COVID-19: Hunger in Quarantine

March 15, 2020 (Rohini and Her Children)
I don’t know of developed countries but in a country like ours, a sad and hard fact is that not everyone can afford to quarantine themselves. A woman I know for two years sells vegetables at hatia. She mothers two children, both of them go to school during the daytime and help her mother in selling vegetables in the evening (on normal days).

Seven years ago, her husband went for work and never came back. Nobody knows about his whereabouts and consequently, she had to leave her husband’s hut to come to this town and has never been back. She lives in a rented room and makes about three hundred rupees of profit per day (and she is happy about this!). She pays her room rent, school fees of her children, for the health of all the three members, for the food and everything else from that nine thousand rupees. Which leaves her with almost zero saving (thankfully, not negative).

If she is to quarantine herself for a week, do you think that she would be able to survive another one? And her work keeps her in a crowded place for a long period of time. Both, the hunger and the coronavirus are competing to beat her!

April 10, 2020 (The Revolt)
To address the problems of those who work on daily wages and for the poor and marginalized groups during this quarantine period, the government had launched relief programmes all over the country to benefit from which needy people had gathered to receive food in a rural municipality in Dhanusha.

And, all of a sudden the poor started revolting because the relief items were distributed proportionally to the wealth of people. Richer families were getting more relief items and the poorer were getting less while the relief items were only for the poor. The revolution violated all the possible guidelines of social distancing.

The police intervened, media reported, but to the poor’s gloom, all the event succeeded to become was a piece of sensational news over the internet among poor loving audiences and on television. “Who will give us justice during this pandemic?”, a thin old man asked a news reporter. He further added, “It’s even more convenient to ignore our problems now than it was before the pandemic or will be after it.”

April 14, 2020 (The Magicians Who Eat a Lot)
A large number of poor women hiding their mouth and nose with their shawl fought at the municipal office (in some village in Morang) premises to receive the relief items first. Because everybody knows that relief is never enough.

The purpose of the quarantine is to create a distance among people in order to minimize the spread of infection and to reduce the number of patients going to the hospital. Well, the purpose of the quarantine here is to create further distance between the rich and the poor. And with the sleight of a hand in the form of relief gather all the poor people together to defeat the purpose of the ‘real’ quarantine.

And, what were the middle class and the rich people doing on the same day? Well, the moral ones were enjoying food and rest at their homes and the immoral ones were performing the role of the magician who with a sleight of hand could coalesce people. These magicians succeeded in doing so, have always succeeded in doing so whether in the times of flood or earthquake by keeping the larger portions of relief at their own homes. To relieve themselves of all duties till the next disaster.

Well, they are strikingly wonderful magicians in another manner too in which they are the only ones who could perform this inhuman task of looting the poor in the time of a pandemic or a disaster.

April 15, 2020 (Beating the Beaten)
Mr. Nikesh Das is a student of medicine who has been back to his home before the lockdown from Bangladesh. He switches on the TV and is stunned. As if a bolt of lightning struck him and his future. Till that day, only the common people of this great country used to beat the doctors.

Three doctors after having food after the whole day of their work were returning back to their residence together. A van of police came, the doctors showed them their identity cards and the police showed them their rods. And, finally beat them.

What more wrong is there to see for you? When the ones who have promised to protect you beat you instead. Beat the doctors who are fighting the pandemic. Who in the earth will fight this pandemic then? Or do you want them to work each and every moment devoid of food and rest? Or do you assume that the doctors never get hungry? Or feel sleepy? Or rather they should not?

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