21 June, 2021

False Face Must Hide What The False Heart Doth Know

The pandemic is moving into a hinterland that has already been made barren by an uncaring government

Art: Sanjay Basak
False Face Must Hide What The False Heart Doth Know

As I write this, several terrible accounts of the sweeping pandemic have emerged from rural parts of the country—among them, shocking ­visuals of dead bodies in the Ganges from parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. As we feared and foretold, COVID-19 has left vast swathes of rural India gasping for breath. Since last year, the threat of this virus ravaging the hinterland economies has been looming large. That is now coming true.

As the virus wreaks continuous havoc, I am besieged with desperate calls for help not only from the people of my home state, Bihar, but from all over the country. Like innumerable citizens affected by the deadly pandemic, I too have been trying to amplify SOS calls for help on ­social media platforms, drawing on personal networks of colleagues, civil society organisations and conscientious, hardworking students to mobilise resources and relief, and imploring the ruling class and the bureaucracy to be more visible, active and empathetic in coming to the aid of those going through unprecedented suffering.


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