COVID: Test, Track, Treat Strategy Is Best Solution

Dealing with the second wave of COVID-19 infections as the methodical Test, Track and Treat will be of hope rather than having a hasty approach to the pressing problem. Anyway lockdowns are not an ultimate solution to this sensitive issue. No one will think in terms of going in for a total lockdown like the one that was put in place during the first wave. Instead, we must focus on testing and tracing in micro-containment zones. With regard to the ongoing tussle between the Centre and states such as Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh that have high case numbers, the states should act prudently rather than blaming the Centre for all their lapses. Regarding vaccines, the time is for vaccinating only those who are eligible, which now means those above 45 years of age. Just expressing allegations of vaccine shortage is not the ultimate solution and instead there is a need to project vaccination as a long process that can proceed parallel to the containment efforts. Such a drawn-out vaccination drive will be a permanent solution.


Remembering Bengal’s Communal Harmony

In the 17th century, local Hindu King Madan Roy donated land to Pir Ghazi Mubarak Ali for setting up the iconic mazaar in Ghutiari Sharif – Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district – after the latter cured the former from a serious bout of illness. Every year a large fair is organised in Ghutiari Sharif in June coinciding with the famous Ambubachi Mela at the Kamakhya temple. Today the mazaar forms a revered pilgrimage or a happy meeting ground of Hindus and Muslims alike! Indeed this has been the tradition of Bengal since centuries, bearing the humanitarian legacy of Bangaliana – handed through generations by Lalon Fakir, Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam to name a few. As a matter of fact, such bonhomie transcending religious barriers used to dominate the Bengali society in the last few decades also which seems a “distant dream” right at this juncture. Whenever the holy festival of Eid-Uz-Zuha knocks at the horizon, my mind promptly goes in a flashback mode when I was studying in a college in Hooghly district. We used to live in our college hostel where a significant percentage of the boarders happened to be Muslims. An extremely cordial and friendly environment used to dominate our hostel premises. The homes of two of our close friends, Younas Ali Seikh and Basir Ali, were comparatively nearby and so they used to invite us to their village to celebrate Eid. A small simple white mosque surrounding where villagers of all ages used to be in their cheerful best! Not to forget the unfathomable warmth, love and hospitality of the parents, family members and neighbours of Younas and Basir. A relishing lunch consisting of delicious dishes used to make our day. In this context, I feel proud to recollect how our seniors of Islamic vintage used to lead or guide us during the celebration of Saraswati Puja in our hostel. Also I remember how the Muslim acquaintances used to visit the home of my cousin sister to celebrate Bhai-Phonta! Yes, this was my Bengal enriched in the secular humanitarian legacy of our illustrious greats.