NATURE – A TEACHER LIKE NONE OTHER…

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The pandemic caused by the spread of the novel Coronavirus has put not just the global health system in a tizzy but has left in its wake, large and unexpected upheavals to economies, lives and livelihoods, the magnitudes of which are yet to be fully grasped. It has unmasked a fragility that has ominous portents for the future of the human race – and one to which we can turn a Nelson’s eye only to our greatest peril.

What is the basic lesson that Corona is trying to teach us? Very simply put – *Don’t mess with Nature*. Whatever the origin of the virus, whether contracted from some animal or due to a biological warfare experiment gone wrong – the lesson is the same for humankind. Humans have not just deforested and destroyed habitats across the globe as a result of which we have come into contact with species that we were not designed to encounter in Nature’s plan. We have also started eating every kind of flesh in the process and our immune systems have failed in countering new viruses from such animals that affect populations before doctors and epidemiologists even have a chance to say ‘Coronavirus’.

What if it was a biological warfare experiment gone wrong? Even then, as the Mr Hyde equivalents of powerful states that not just have this capability but also the intent to harm others in the most unethical way execute their sinister designs, they perhaps fail to realise that the Frankensteins they create may be unleashed upon themselves before they can develop an antidote or a vaccine. Nature has then unequivocally expressed her displeasure against humankind by prematurely ending over 8000 lives across the globe with many more to follow. Who knows when her fury shall pass?

Let me now address the livelihood lament. Markets are down, the Dow has crashed, airlines are going out of business, malls and cinemas are empty, hotels and restaurants are shut, as are pools, spas, clubs and gyms, salary cuts and pink slips loom large over corporate workforces – in short the party is over – or is it really? Could it be that the party was unreal in the first place? Businesses may be suffering in the traditional sense in that they are making less money but has living suffered so much? I would like to suggest that living may have improved in several ways. Roads are less congested, pollution has dropped, markets are once again a pleasure with only people who need things venturing out, there are no queues at restaurants, people may even be getting to know their immediate families better, there is so much more awareness about personal and community hygiene – and no, people are not dying of hunger. Corona has taught us the difference between *Need and Greed*. But will the world heed the caution and stop this obscene overconsumption of resources – there are no prizes for guessing.

Even God has taken a beating. Religious places, once chock -a-block with devotees, are echoing with emptiness. When survival is at stake, Gods don’t stand a chance. People are happy to give organised religion.a pass and seek refuge in their personal beliefs, faiths and convictions. The same mind that has created Gods is more mindful of self-preservation at all costs. The fair weather faithfuls shall return when the going is better.

The good thing is that this unprecedented panic has got government machineries the world over moving as never before. Despite severe shortfalls in our own healthcare system and abundant population, there is every indication that the Indian government and public at large are serious in combating the pandemic. With a bit of luck and blessings of Mother Nature, India and the rest of the world could get away with much lighter punishment compared to the few unfortunate countries that were trampled over by a speeding COVID 19. But would that be asking for too much benevolence from Mother Nature, whom humans have violated so unjustly over the past few generations? If you were in her place, would you forgive the Human Race?

 

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