Modi has seized on to the opportunity to make India Vishwa Guru
On 20th March, PM Modi appealed to the country to enforce a Janata Curfew on 22nd March for 14 hours. He wanted people to stay home for 14 hours, starting from 7 AM to 9 PM and clap for individuals & institutions(Doctors, Police etc.) who are providing essential services to us. From several reports emerging out of China and Europe it was clear that any effective medication was at least a few weeks away. And Social Distancing was the only way to reduce the speed of spread of Covid 19.
22nd being a Sunday, I think it was assumed that it would be slightly easier to enforce this self-imposed curfew than normal working day. But knowing our disdain for law & order and overall dislike for discipline this looked an uphill task. However public habits were not the biggest impediment in implementing this novel exercise in Social Distancing. The number one obstruction to Janata Curfew were politicians who owe their existence to opposing Narendra Modi and Left Liberal Establishment which hates Conservative Hindus.
To understand what I mean, just sample some of this social media response of few individuals and efforts by some of the politicians to undermine the Janata Curfew. Rahul Gandhi, instead of supporting it attacked PM Modi and chose to highlight the impending economic plight. Shashi Tharoor went one step and shared dubious claim, praising Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan. Later when found out, refused to delete the tweet, saying its gone viral now. Tehseen Poonawala, famous Third page socialist used this opportunity to bring demonetisation in and blame Modi for the slowdown.
Not to forget, Islamists with the help of Congress and Left were continuing with their agitation at Shaheen Bagh. They were ready to overlook the potent infection risk to Muslim women and kids.
Amongst all these, the worst response came from Bengal. Modi’s bête noire, Mamata Banerjee issued a diktat that the Government would like to distribute Rice and Potato to students in schools on 22nd March. The same day, Modi wanted the public to implement Janata Curfew. This was cynical, petty politics at its best. Bengal CM, to dent Modi’s noble initiative, was ready to endanger the lives of ordinary people. To settle political scores, she was ready to risk the spread of the extremely dangerous Covid 19 virus amongst citizens of her own state.
Notwithstanding these overt and covert oppositions, it’s the credibility of Narendra Modi and his unflinching governance record that Janata Curfew was a roaring success! People had responded magnificently to this appeal of self-imposed lockdown. And not only that, exactly at 5 PM they thronged to their galleries, terraces and clapped vigorously. Some of these citizens enthusiastically banged steel plates to show their appreciation.
Now the million dollar question is what did this Janata Curfew achieve?
Well, it did a lot! Firstly it did convey the message to everybody concerned that things are bad. It’s time to get serious. Secondly it laid the onus at people’s doorsteps. He was telling people, without your support, there is little, the Government can do. Lastly, he was creating moral authority for Law Enforcement agencies such as Police to enforce future Lockdowns with relative ease. The last point is extremely important in light of communal agitations like Shaheen Bagh and following Delhi Riots.
There is another overarching takeaway here. Covid-19 is a pandemic of real global proportions. As you read this close to 4,00,000 people are affected in more than 150 countries and close 17000 people have lost their lives. The only possible way to reduce the death rate is to minimise the contact between people. One can also call it Social Distancing. But doing this has a huge Economic cost. Look at Italy to understand how the Government, under business pressure from China, blundered and is now paying an unimaginable price. And it’s not only Italy. World over Governments are struggling to deliver the message that please stay indoors. Hardly any Head of State, perhaps other than Narendra Modi has the stature to get it done. By staying indoor for 14 hours and implementing a successful Janata Curfew people of India have done something which no other country could even imagine.
Many European countries and even US are in extremely distressful conditions. But they could not plan something of this sort. Please look around and you will find, now a couple of days after India implemented a near complete lockdown, countries are getting ready to enforce some sort of mandatory Social Distancing. Earlier they were not sure whether such sort of thing is possible.
The current Corona crisis is a unique one in the sense that, leading Western nations are at their wits end. The best hospitals, top class medical practices or cutting edge medicines are not able to provide any solution to this. The best way forward seems to Social Distancing. By successfully implementing Janata Curfew Modi has shown the way. Modi has shown the world that, India has the capacity to be a Vishwa Guru – Global Coach/Mentor in self-restraining practices. And in a crisis such as this, there is no other way than inculcating self-restraining behavior in the society. Modi and Bharata, the new Vishwa Guru- has shown the way.