One intellectual, Nuh of Dimapur poured his heart in an open letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi particularly after the Prime Minister asked nation to shut regular lights and hold the lit diya or candle in hand in open space in their homes to show light for nine minutes to invisible angels in the sky. Many believe that the Narendra Modi was following the astrologer to end the pandemic crisis on his hand.

The open letter that reflects the depth of his agonized and sad heart and contains what the writer believes to be the shortcomings in the strategy adopted by the NaMo government. Nuh holds no one else responsible for the mess that India appears to be in. He points to the gross inadequacy of medical attendant only five for ten thousand. He may not be aware that thirty thousand pass successful the final MBBS exam since 1980 but eight lakh of them left India for advanced courses in America or Europe and did not return. He may not know but the American health services are sustained by persons of Indian origins.

The health minister B. Shankaranand came to know in 1982 from the then health secretary that India turns out so many doctors each year and yet suffers shortage of doctors to provide services of doctors at the Primary Health Centres. Most become the export surplus commodity as developed lands provide them lucrative opportunities. Lure for better prospects draws them to study medicines. Then each student cost expenditure of Rs. six lakh a year. They walk away to be assimilated in the American system. Then America needed yearly expenditure on each student a lakh dollars and for six years.

The shortfall in availability of doctors in relation to population is inherited by the succeeding regimes for forty years. It cannot be cured over night. Americans are made to pay annually forty percent of their earnings contribution towards social services to enable America to provide free health services to retired old people and we grudge even ten per cent income tax. Shankaranand had to abandon his efforts to end exodus by demanding guarantees for return and work in rural areas to permit them to go abroad because of howling in political circles dictated by the middle class. The class becomes articulate the moment it sees a curtailment to its ambitions. Neither previous governments nor the present set up can be held responsible as your open letter seems to be seeking.

Then you lamented on dearth of protective utilities for medical staff and low number of tests for infection of corona virus. Each corona virus test costs roughly Rs. 5000. But expanse is not consideration. The issue is how many of tested would remain in safe confines and avoid public contact? The test may certify them to be safe and thus make them complacent in belief they are immune and would launch in the dangerous zone. How can any authority prevent their enthusiasm to willfully defy orders to keep away from others? This is nature of Indians to serve others once clearance is certified. It is human goodness though the expenditure on medical tests on them becomes redundant or total wastage.

Your lamentation does not reflect the medical realities or even the fact that Indian conditions differ. You are agitated by reported gravity and high human toll even in developed countries. Toll in Italy was highest in comparison to other European countries. Did you know that proportion of old people of above 60 years is second highest, after Japan with 23 per cent. Did you know that 80 per cent of dead in Italy and other parts of Europe were of higher age? China has 479 million persons above the age of 63 years where as India has less than 79 million or only 6 per cent of the Indian population.

While the Corona pandemic was running through unabated in the developed nations of Europe and the North American region for last two and half months, its march in India was comparatively slow both in its spread and taking victims. India has two advantages over European or Far East Asian nations, its composition of population with 34 per cent by the age group of 15 to 35 years and her being in the Malaria prone zone. I would not give credence to another belief that the virus spread rapidly and easily only in the cold zone above 40 degrees latitude.

Thus the government cannot take credit of containing the spread but it also cannot be blamed for the exodus of the casual labour class from urban towns because they had no means of earning for their meals. It was pathetic to see thousands trailing on their feet, hundreds of miles as public transport bus and rail services were jammed by the lockdown. Surprising was that no social organization came forward to point out if they cannot get food in their slums in urban areas, they have no means to get their meals in rural areas as well but their reaching their villages could endanger lives of others.

The Prime Minister can be questioned for not including the government resolve to spend Rs. 1.80 lakh crore for free supply of food for three months in his directive of the clamp down all activities but no one pointed out distribution of food packets in slums in towns would have been much easier than reaching out needy in their wide spread villages. Not even you Kharoki Nuh point it out in your lambasting outburst.