Can people in Kashmir coexist with CoronaVirus?

“It’s coexistence or no existence.”

― Bertrand Russell 

Coronavirus is by far the most boisterous, catastrophic, and tumultuous calamity of our lifetime. It does distinguish nor differentiate, we all are equally vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. Failing governments, jam-packed hospitals, sinking economies, people dying – this is the reality of the present-day man, exposed to us by a virus. No one could ever imagine that a 21st-century human being is so vulnerable. Did any of the nuclear weapons save us? Was the most gloated military equipment useful? Hopefully, the world leaders now know what we have been doing wrong all this long! Some may call COVID as an inside conspiracy, for some, it is the doings of the Illuminati, whereas some may blame the bats- whatever be the real reason for the virus outbreak, the crude reality is that “It is here”. And, believe it or not, it is going to stay with us for a long time.

Right now, the entire world is in a lockdown, frustrated, exhausted, and desperate to go back to a normal life. But there is one part of the world that has been under lockdown way before this pandemic happened. You, I, and all the other 1.50 crore Kashmiris must be applauded for surviving 10 months of internet blockade, restrictions, and constant mental agony. I am surprised how a Kashmiri daily wager living hand to mouth feeds his family!

While we had not recovered from the long months of the void, 2020 brought another calamity with itself! Unlike the rest of the world, we have mastered the art of staying indoors. However, in a place like Kashmir, where your day is incomplete without your neighbor’s visit, social distancing may have been compromised. And unfortunately, it is reflecting in our statistics. Who do we call out for this? The migrant workers returning home? Our callousness?or the failing authorities?

It is easy to play the “blame-game”, however, we all have to understand that we will die like cattle if we don’t act smart. In a place, where there is 1 ventilator for every 135135 people and 9 army men for one civilian, the government is definitely helping us! So, what should a Kashmiri do to survive after the “lockdown” ends? 

How to cope up with the new normal?

There’s a famous Kashmiri saying, “Sheen Galli, wand Tsali, te pat aayi Bahaar”, we all have been living by it since we were born. Spring will definitely come, no matter how long the winter lasts. This pandemic will eventually come to an end, and we can already see it. The curve is flattening for many countries that were struggling a month ago. However, the fact that the virus will stay with us can’t be denied. We all are hoping that scientists come up with a vaccine as soon as possible, but Till then, we have to learn new rules to save ourselves and our loved ones from the grip of COVID-19.

1. The educated illiterates!

With a literacy rate of 74%, it is ironic how the actions of people here, prove it otherwise. With the spread of coronavirus, mosques from all the corners of the world were shut. Even Saudi Arabia canceled hajj this year. But, some wise men here, decided to pray in mosques while locking the door from outside. Can you imagine that! Who were they deceiving? Such people not only put their lives but also their family’s life at stake. So, the learning lesson here is to think wisely and educate ourselves. Not all rebellious acts are wise! I fail to understand why people who are being tested positive flee from the quarantine centers. Again, we need to question ourselves- are we really educated or just literates?

2. Stop spreading rumors!

We all must stop spreading rumors. A few days back, one of the vegetable vendors was called out for being tested positive. Rumors spread like fire and in a small place like Kashmir, they spread even faster. The suspected person was made to discard his vegetable and thrashed publicly. Luckily, his reports were negative and it was discovered later that his competitor had spread the rumor out of jealousy. How petty is that! It is so inhumane especially in such a crisis where people go out to work while risking their own lives. Another rumor was that coronavirus isn’t real. So-called “educated people” thought of it as a government’s conspiracy! Imagine, how many people would have slacked on precautions because of such a rumor! 

So, what can we do to stop such heinous rumors? We can start by taking small steps. Contact the local mohalla president or Imaam, ask them to share information regarding coronavirus, educate them about its deadly effects, and share helpful measures to keep it at bay.

3. Mental health should not be ignored anymore!

As per the survey done in 2015, 45% of people in Kashmir have signs of mental distress. And considering the current situation where everyone is made to stay at home, the numbers have gone up! It is high time to identify mental issues and address them. This lockdown may be a phase for the world, but for Kashmiris, it is a reality! So, we should start looking after our mental health as well. We can start with a ten -minute meditation session, read the Quran with translation this time, or pick up a new hobby! Find ways to engage ourselves rather than staring into the abyss.

4. Take precautions.

We should stop going out of our homes unnecessarily. Even now, when we are in the middle of crises people are attending weddings, funerals, and conducting gatherings. Why don’t such people hesitate even once before foiling social distancing? People have to realize, such carelessness is jeopardizing the lives of hundreds. Kashmiris have to come out of “luk kya wanan” mentality and think above these customs and rituals. And most importantly, befriend masks and sanitizers, no matter what! 

Let this lockdown be about a change, a new beginning, and taking it as a learning curve for the rest of our lives. It is not always about hoarding on petrol and essentials! How about we become a better person and learn from this calamity that Allah has decreed upon us? And eventually, we will learn to co-exist with this virus as well!

Are you ready to step into the post-coronavirus world? What is your mantra to co-exist with the virus? Let us know in the comment section below!

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