Dear Honourable Prime Minister of India,
I need to tell you something. They don't like you.
To be honest, they never really liked you, but even in this time of our biggest existential crisis, when you need all of us, every single citizen of India, to back you with all our might, they don't like you.
They don't like you when you take a daring decision to lock down a country of 1.3 billion people, to save their own lives.
They don't like you when you send flights to get back your countrymen from the riskiest areas to relative safety; they say ‘but the migrants had to walk’.
They still don't like you as you send thousands of buses overnight to bring back migrants to their hometowns as now, they say migrants are at risk because of the crowding.
Maybe they are expecting you to arrange one cab per person or build them homes overnight with stashes of cash wherever they are? Whatever it may be, but they don't like you.
As the head of a developing nation taking a big hit on the economy, you lock down the country at a time and stage where half the world was roaming around in gardens and paid a hefty price with their lives.
Where some so-called heads of powerful nations, the so-called 'buck stops here' heads, could not even dare to lock down a state, you executed the world's largest lockdown in the history of mankind. They still don't like you.
They don't like you for the confidence and morale boosting in your speech that united and channelised an entire nation of a billion and they still don't like you when you exude humility and awareness of the situation by apologising to the poor of the country for having to do this to them and the nation.
They don't like you when you release an economic package for the poor.
They don't like you when you repeatedly ask them with folded hands to stay at home to save their own freaking lives.
They don't like you when you beg them to express gratitude for the unsung heroes while your government is bringing in test kits from Korea and Germany and setting up required facilities on a war footing.
Now, Sir, these are the same folks who cannot even figure out how to entertain themselves and their family of four for 21 days but they expect you to have a perfect solution to the problem of 1.3 billion people of different needs.
These are the same folks who may not even have helped their neighbours or maids in need but they want you to distribute money to the needy equally, without lapses overnight.
Some of them can't even manage their home budget with a huge salary but they want you to manage the economy in these testing times without failures.
Some of them can't attend their offices or meetings on time and some may not even wake up on time despite alarm clocks but they want you to announce the lockdown in the morning to give them time to hoard and stash the essentials.
As if an announcement in the morning will have a different impact, silly!
Their walls are filled with pictures of police charging protesters, even if it was to save their own lives, but their walls shamelessly avoid posting thousands of Indians stuck in the Middle East brought back in Air India planes.
Their walls are filled with posts on migrants' sufferings but never a single post on what could be the solution to save lives without collateral damage.
Their walls shamelessly avoid showing Sikhs doing langar, Muslims opening up their hotels to feed the needy, Christians opening their hearts to not just humans but also the suffering dogs on the roads, common men opening kitchens, ordinary people working with government employees to distribute money, goods, food. Don't be surprised why. They don't like you.
They don't like you because for them you are part of a political party and ideology which they admonish and the fact that you won a majority in Indian elections twice, which they have neither the capacity nor the maturity to digest.
Alas, if, and only if, for one moment they could treat you as the head of the nation, head of their nation, the Prime Minister of India... but still, they don't like you.
And, Sir, you. You are at fault.
You don't boast of your government's humongous efforts to be the first one to bring in thousands of Indians back home without even thinking for a second about their race, religion, language, orientation, or even citizenship.
You don't boast of the fact that our first quarantine establishment of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police was positioned even before the first coronavirus case in India surfaced.
You don't publicise how your railway compartments are turned into a quarantine zone, a first of its kind in the world.
You don't market all the efforts your billionaire industrialists in the country are putting in to ensure the health infrastructure is expanded rapidly to meet the demands of the present crisis and the future.
You don't question the protesters gang, the award returnee gang, the afraid gang, the pseudo-intellectual gang while they are all shamelessly hiding, their tails wrapped around them when the country needs them the most.
Tweeting or posting anything in opposition to any steps the government takes is their only 21-day quarantine plan.
Your government will still serve them all and protect them all, just as any other citizen of India, but they still won't like you.
And your face, Sir, it still hides the dilemma and the helplessness you deal with. I, for sure, see the agony behind that confident, smiling but serious face for which saving the lives of each and every individual is personal, very personal and I can see that.
I can see the trade-off you face, of having to self-destroy the economy for saving the nerve, the life of this nation, its people, of all races, regions, religions, economic stature and political orientation, even the traitors.
I can see this is a fight where winning is not the goal, minimising losses is. Suffering and collateral damage are inevitable, and survival is the key.
The goal is not to win but to just hang in there and live another day till the virus is defeated by the scientists, people, doctors or the very nature that brought it up.
Dear honourable prime minister of India, Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi, I am with you as you lock down the nation for 21 days, and if need be, even more. As you said, ‘Jaan hai to Jahaan hai’.
The economy is revived by living people, not coffins. One never boasts of the future and I will not either.
Only time will tell if this was our finest hour, but at present I am positive that the steps you and your government are taking will save our lives and also our economy and minimise the losses.
Keep serving the nation for as long as you can.
We need you.
-- By someone who has no wings (right or left), no extremes (hard or soft), no religion, no party membership, but only a passport that is dear to him above everything else: an Indian passport that proudly says he's an Indian.
Sarang is a Hyderabad-based software engineer working in a multinational company. He is a vivid blogger and writes about international affairs, leadership and management, self-learning, and matters of national importance.
He can be reached on Twitter: @sforsarang
This was first published on Rediff.com and has been reproduced here with permission.
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