I’ve mostly maintained a positive attitude through the coronavirus lockdown. However, one thing that has upset and worried me from the beginning, is the social stigma faced by certain sections of society.
‘Stigma’ is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as:
“Negative feelings that people have about particular circumstances or characteristics that somebody may have.”
When the coronavirus crisis began in January, China was the only country to be largely affected. Sadly, this resulted in people with mongoloid features becoming the first victims of an ignorant blame game, around the world. How was it their fault? One can blame a government for not announcing the rise of the disease when it should have, and not containing the spread of the disease as well as it might have; but how was the disease itself the fault of the citizens of that country? And even more incongruously, how was it the fault of people around the world, who happen to resemble the facial features of the people of China?
Racism was an ongoing battle fought by Asians around the world, but this crisis raised xenophobia to new heights. Delhi also reported stray incidents of young girls from the North-East being heckled on roads and called ‘coronavirus’!
Things worsened when a large Islamic congregation’s meeting in Delhi, just before national lockdown, came to light. The religious meeting was ill-advised and should’ve been cancelled keeping the global circumstances in mind, but the aftermath of religious hatred and suspicion of one single community as spreaders, was uncalled for.
Every Muslim of the country wasn’t present at that meeting, nor was every Muslim propagating hate, even if some were. It’s so sad that Muslims as a whole became the easy and unfortunate outlets for people to blame the spread of this deadly disease.
The culmination of this accusatory behaviour, happened when an affluent family from South Delhi contracted Covid-19 and blamed it on their Muslim guard, who denied having visited that particular religious congregation. On the basis of their verbal assurance, the local police filed an FIR against this poor man. Guess what his Covid-19 test results were? Negative. The family then backtracked, saying they had never wanted to file an FIR as they were only speculating and the police went ahead and filed it on their own. The police tried to shove blame for filing the FIR on the affected family. In all this, who suffered the most? The poor guard who probably won’t be hired for a long, long time.
With an extension to the lockdown, these social stigmas seem to be spreading far and wide. Though I can never condone them, I can at least understand the basis for racism and religious intolerance. However, I simply fail to understand how people can attack our frontliners i.e. the brave healthcare workers who are saving us from this virus?!
Doctors have been spat at and refused entry into homes and societies for fear of catching the virus, and yesterday a doctor who died of Covid-19 wasn’t given a proper burial because a furious mob was worried that his infected germs would spread to their neighbourhood.
Are we living in some dystopian nightmare? Has humanity died? Has all modicum of sense left the brains of these people? They can break the norms of social distancing to stand together against a burial, but they can’t allow a doctor, who died protecting our countrymen, dignity during his final rites?
This is a sad, sad situation and one I hope our government counters firmly and effectively.
Social distancing means being extra cautious in one’s dealings with fellow human beings during this crisis, but it doesn’t mean propagating hatred against anything that seems a vague threat.
Can we as a community spread this message against the ignorant social stigmas that abound in pockets of our country? After all, we are in this together, even if we are apart.
On a lighter note, here’s my tip to beat the lockdown blues today:
Send a message of encouragement to someone working on the frontlines today– a healthcare worker, a journalist, a person selling essential goods, delivery men, people who work in NGO’s providing food and shelter etc. They could do with a smile, and so could you.
Here are some TV shows you should check out with the letter S:
“South Park” on Netflix and “Seinfeld” on Amazon Prime Video are comedies on opposite ends of the spectrum. The former is an animated show for adults and the latter an iconic sitcom from the 90s. Both are complete laugh riots.
A book that you should read is:
“Sacred Games” by Vikram Chandra, which is one of my favourite books of all time. Chandra’s gritty look into Mumbai’s crime scene is gripping and far better than the TV show of the same name. Well worth the 1000 pages!
That’s it for today folks!
Please check out my daily update videos on Instagram Stories for #LockdownWithTheLadyLawyer and follow me there to stay better connected. Also tell me your favourite TV Shows/ movies/ books/ bloggers with the letter S?
Sayonara till tomorrow! (farewell in Japanese)
This post has been written for the #AtoZChallenge 2020. My theme this year is #LockdownWithTheLadyLawyer, where I’m journaling my thoughts during the coronavirus lockdown, and sharing numerous recommendations that will help keep your spirits up. Read my other posts here:
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