Corona virus (COVID-19) epidemic has created havoc and has changed the nature of societies like no other epidemic has done before. It has lots of positive and negative lessons for all of us. Such epidemics will come more often in future since our unsustainable life style reduces our immunity and hence our bodies are very susceptible to be attacked by such viruses.
The best way to treat the COVID-19 is to have excellent body immune system. Present day life style with less physical exercise and artificial environment produces obesity and other ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. All these produce inflammation of the body and severely reduce its immunity, thus making it an easy target for a virus attack. So for the future of mankind it is necessary that we change our life style and become more in tune with nature.
The body can be hardened by interaction with natural elements like sunshine and earth on a daily basis. The constant desire to sanitize our homes, offices and general environment does not help in improving the body’s immune system.
Also we need to reduce stress since it causes weakening of immunity. Modern life is full of stress. Whether it is because of lack of sleep, worries, fights or any other conflicts it creates fatigue both in our body and mind and has a tremendous negative effect on our immunity.
One of the best ways to reduce stress is by developing a healthy and emotionally stable brain. Indian Yogic system through the method of pranayama and meditation is one of the best methods to develop a powerful and calm mind. The practice of Sanyam as enunciated by Sage Patanjali where one concentrates on a single thought for a long time helps in focusing of mind, relaxes it and brings in general calmness, happiness and peace.
It is also being increasingly seen that people who have lived in polluted city environment have more chances of dying due to COVID-19. Somehow their lungs weakened by air pollution cannot easily fight the virus attack. This points to reducing air pollution and one of the unintended benefits of lockdown has been tremendous reduction in both air and noise pollution. How do we continue having this clean air and environment even after lock-down is lifted is a great challenge!
COVID-19 is a very virulent virus and our immune system is not yet equipped to combat it. Eventually it will do so but that will take time and come at a great cost of a large number of human lives lost. Thus to reduce large scale casualties lock-down is being implemented all over the world.
I think one of the positive outcomes of this lock-down should have been for people to sit, think, reflect, and write, but with modern internet and 24/7 TV connectivity people are watching more nonsensical shows which sometimes creates more stress and consequently weakens the immune system. At the same time lockdown has increased household tensions and maximum numbers of cases of spousal abuse have been reported from the world over.
However history is full of episodes where great people have used such lockdowns or isolation productively. For example Mahatma Gandhi wrote his autobiography “My Experiments with Truth” in 1932 while in Yervada jail; Jawaharlal Nehru wrote “Discovery of India” in 1940s while in Ahmednagar jail and Veer Savarkar wrote his book “Essentials of Hindutva” and a large number of poems while spending time in Ratnagiri jail in the 1920s.
Similarly Isaac Newton used his forced quarantine during plague of 1660s to think about his great theories of gravitation, optics, calculus etc. And in earlier times William Shakespeare wrote some of his best plays during the 1600s bubonic plague quarantine. We should take lessons from the lives of these great men and use the lock-down time to think of creative ideas.
Nevertheless it is a sobering thought to ponder that the greed of humans to control resources allows such viruses to be researched and developed in various labs and accidentally released. There is some evidence that Corona virus came from a lab in China and the world is paying the price of that stupidity.
At the same time this lock-down has been a god’s gift to dictatorial powers – whether they are at the center or even locally! The human urge to control the life of others has been seen in full flow. On a national scale this could be a rehearsal for even tighter control in future.
On local level, lots of housing societies and mohallas are taking to extreme rules of social distancing and hoodlums have taken law into their own hand by pressurizing and harassing the society members and ordinary citizens who are going about their usual business of buying essential stuff.
This lock-down has created havoc in the economic lives of small farmers and traders. Farmers in rural areas are being harassed by authorities and are not allowed to sit at one place to sell their perishable vegetables and fruits. This will have a huge long term impact on economy and food security of the country. Besides it has created heartrending conditions for migrant laborers and may lead to large scale deaths among them because of hunger and other hardships.
Sometimes one wonders whether we are paying a very heavy price for such lock-down in terms of economic and human well-being. There is a need to look at the whole situation in a holistic manner and not be unnecessarily swayed by fear.