greatly increase the morbidity and mortality over a wide geographic area and cause significant economic, social, and political disruption.
Apart from these, the stigma continues, due to the recent episode, the religious and philanthropic groups like Tablighi Jamaat will debase its tacit objectives of the organization. At the age of scientific and technological triumph everywhere, picking up a bargain on the health issue of the masses to a cocksure will undoubtedly invite uncountable miseries and adversities. Thus, the urgent need of the hour is to spare ourselves from the exposition of communal and sectarian fault line for the greater interest of the state and the entire nation as well.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Northeast Now. The author is the deputy controller of examinations, Gauhati University and can be reached at [email protected])