There was a very entertaining debate underway between Rohini Singh of The Wire fame and Nidhi Razdan, former NDTV ‘journalist’. The debate was sparked off by Gargi Rawat, from NDTV, who was bemoaning the fact that Arvind Kejriwal celebrated his Diwali by participating in celebrations at the Akshardham Temple amidst rising Coronavirus cases in Delhi. The Delhi Chief Minister had also organised a ‘virtual’ Puja on the occasion as well.
Rohini Singh commented that Coronavirus cases were on the rise at the national capital due to the fact that citizens were thronging markets during the festive season. It was then that the the star of the show, Nidhi Razdan, stepped in. She declared that “Governments have to take charge” and suggested that they should “lock it down”.
It appears to have escaped her notice that after all these months, with massive mass gatherings at political rallies and elsewhere, the governments will find it a bit difficult to enforce the kind of stringent lockdown that would otherwise be required under such circumstances. After all, it will be hard to convince people to refrain from trying to earn their livelihoods due to the pandemic when they could see for themselves the massive crowds at the election rallies for the Bihar Assembly Elections.
Rohini Singh pointed out that “Lockdowns have huge economic impact” and we cannot really afford it at the moment. It was then that the totalitarian inclinations of Nidhi Razdan sprang forward. She said, “People also have to learn there are costs to being irresponsible.” That is a pretty strong statement to make about citizens trying to enjoy the festive period in a year that has seen too much of doom and gloom.
“The governments must make sure that the plebs know their place!” That is quite an elitist comment to make. Rohini Singh, on the other hand, argued further that lockdown is going to be too painful for those not economically well-off but Nidhi Razdan still appears to be stuck in the ‘Economy vs Public health’ debate that was underway during the initial stages of the pandemic. That ship has sailed long back.
The debate concluded on an inconclusive note, as much of these debates often do. However, there are a lot of lessons that observers could learn from this. We had Rohini Singh, on one hand, blaming citizens for the rising Coronavirus cases. Interestingly enough, she did not blame the massive crowds at Tejashvi Yadav’s rallies ahead of the Bihar elections.
On the other hand, we had Nidhi Razdan who was so triggered by Arvind Kejriwal’s participation in Diwali celebrations that she wanted the government to punish people with a lockdown in order to show them that there are ‘costs’. This is peak 2020, ladies and gentlemen. One cannot make this up.
As it so happens, Nidhi Razdan was not always such a lockdown enthusiast. In fact, she abhorred lockdowns and made much of the same argument as Rohini Singh. However, quite ostensibly, Kejriwa’s participation in Diwali celebrations was too much for her to bear. And thus, she made a complete U-Turn from her previous stand.
As early as the 26th of March, Nidhi was already arguing against lockdowns. Replying to a now deleted tweet from Rajdeep Sardesai, she argued that “the economic disruption caused by an almost month long lockdown will be felt much longer than the actual lockdown.” She also shared a tweet thread that documented the hardship that would be endured by migrant workers.
Her opinions had not changed by May either. She endorsed the position that it was time to lift the lockdown in India. Nidhi said that Dr. Vikram Patel of the Harvard Medical School “has made some excellent points on why India can’t afford a lockdown, how people with other health issues have been hit, mostly the poor.”
Again in May, Nidhi complimented Arvind Kejriwal for ‘saying what was needed to be said’. “We needed a harsh lockdown but now we can’t go on like this, we have to learn to live with the virus, and take precautions while getting back to our lives. The economic distress is real,” she tweeted.
Later in the same month, Nidhi Razdan went to the extent of admonishing the Chief Ministers advocating for a longer lockdown. She said, “Chief Ministers advocating a longer lockdown today are abdicating their responsibility. Tough questions need to be asked – what have you been doing for the last 2 months? Are hospitals better prepared? Locking down is just hoping the problem will go away. It won’t.”
But all of that is in the past. Now, Hindus are engaging in festivities during Diwali and hence, governments must step in to show that there are ‘costs’ for ‘irresponsible behaviour’. The massive election rallies have already been forgotten. The gatherings for Namaz and Eid are to be forgotten too. We also should forget that Tablighi Jamaat was one of the drivers of the pandemic in India and every single liberal journalist was busy whitewashing their deplorable conduct.
But now, with Arvind Kejriwal participating in Diwali celebrations, things have crossed all limits and we must all collectively feel the horror that every liberal journalist is currently feeling and compel our elected representatives to punish Hindus celebrating Diwali in the most hideous of ways. There is good news amidst all of this, however. The active cases in the country have been falling consistently since mid-September even as the country has been opening up since then and the number of new cases everyday has fallen as well.