New Delhi, March 23, 2020:

“Disappointed” is the word that comes to mind when one sees the reckless mass gatherings that have come to symbolize the PM-Modi called “janata curfew”, which was being carried out as a demo ahead of the lockdowns in India. The lockdowns will be adopted as a means to deal with the threat of the pandemic coronavirus, however, India’s immaturity during yesterday’s lockdown suggests that there is a mountain to climb yet.

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ALSO READ: Assam Announces Lockdown till March 31 to Deal with COVID-19 amid Rumours

Yesterday was supposed to be an opportunity for India to showcase its resolve to maintain restraint at a time when self-isolation and homestay is the need-of-the-hour. What unfolded, however, was a complete disregard for the rules and norms laid down by the Government, scientists and experts.

ALSO READ: Assam: Nalbari & Dibrugarh Districts go into Lockdown Mode amid Corona Crisis

Across the nation, men-women-children-fathers-grandfathers came out of the safe refuge of their homes and proceeded to clang utensils, beat drums, burst firecrackers, and sloganeer in favour of the ruling BJP dispensation. This, some would say, is how we deal with corona — with reckless and unnecessary bravado. It is worthwhile to mention that the people poured out onto the streets after a series of wild ‘fake news’ messages on WhatsApp that claimed that making noise would stop the corona dead in its tracks.

Thus, as soon as the clock struck 5 in the afternoon, what ensued was complete and utter and absolute mayhem. Scores of Indians, who had been couching in their homes moments earlier observing curfew, suddenly rushed forth onto the streets to “thank” corona warriors (a term coined by the Government to refer to people who continue to work despite curfew). Many took the chance to hail the PM Narendra Modi, forgetting that the worst is probably yet to come, as India has only recently hit the Phase-II of the outbreak, before it hurls headlong into the more challenging phases.

Bollywood led from the front, with the who’s who of that star-studded universe lauding the corona warriors from balconies of their lush apartments. The streets below, however, witnessed a different spectacle. Thus, the curfew that was called as a means to check India’s preparedness for an impending outbreak, gave out the message that no, it most certainly is not! These rowdy displays were also witnessed in several parts of Assam, where a lady could be seen hailing Prime Minister Modi and chants of “Narendra Modi zindabad” echoed. Many were also seen breaking into traditional Bihu dance.

It may be recalled that what had initially begun as a jest during Holi with the video of youths sloganeering ami Corona namanu (we won’t accept the corona), has taken on an almost serious and disturbing form. The festival-like celebrations by Indians in the middle of what could possibly be the most widespread health crisis in world history, has now also earned the wrath of Bollywood.

Nimrat Kaur, best known for her fantastic performance in the realistic drama ‘The Lunchbox’, lambasting the ‘celebrations’, wrote on Twitter, “The attitude behind the circus that’s unfolded in so many parts of the country over ‘celebrating’ the end of #Covid19 is the exact reason why we should be so worried for India. Praying the price we pay for this utter embarrassment and horror isn’t irreversible and drastic..”

Sonam Kapoor, who is usually outspoken on social issues, shared a video of celebrations amid corona and captioned it “Sharing because it’s tragically hilarious.”

Watch: Corona Celebration Below:

At the end of the day of celebrations (which was initially pegged as a day of restrictions), an exasperated Modi tweeted out to relay a message to the janata. He said, “Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Please save yourself, save your family, follow the instructions seriously. I request the state governments to get the rules and laws followed.”

With the hullabaloo over the janata curfew having died down and the beaten and battered utensils being placed back on the kitchen shelves, it remains to be seen to what extent India, known for its unruliness, be able to show restraint during the ensuing period of lockdown.

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