By Sushil Kutty
The new word that’s getting usage despite not being in the dictionary is ‘vaxtard’ which is a name for followers of the vaccine cult, basically people who have set themselves up or have been set up for “mass suicide.” According to propounders of this theory, before the next two to three years are history, the human race is due for a culling, Earth’s human population will be cut to size, from 7 billion to just about 4 billion.
There’s a mistake in the theory, though. Vaxtards are outnumbered by those who haven’t the time of the day for the vaccine. Unlike in the United States, where President Joe Biden says he was elected to beat the pandemic, the pace of vaccination hasn’t picked up in India, as evidenced by the fact that you don’t see insane numbers of Indians thronging vaccination centres. Not all Indians are keen on being hailed as “vaxtards”. That’s an American concoction, Starbucks not Coffee Day!
A soldier who took VRS says he wouldn’t Vax himself no matter what happens. He doesn’t have confidence in the vaccines. And he has even less trust in the Central government, specifically in Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who a year ago thought a combined banging of pans from balconies would keep the coronavirus away. The sad fact is Covid-19 has already killed tens of thousands of Indians. And that comes with a daily rise in coronavirus positive cases.
In Maharashtra alone, almost 36,000 new Covid cases are reported daily. Mumbai reports above 5,000 per day. The second coming of the coronavirus is making a respectable comeback. Cases have boomeranged in several states, many of which were celebrating too early by half the near-total annihilation of the death-dealing novel coronavirus. Some dreams do not wake you up, they take the shape of nightmares.
The reasons for the surge in caseloads across India were not hard to pin down. The opening up of the economy, and people disregarding the mask rule and the social-distancing mandate. It was as if Kindergarten kids had been given the keys to the playroom. Humankind’s always placidly unworried about consequences, till the whack on the butt comes. A look at what’s happening at the Prayagraj Khumb is a lesson. But are PM Modi and PM in waiting Yogi Adityanath attending the tutorial?
Nope. Politicians, when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of humdrum politicking, are ingloriously unaware of the consequences of overcrowding in packed enclosures, with Modi shouting, asking the assembled to chant after him ‘Vande’ thrice in succession, just so that he can return to his government-allotted pad in New Delhi to feed the peacock, knowing not and caring not what havoc the coronavirus could do in cheek-by-jowl situations.
That’s politics, the kind which’s being played in West Bengal. In Kerala, there’s Rahul Gandhi maskless at the podium. Both Rahul Gandhi and PM Modi maybe believe hi-fi security will keep the coronavirus away. Newly selected Uttarakhand Chief Minister Thirath Singh Rawat thought so, and now he’s quarantined with Covid-19. It might have got in through the ripped jeans that’s so much in Rawat’s mind these days.
But let’s keep our jaundiced eyes on Maharashtra which reported 35,952 new coronavirus cases on March 25, along with 111 deaths. Mumbai logged 5,504 new infections, a new single-day high. Infections in Mumbai are doubling every 75 days. The Mumbaikar’s romance with the coronavirus is a successful wholesale enterprise. It’s impossible to keep people away from workplaces, shops and malls; airports and railway stations. There’s no fun in isolation. Burn that on the chest and don’t ever forget it.
So, we return to the topic we began with: Vaccination. Ask a Modi Government bot and he’ll swear vaccination is hurrying along at breakneck speed. But is that so? How many Indians have so far had the jab? Health ministry figures put the total at 4.72 crores, as of March 25, out of the total Indian population of 135 crores. A drop in the Pacific! At this pace vaccinations would still be on when Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets his comeuppence in 2024!
Maharashtra is reeling. And it’s not just because of Vazegate and Vasuli-at-large. Millions have returned to work, in offices and factories, and there’s lots of high-fives and handshaking. The Uddhav Thackeray Government has got one eye on the coronavirus, the other on the political virus that’s got its eye on political overthrow. Meantime, local administrations have been instructed to impose localized lockdowns.
To add to the chaos in the bathroom, there’s a new variant of the virus in Maharashtra called the “double mutant.” The question being asked is, would Covishield and Covaxin be effective on this double jeopardy. The AstraZeneca is facing flak in a dozen countries. And Covishield is the Oxford-AstraZeneca. So far, most Indian media have maintained distance from reporting on what vaccinations are doing to Indians, but there’re some disquieting news that ought to be reported.
Isn’t it telling that the Modi Government is not making a blitzkrieg of asking, persuading the general population to go take the Covid-19 jab? The decision’s been left to individual judgement. You want to take it, go ahead. You don’t want, stick around in the basement. The hard truth is that lots of people don’t have trust in the vaccine. They believe like the no-Vaxers in the USA that the Covid-19 package is a Vaxtard conspiracy to cull the population to half.
So far, India’s overall death tally is 1,60,692. But the number, as long as it stands in the background, doesn’t alarm. The majority of Indians are not Vaxtards. They don’t want to be Vaxtards. They want the government to open up the economy before the festival of Holi, lift all restrictions so that large crowds can throng shopping areas in gay abandon. It’s as if Covid-19 can be persuaded with large numbers to stay out of trouble! (IPA Service)