After a successful Janata Curfew on 22 March, the government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March ordered a nationwide lockdown for 21 days. The announcement came as a total surprise for all. India at that time witnessed only about 500 confirmed Covid-19 cases. The population of over 1.3 billion were urged to stay where they were and all the necessities for living were promised to them.
This decision seems to be a boon, as it is the only way to stop community spread of the pandemic. Many nations failed to take this step at the right time and they were severely hit by the pandemic. They witnessed a rapid spread of the disease which they could not control later. This decision was critically praised by many nations and organisations worldwide.
Our nation has a population of over 1.3 billion. A large percentage of this population are migrants who migrate to cities and town in search of a better livelihood. For a majority of the population, this announcement turned to be a bane. Labourers, workers at factories, street vendors and many more petty workers who didn’t have a proper dwelling place were forced to leave the places amid lockdown notice as there were no or little transportation facilities after the announcement they were forced to travel to their native places on foot.
Since the lockdown, many are seen on highways walking miles to reach their homes. Similar to this is a video uploaded by The Quint. This video was filmed by Vinod Kapri in the nights of 26–27 March. In this video, Kapri followed the family of Priya, who was willing to travel a distance of 475 km from Delhi to Kanpur by foot. She was not alone; she was accompanied by her three daughters, one of whom had a broken leg and couldn’t walk properly. The mother was carrying heavy loads of bags and three small children. I found the video too painful and couldn’t control my tears while watching it.
And the most horrifying part is that Priya is not the only one who is walking miles to reach home. There are thousands of others like Priya who are rushing to reach their native places, irrespective of safety and precautions.
So, the question remains: Is this lockdown vital, and well planned and executed? The ones who can afford it and are in their homes with their loved ones will call it a Boon. And, the ones who are walking and suffering on the roads and streets, and who till date have no proper idea about the Covid-19 and its aftermath, will term it a Bane.