t is said, since time immemorial, that once you tell a lie, it will invariably come back to you. You then have to take the immense trouble to remember what it was exactly that you had said at a certain point of time in your past. It can be a harrowing experience if you fail to recollect your precise lie. On the other hand, if you tell the truth, life becomes easy and relaxed. You most likely would upset people momentarily at that time but your life becomes stress free later. The truth is easy to remember not only for you but for others also.
India and its government are in a similar kind of fix currently. All data dished out by the Establishment regarding handling of the coronavirus induced pandemic was being swallowed lock, stock and barrel by citizens. No one dared to question the meagre death figures portrayed daily by government agencies while everyone was a spectator watching hundreds of bodies being cremated or interred every day. People did not wish to contradict government’s data primarily because an atmosphere of fear was created. The official effort was that if any one tries to question anything that the Establishment announced on television or through Twitter then it would be considered rumour mongering and that would and did attract heavy penalties against those individuals. Many journalists and social activists were arrested and put behind bars to silence their quest for truth. The clear indication that such actions gave out was that the government, at the Centre as well as the States, wanted to be the BEST. Every state wanted to show it had the lowest death figures and that would be proof enough of a wonderful handling of the pandemic by that party and its Chief Minister. This perverted desire of the people in power in each State to cut down death figures resulted in unofficial communications to hospitals, both state owned and privately run, to show whatever other reasons for deaths they wished to but not certainly coronavirus related. This mindset was supported by the Central government which too was trying to show that it had not only handled the pandemic in the best manner but India had defeated the disease. The Prime Minister had publicly announced such a claim at the World Economic Forum meet at Davos early this year. This set in motion one of the biggest efforts by the Indian government to make doctors and health workers repeatedly tell lies and hoodwink the country.
Today, the situation has turned murky. Now, when the Supreme Court has asked for the actual death figures of each State, the government is in a fix. Till yesterday it was threatening citizens with punishment under sedition law should any one publicly challenge any governmental initiatives to tackle the pandemic. However, the tide seems to be turning. For example, the Ministry of Home, in an affidavit to the Apex Court late last week, has said that the State governments are not in a position to pay the ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the families of those who have died of Covid-19 as it is beyond fiscal affordability and the finances of Central and State governments are under severe strain.
It would be worth noting that earlier, as recent as on 11 June 2021, the Centre had told the top court that ‘issues raised in the pleas, seeking directions for ex gratia compensation of Rs 4,00,000 to the families of those who have died of Covid-19 are ‘genuine’ and are under consideration of the government.’ In these intervening few days, there has occurred a major volte face. The financial stress mentioned in the affidavit existed then and exists now too. The situation has changed only because of the Court seeking to know the honest death figures. Nothing else has been altered.
The other serious aspect is that this search for truth will necessarily put more pressure on doctors and health workers who had happily gone about their duties lying through their teeth. The Centre, in its efforts to dig into the past to get at the true figures, will now start a relook into all deaths that occurred at hospitals or at homes. As part of the same affidavit, the Centre has told the Apex Court that ‘death of all coronavirus patients to be classified as Covid-19 fatalities.’ Imagine the predicament of any doctor who, very ‘wisely’, had issued a death certificate of a Covid-19 patient and had given some other reason for the mortality but not due to coronavirus. If the same doctor is compelled to change the reason(s) for the death of a patient and contradict the earlier official certificate, it could have far reaching effects on her or his carrier and credibility.
All these complexities have arisen and all these lies have been vomited on the very people who helped install individuals to lead the government by those very individuals just because they wanted to show their peers as also the world that they are the best. It is now proven that the people ruling this country are liars, all of them.