“Ignorance is strength” is a well-known Orwellian statement from the book “1984”. We seem to be witnessing its repetition in current times. We have all been ignorant at some point or the other since the beginning of the pandemic, but so has the government. The government can say all it wants about being “Atmanirbhar” and blame the state governments whenever it finds it convenient.
How can a man gasping for breath unable to find oxygen cylinders be “Atmanirbhar” when the health infrastructure of the country he once trusted is crumbling before his own eyes as death approaches him.
With the Central government declaring a premature “victory” over the Covid-19 pandemic while boasting about the Indian success story is immediately faced with a crisis that they are unable to handle, we see the role of ignorance. The government has been ignorant because the people were ignorant.
No one cared when lakhs of migrants had no way home and we declared a successful lockdown sitting in our air-conditioned homes while the poor struggled for a way back home. We were ignorant towards our own countrymen. We failed to hold the government accountable for what they failed to do. They failed to carry out their responsibilities.
We never cared until we faced the heat ourselves. We didn’t care for our countrymen in the past because it never affected us. We were within our own protective shell refusing to look outward. Now when the pandemic hit all of us, people were dying for oxygen and ICU beds and had to resort to social media sites to get basic medical care, it truly showed how the government failed us. The same government that was complacent in the deaths of millions of Indians, some from our own family, is now telling us to be ‘positive’. Doesn’t it anger you in a way for an elected government to behave this way during a raging pandemic? A government that gives more importance to image building than saving the lives of its citizens or in another sense its own voters.
Do you know how we truly failed? Not by forgetting to wear a mask once or twice but by failing to keep the government accountable when it needed it most. This is especially important for a government that rarely tends to listen to experts or its own people.
A government that gave official support to the Kumbh Mela which resulted in lakhs of cases sure does have blood on its hands. The same government that went around asking for votes the past election season by having huge rallies is now asking us to be positive.
People have a flawed conscience and a deficient sense of empathy. They do not feel the need to care as long as they are not affected. Our own media failed in protecting us. The so-called fourth pillar of democracy crumbled. 'Supine journalists’ on mainstream media sounded the victory trumpets for the government while the situation was still dire. In fact, they are a reason for the people’s ignorance. We are what we watch, a lot of our own family members have fallen prey to this sort of botchy journalism.
I would like to quote a line from the poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” penned by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas which also featured in the movie, ’Interstellar’:-
“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
This article was the best contribution from the class of '23 for the assignment 'Writing for a youth magazine'.