As India’s second wave of Covid-19 sweeps through the country, Bodies have piled up as people wait endlessly for beds and oxygen supplies. Now, weeks later, the Indian capital has run out of space for burial, with some sites working non-stop as death rates surge. New Delhi’s public parks and parking lots operate as mass crematoriums of Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains.
In Hinduism, cremation is an important funeral ritual, because Hindus believe the body must be destroyed to force the soul to separate from it. With cremation sites reaching their capacities, the India government is facing backlash for their failure and mismanagement of the coronavirus. Yet, all could have been prevented.
This public health crisis is fueled by the mismanagement of the Indian government. Nearly seven months after the peak of their first wave in September 2020, the deadly second wave was well informed to the government by a forum of scientific advisers. Despite the warning, the governments’ ignorance towards the knowledge of a more contagious Covid-19 variant, opened a gateway for the widespread of Covid-19. Major restrictions could have been imposed to stop the spread of the virus, yet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and oppositing politicians encouraged millions of largely unmasked people to attend religious festivals, political rallies and election campaigns. The Ministry of Health in India even condemned reports on Covid-19 “super-spreader” events, resulting in fueling the Covid-19 spike.
As the tragedy unfolds, Modi’s government has failed to give constructive responses to ease the burden of their healthcare system. It was too late to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 variant, yet timely and effective responses to control the pandemic were never initiated. The emphasis of image management over pandemic management only deviated Indians’ public health, with Modi’s denial of oxygen, beds and healthcare worker shortages and boasting of success in battling the virus. The cost ultimately paid with the lives of innocent Indians as the government lacked transparency and accuracy in communication.
The hashtag #ModiMustResign is trending on social media, and it is not difficult to understand why. As a crisis-generator, the government had months to prepare for the predictable, yet only to fail miserably. Their inability to set aside power, and eagerness to win the election only drain and exhaust the lives of Indians and the healthcare system. It was not the lack of knowledge on this matter, but the lack of wisdom to execute effective health policies from the government. It is now a burning city and is now left to the people to clean up the mess.
Feature Image: Made Nagi / EPA