The countries are at the high risk, where political as well community leader is also religious leader, and in such a combination, the messages about the pandemic are wrapped in the religious words. So, urgency, importance, and sense of duty are diluted.
Writer warns ‘presently, until the vaccination comes, we have only one option – keep the distance. Till now we are failed to opt it voluntarily, and our failure’s repercussions are beyond our capacity and even imagination.’
By Zaffar Junejo
Today is the second day of the lockdown. Roughly I remained at home, read something on history, did surfing of the Facebook, called friends on cell phone and finished some official tasks. However, amidst all chorus, I saw several local birds on Neem tree branches. Over the day, I heard their sounds – singing, tweeting, and shrieking. Occasionally, I hear the cawing of crows. They are regular guests. Rozina hosts a punctual feast for them. She puts some rice in the clay pot and places it on the wall. I saw that crows possess the pot, and discouraged other birds to take part in the party. The behavior of crows instigated me to note it. I wrote in my notebook, ‘familiarity, regularity, opportunity and availability’ creates a sense of possession among the crows.’ I thought I will check it from my ornithologist friend. I closed my notebook.
I came into my study room. I opened my laptop and searched for Laura Spinney’s interview. She has authored Pale Rider. The full title of the book is ‘Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World.’ I found her interview at ‘HistoryExtra’ an official website for BBC History Magazine. In the response of the set of questions, she had said that 1918 Flu has been forgotten, although it killed 50 to 100 million people. She told that these diseases over the period have adapted themselves to attack the densely living people, who usually live in big groups. Therefore, we call such type of diseases, the crowd diseases. The most alarming situation is that such kind of diseases evolved in parallel with our adopted lifestyles. In a way, these diseases are in a race with us. According to her, till now from the 1918 Flu we have a strategy just to assure the social distance. She went on to tell that most needed health professionals in the pandemic are the nurses, they are the only one to keep patient hydrant and warm, and their efforts make a difference between death and life.
However, on the negative side, she quoted two examples one was about 1918 Flu and another was of Coronavirus-19. The first one is about Zamora, a north-western Spanish town, which was a famous Catholic city. So, at the height of the 1918 Flu, a pandemic, the bishop of the town, in the autumn of 1918, ordered the churches to pray for forgiveness for their sins, which according to him was the cause of this pandemic, a divine punishment. Resultantly, people crowded into the churches and kneeled before St Roch, who is the lead saint of epidemic and plagues. In this way, Zamora town went on to record one of the highest death rates from that flu in the country. Recently, she went on to say the religious leaders of Qom, one of the Iranian cities took the same path, which was approximately one hundred years ago taken by the bishop of Zamora.
She told that messages of the organized religions halt the work of doctors, nurses, and scientists. The countries are at the high risk, where political as well community leader is also religious leader, and in such combination, the messages about the pandemic are wrapped in the religious words. So, urgency, importance, and sense of duty are diluted.
Around 2:30 pm Rozina called me to accompany her for buying some groceries. We went out in our neighborhood, Qasimabad area. We took Dr. Rafiq Zaman Road and saw mosque was opened and some pious people were there to offer their prayers. We went to Nasim Nagar Pul, and also saw groups of people, and none of them was observing the social distance. The people behave like this because the diseases’ bodily effects are not seen as there was a case of the poxes and other viral diseases.
We reached home around 4:30 pm. I called some of my friends, who are living in villages. Mostly, all of them told that they are bored. So, they fixed some rural games and activities of amusements – oxen races, fights of cocks, etc. But the local police and authority were not allowing them. I inferred from their discussion that people, who are somehow failed to develop the intellect, couldn’t hold the isolation or aloneness positively.
Again, I surfaced the Facebook and analyzed the contents or traded information regarding the Coronavirus. There were four types of contents: a) generic suggestions. I checked their profiles and majority was not technically qualified to make any suggestions about the deadly pandemic, b) abstractive complains. The majority of the text was assumed, and non-directive, c) misguided information. It was about diseases, its toll, and the content was wrapped in the religious words, d) pseudoscience promoters, who were stating beliefs, and practices about the Coronavirus, which were incompatible with the scientific method or laboratory procedure. Therefore, presently, until the vaccination comes, we have only one option – keep the distance. Till now we are failed to opt it voluntarily, and our failure’s repercussions are beyond our capacity and even imagination.