Pandemic, Life, Future wins gold at the British Queens Commonwealth essay writing competition | Aga Khan Academies

Pandemic, Life, Future wins gold at the British Queens Commonwealth essay writing competition

01 October 2021

Namaste. This message is to all the Indian citizens in every corner of the country. These past fifteen years have been a series of swivet, not knowing whether us or our loved ones would make it past the deadly virus. Years and years of excessive sanitization, quarantine and social distancing have exhausted us. Watching hundreds of people suffer and die every day has disrupted our mental and physical well-being. Holding on tight to our loved ones and praying for a bright future, was all we could do. The struggles we faced were immeasurable.

2019 started off as a normal exciting year – Abhijit Banerjee an Indian winning a Nobel prize, India banning triple talaq, Arunima Sinha the world’s first woman amputee to scale Mount Vinson, etc. Little did we know that this exciting year was going to take a drastic turn. This turn took place during December 2019 in a city named Wuhan in China when Covid-19, the lethal virus emerged. From then, in a span of one year, 2.6 million deaths have been recorded. On 11th March 2020 the WHO declared Covid-19 a global pandemic, sending nations into alarm. The first case recorded in India was on 27th January 2020 in Kerala. Since the virus started spreading rapidly across all states, from people returning to India from various countries. Looking back from then to now a lot has changed, technology has improved, but the virus stayed. Numerous variants emerged and took millions of lives. There were different vaccines which have been invented to cure this virus, which involved hundreds of trials but, none of them had full effect on the virus. Then, when all hope was lost, came a vaccine which was strong enough in preventing the virus, successfully passed all the trials with a 100% efficiency - the “CovidPro” vaccine.

The vaccine formula, which was created in India, had not only saved lives in India, but all over the world. This vaccine, made one year ago has brought us close to wiping away the virus. And today, dear friends, with pride I am overjoyed to say that after 15 years of battling the virus, the pandemic has come to an end leaving us with mixed emotions. The most important thing which I want to do is give gratitude.

Firstly, I want to take this time to remember our fallen soldiers, the people whose lives have been stripped from this planet mercilessly. Their presence will always be reminisced in our country’s history. Secondly, I want to thank all the doctors, nurses and medical staff who have consistently worked overtime, taking optimal care of not only patients in the hospital but people in and outside their community. Finally, I would like to thank all the government officials of each state for taking ethical and moral decisions by enabling lockdowns and safety measures. Moreover, I also want to thank the citizens who complied to all the rules and regulations set forward by the government.

We have not seen peace for many years, our lives became weary and dark, but amid that darkness I see light in every person’s soul. Meditating on visualizing a bright future ahead can pull us through from the disasters in the past. The end of the pandemic is like a stepping stone - the entrance into a normal lifestyle. Changing lifestyle will not and should not happen in a day. Various arrangements and processes are required to facilitate this change. However, the end of the pandemic does not dim the possibilities of further pandemics. Therefore, certain guidelines must be implemented to brace ourselves for future catastrophes. It is highly advisable that everyone still execute proper sanitisation and maintain social distancing. Those who haven’t gotten the “CovidPro” vaccine must get themselves vaccinated immediately. Vacations and trips should be avoided. I truly understand that a break is needed but till the virus goes to a minimal state, international or inter-state travel will be restricted. Malls, restaurants, and shopping centres can resume in a span of 1-2 months. Lockdown in all states can be lifted in 2 weeks’ time. Those who need to travel for valid reasons can register on the Aarogya Setu app travel section. If the reason for travel classifies as necessary, booking will be allowed. Travel will be declined if the individuals are found to be unhealthy. For the safety of our children, schools will remain closed. Online classes shall continue as usual. Only after we receive information that the cases have declined to less than 1000, across the country, from the medical council, will the government consider reopening schools. The government has taken the initiative in funding government schools with laptops for every child, which will help improve the education of economically backward students. This will allow them to learn more about technology and be of use in case of future pandemics. The government also encourages schools to have a 50% digital education through gadgets and 50% old school pen and paper education. This gives students an all-round preparation for the future and makes learning more effective.

As we are moving into an unpredictable future, there can be various viruses which will emerge as time goes on. We need to be prepared for any disease which may come up. This preparation should be done by maintaining the well-being of your mental and physical health. Everyone is recommended to eat a healthy home-cooked diet. Ordering fast foods should be infrequent. It is important to include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Regular sanitization of your houses should be done, at least twice a month. Since we are not aware of what the future holds, it is vital to keep stocking essential goods. Use of critical medical appliances like oximeter, glucometer, blood pressure apparatus is suggested.  In case of any emergency, these appliances will come in handy. A good supply of masks, sanitisers, face shields and personal protective equipment should be considered. It is also recommended to store medicines for regular ailments like cold, cough, headaches, stomach aches, fever, etc.

The government has created an app called “Aarogya App”; the main aim of this app is to track new viruses beforehand and ensure the welfare of every citizen. Storing information about your health and daily diet can help medical personnel keep track of any abnormal conditions. Yearly health check-ups and swab tests across the country will be done to prevent future epidemics or pandemics. Installment of research labs for diseases and viruses will be done for every state in the country. Quarantine centres will also be instated for future viruses. They can also be used for contact diseases and viruses. This pandemic has taught us many moral lessons and spread the message of need for humanity. Watching people die without proper resources has triggered the government to a great extent. This has pushed us to start the “People’s Program”. Those who do not have a good financial background, stable income and a proper home can get free medical treatment. They will also be provided with food and essential materials like clothes, sanitaries if required and requested. They can register themselves on the “Aarogya App”. Later, government officials will meet up with them and discuss further implementation.

I also urge everyone to get themselves administered with various vaccines like varicella, influvac, mmr, bcg, hpv vaccine, etc. The pandemic has made all of us conscious of our health. Following a healthy lifestyle ensures a better tomorrow. The government, with the help of medical officials, will take measures in creating a list by narrowing down the most important vaccines each person or child should take. The government will then do its best to make sure that these vaccines are available to all the people. As I speak the list is being made, it will be accessible to all in a matter of one week. The cost of these vaccines will be made affordable for all. We will try our best to make buying vaccines hassle free. Our Indian researchers have developed a “Cocktail” vaccine which protects and prevents people from various viruses and diseases. During this pandemic, one thing we have observed is that the rapidly mutating virus made us susceptible other diseases like black fungus, white fungus, yellow fungus, etc. We are also working towards building a single vaccine for different fungal and bacterial infections. These types of cocktail vaccines strengthen and provide immunity to the people.

Throughout this pandemic a lot of businesses like malls, restaurants, shopping centres and schools have gone into losses. This end of the pandemic is a path of success where these businesses can start to have profits. After everything goes back to normal this also gives opportunities to entrepreneurs who dream to start a new business. India will become a land of opportunities again.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “In midst of darkness light persists”, the light we hoped for during the pandemic has been found. That light already exists within us; it takes a little humanity to realise and act on that light. It is now our responsibility to use it wisely and safely. Thank you for listening patiently. Stay safe and Jai Hind.