Aadil Hussain

COVID-19 and Typical Hoaxes from Kashmir

COVID-19 and Typical Hoaxes from Kashmir
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“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” (Martin Luther King Jr.)
Since ages Kashmiris carry a unique yet strange sense of security, perceiving the vale a uniquely safe microcosm with certain privileges, others are devoid of. Though more of a mental frame, majority of the population breathes it as faith.
Explanations are myriad, for some its religiosity makes it more secure specifically against the natural calamities and for others its location and atmosphere. Hence the constant cry of denial is still being heard though seldom now, despite its duration of more than one year, “Virus Chunu Kunay” (Virus exists no-where).
Apart from the people to whom COVID-19 is a fiction, there is also a portion of our population that nods the lethal presence of COVID-19 but again tracks it down only outside the Pir Panjal Range, for “Kashmir is safe”. Psychologically there seems to be no reason to mark Kashmir as a resilient zone to the virus except fear, once its existence is accepted. Escape is not a solution but confrontation is. To these two categories- “no virus” and “virus but outside Kashmir”- the vaccination drive holds no meaning, since it is not required. Denial aside, a new category of our population have come to conclusion, Lord knows the time they have earmarked to this research, “Vaccine Chu Zahar” (Vaccine is a poison).
Perhaps the psyche which finds the vaccination drive a propaganda “to kill Kashmiris” has mistaken it for biological warfare. Initially certain conspiracy theorists, whom we are not going to entertain here, accused some countries of using the virus as biological weapon to confirm their domination.
The ideology seems to have directly sublimed the thought process of our third category to think on these lines. In its introductory phases even majority of our healthcare workers, “more than 80%” (according to The Hindu) including doctors, nurses and paramedical staff opted against the COVID-19 vaccination because of “mistrust and misinformation”. Though at present more than 17 lakh people have been inoculated for the virus from the UT, the vaccine is rumoured to thicken blood, produce sterility and introduce some nameless disease amid various other assumptions. Therefore, to win the trust of people belonging to this category, the government has to put more efforts and seek support of the people the public trusts.
Returning to the idea of virus being a fakery, people need to rethink about the situation the world has been through, since 31st December, 2019. If for the next few moments we imagine COVID-19 to be a conspiracy, how do we account for the deaths of more than 2 million people throughout the world in a single year? Why should there be a global lockdown, if it ensues in the worst economic downturn?
Also, it is an utter madness to deem Kashmir a safe zone, when the entire world is struggling. And, what makes it safe? If religious be the base of this safety, why should Saudi Arabia be unable to save more than six thousand lives from the deadly virus? Why should it announce to only allow immunised people for Hajj?
If the salubrious environ of Valley is promising, the weather in Kashmir has taken a U-turn, perhaps it has become more suitable as a site for the virus. As per The Economic Times, Kashmir is among the highest COVID 19 case density areas in the country with around 6.14 cases per million of the population, owing to its climatic conditions and poor health infrastructure. People must normalise their notion about the valley so that we may come safe out of this seemingly never-ending cobweb.
Many people have a problem with wearing masks also, claiming “Aesi Chu Dam Gasaan” (the mask is suffocating). Bizarrely others have an exceptional habit of using it, removing it over the mouth to have conservation. Many deem it unnecessary and defend their stance by using the statement, “Khudayas Paeth Chu Na Baroos?” (Don’t you trust God?).
Mask may be asphyxiating but the virus is a deathly strangulation and using one’s faculty of reason is also a part of trust on God, as He helps through means. The SOPs are to abided by not only because one is in danger but also because one becomes a danger; a slight negligence is suicidal as well as homicidal, more specifically a familicide. Though in the first wave the elderly was more prone to the virus, the second wave affects the children severely. Therefore, those deliberately avoiding the SOPs are no less a threat to the mankind, perhaps they are more dangerous than virus per se as they become carriers.

Aadil Hussain

The writer is a student of BA(Hons) at IUST. He can be reached at [email protected]

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