I believe that India will have significant control over the epidemic within two months. I risk this optimistic guess because readers have little memory, but for some respectable reason. India manages disasters well (in the end). Once a phenomenon turns into a disaster, India knows how extraordinary it is. The reason for this is that the country is not in the form of an order, which is replaced in informal ways. Heroes grow; Pours private money; Men and women do more than they need to. Politicians, bureaucrats and billionaires who work outside the system also create temporary solutions that actually work.
All this is difficult to see at the moment as India is in the grip of a humanitarian catastrophe. Hospitals are under severe stress. There is a vaccine shortage, and there is an even more severe oxygen shortage. Hospitals are repelling the dying. First, it was the people who were appealing online for help, then it was the doctors, now the hospitals. Government helplines collapsed. Almost all government statistics look wrong. And the number of deaths was very low.
India is like this because we have no talent for systems. From this a lot of our problems arise. The country, which has long struggled to draw straight lines on the roads to mark intersections and boundaries, naturally has many other problems when it comes to natural disrespect for straight lines. We are reversed by the simplicity of order, processes, protocols, rules, planning and straight line. We escaped the complete curse of the central planning age, because the planning part was disgusting. We are an informal country, a slave to informal pleasure, a community of natural villagers who are furious with the urbanity of the modern process. We are good at obeying social norms, but above all, it is our nature to wing it. In this, there is something very ancient about us.
It is not only behind India’s poor response to the second wave, that while somewhere a hospital is waiting for oxygen, an oxygen tanker comes and starts leaking, and elsewhere in the intensive care unit a fire breaks out, killing Kovid.
People who sprout on their feet these days are dying instead, mainly because India has not even prepared or prepared for a second wave of a disease that has given us advance notice. Instead of bracing for an approaching tsunami, some Indians began to quietly enjoy a specialty about themselves that saved them from the misery of Americans, Brazilians and Europeans.
Ideally, all of this should not surprise us, but our country has a right to surprise us. As we have seen so many good times.
If the obvious consequence of systemic failure is death then we are better off following a system. As in civil aviation. We manage very well to fly without falling. Also, once people reach the stage of being put on hospital beds, in the face of such obvious optics difficulties, India generally moves in admirable ways.
My Kovid prognosis in India is very promising. Also, there is the priority of the United States. Indians forget, but the US went when it was worse than what is happening in India today. There, too, hospitals were collapsing, people were dying in hospital corridors and mass funerals were taking place. Even after the popular American media outlet in India said that Donald Trump was anti, and that its epidemic coverage was a sort of political lash, it is hard to dispute that America is recovering from the disease. Similar routes to going through India.
However, there is a big difference between their government and American dissatisfaction with Indians. We have a lot more failure because we have very little opinion about our country. The second wave of the epidemic is only confirmation of this view. Our children who always start out as patriots have no real pride in their country. Holding India on the second wave has already dampened the views of many of us.
As a result, some reasonable explanation of why we are suffering today is not appreciated enough. A few days ago our External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar answered the question as to why India is short of vaccine doses even though it is a producer. Apart from India’s contract export obligations, we rely on other countries for certain important vaccine ingredients, so there is no practical or ethical reason for those countries to refuse vaccine supply, especially when Indian deaths are very low. Now Kovid is a big disaster, India can stop exporting vaccines.
However, it’s time we whip ourselves up. This is another thing we speak well of. This is cool. We have earned more from shame in our present than from pride in the legacy of our rumors.
But then we forget. Our civilized shame is fleeting. After the pandemic subsides, we forget the terrible days when people around us were dying and Indian hospitals were begging for help from the media and the courts. We will find our peace and hope without forgetting.