Coronavirus, the best of teachers
Etymologically, teacher it is the noun form of teach meaning to give lessons to students. So, teacher means a person whose profession is teaching. We know our teachers of school, college and university but beyond these the vast world is a place of learning. A tree, the sky, the moon, a river, an ocean, even an animal can be our teacher. Poet Sunirmal Bose has written -"The whole world is my school and I am a student of all" but another invisible teacher (also enemy) has entered into the school of the earth who has torn out the rhythm and routine of human life all over the world.
Yes, it is none other than killer corona virus, commonly known as Covid-19. Emerging from Wuhan, China it has infected almost all the whole world. Quoting Jeevanananda Das it can be easily said that the world is now under a deep and deeper disease. Perhaps the imagined disease of Jeevanananda was not similar to this and nobody still knows its nature accurately and here lies the fear. Shakespeare has written -"Present fears are less than horrible imaginings," (Macbeth, Act I, Scene III) but now present fear has surpassed all limits of imagination. Jeevanananda said, "Everybody is not a poet, some are poets" but now, not somebody, but everybody is afraid of this disease. Some people are fighting against it because everybody is not a fighter. Rather, others enjoy the benefit of the fight.
Ahead of Kurukshetra war Sri Krishna advised Arjun, " If you win in this war you will be the monarch of the world. If you die you will go to heaven but at least face the fight." These inspiring words still encourage people to fight against enemy, disease and danger.
The germ that has broken knees and spines of crores of people of the world is so small that it is almost a non-existent and not even visible through any normal microscope. British daily The Guardian has published expert comments about it.
1.Bat is the place of origin of Covid-19. Bats do not die of this virus because immunisation power of bats can easily prevent it. Before infecting human beings corona virus entered into bodies of mammals like pangolin. Edward Homes, Professor of Virology of Sydney University has said, " From bats Covid-19 entered into bodies of other animals which are very close to human beings and those animals are available in market. Coming in contact with these animals in market we have been infected and after returning from market others have been contaminated. Moreover, droplets coming from cough or snoozing of human beings contain this virus."
2. Particles containing this virus enter into our body through breathing and get attached at the outer cells of our throat and larrings. Jonathan Bell, Professor of Virology of Nottingham University, has said, " One kind of protein exists at the surface of Covid-19 which can befool the receptors and infuse RNA into cells. Entering into our body Covid-19 rapidly multiplies itself so much that walls of cells blast and the virus spreads within whole body. SERS virus makes patients weaker than Covid-19 but death rate in the case of Covid-19 is less (10:1). Patients can't understand the attack of Covid-19 which does not happen in the case SERS and MARS virus."
3. When Covid-19 reaches lungs many cells are broken and destroyed and lungs gets filled with the broken cells. Then patient is to be placed in ICU or ventilation.
4. It has been found that prevention power has increased within those who have survived Covid-19. Huge amount of antibody has grown in blood which prevent the entrance of virus but some virologists think that duration of this type of immunisation power is maximum 2 years.
5. International science journal Nature informs that 78 vaccines are intended to be used as human trial. Scientists of Oxford University, American Biotechnology Corporation and Chinese researchers are conducting such trial. Even after that there is no possibility of availability of this vaccine in market before next year because long trial is required.
Unknown Covid-19 is more powerful than world conqueror Alexander the Great. Similar to it several other enemies viz. plague, cholera, Spanish flu, small pox, MARS, SERS haunted this world earlier but after a certain period they were defeated by man. Therese is reason to believe that this enemy will also be destroyed which is only a matter of time but bowing down our heads we must give it the honour of a teacher.
It has taught us how to keep ourselves clean and our environment pollution free, how to forget division and to be united. It has taught us many other things indirectly. Many scientists think that it can change itself. We can learn the lesson of changing ourselves (from hostility to harmony) from it. Such a change was due long ago but only a revolution was necessary and that situation has arrived in the shape of Covid-19. Where could we get such a destructive but effective teacher?
In the Ramayan, Ramchandra had to go to forest for 12 years leaving all the pleasures of palace but he adjusted himself with the hard and hostile life of forest.. If he could do it then why not we particularly when we are staying at home though. under compulsion. Following the law of nature Bengali new year appeared but there was no one to receive. Probably this is for the first time that our most popular red and white national and social festival passed unwelcomed and colourlessly.
Covid-19 has taught us that how weak we are to nature, Rabindranath has written - " Give the forest back and take the town" (Towards Civilisation) but nobody cared. Urbanisation has been considered as standard of civilization but nature has taken revenge. Men are locked inside and wild animals are out. Mountain goats roaming on streets of England, peacocks dancing on streets of Mumbai, rare species deer loitering on roads of Japan, penguins on streets of Capetwon, crocodiles enjoying sunlight on Mexican beach, dance of rare dolphins at Cox;s Bazar sea beach, monkeys reigning on streets of Thailand, lions lying on roads in South Africa - all these pictures are common now.
Corona has taught us that military power, financial force, individual influence, private pride, social strength all are rolling on ground. Medical science is meaningless, technology is trifle, and hospitals are helpless. So called super powers and emerging tigers are puzzled generals without sword and shield. It has exposed the shamelessness and irresponsibility of a group of people in the name of providing information, reaping paddy, managing disaster and distributing relief. It has thrown a big question to us - life or livelihood, which one is more important? Where is society? Be unsocial, stay away to remain safe and expect - we shall overcome. Till then existence is the only concern as Sharat Chandra wrote in his famous story Bilashi (published first in 2018) -"Survival is the ultimate success. Gigantic elephant has gone extinct but cockroach has survived." Has the time to live like cockroaches arrived?
The writer is a former Commissioner of Taxes