30 July, 2021

Till Messiah Come, Again

The greatest care-giver, the Mahatma, sacrificed himself to keep the nation sane. His sacrifice stopped the madness temporarily, but the cure is still eluding us.

Till Messiah Come, Again

People always fall sick. Some recover, but most die. Call it Darwinian culling or God’s ways, but that is life, as we know it. The family, the neighbourhood, the society, and even the government are expected to pick up the sick and help them back to life. Civilisationally, we are conditioned to give care. But what do we do when the entire neighbourhood falls sick? There are stories and novels on whole villages across rural India falling prey to small pox, about brave care-givers and braver grave-diggers or pyre-makers. But an ­entire city falling sick? Jose Saramago’s stunning work of fiction, Blindness, has an inexplicable sickness singeing a city. The white sickness or loss of sight for a city’s populace leads to the collapse of the social order, the takeover of a carnal hierarchy of cruelty, a complete loss of everything that makes life what it is or the ­destruction of the entire moral universe. An epidemic always threatens a society. This is the story of an epidemic reducing a group of people to a bunch of rabid animals.

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