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India Covid-19 Emergency Testimonies: Unspeakable Scenes in Varanasi

Life here in India has become very threatening. The second wave of Covid-19 is unbearable. With the rapid increase of coronavirus cases in the country every individual is facing a tough fight physically as well as mentally, emotionally and psychologically. It is a physical battle but more of mental battle. People are so scared with the situation that as soon as we hear the news that we are tested positive, automatically we start to panic which leads to breathlessness and heart trouble. 

The death rate of religious is higher in this second phase of Covid-19. Almost every day we hear news of the death note of our religious priests and nuns. Even young priests aged 31- 32 have died. Almost each family is getting affected and struggling to overcome it. 

The government in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) says that they have and are taking a proper review of the situation in the city regarding the RTPCR test kit, availability of beds, medicines, vaccines etc. but how much of it is practical we do not know. But people are suffering, very much suffering. Many people are dying just at the entrance of the hospital here at BHU ( Banaras Hindu University).

The situation in the city of Varanasi is getting out of hand as the death rate is rising, though about half of Covid-19 deaths at crematoria and graveyards are not recorded. People queue up for hours at the Ganga ghats to cremate their loved ones. According to a priest and a resident at the ghat, the condition at the ghat is “unspeakable, about 1000 bodies to be burnt in a day. Words cannot express the helplessness among hundreds of people waiting for 8-9 hours in line to cremate their dead.”  There are some families who lost three or four people in a single family within a week. Many children are left  parentless.  

This virus has created a chaos in and around us. Many medical personnel are also getting infected which is a very big loss for the country and its people. There is a shortage of medical facilities like test kits, beds, oxygen etc. even the rich cannot be saved with their money.    

The city is implementing a weekend lockdown for Saturdays and Sundays. But as the situation is going from bad to worse the urge of the city is for a complete lockdown. All the markets have been closed except for essential services for a few hours in the mornings. 

The struggle of the common man is not only with Covid but also his survival. It has led to job loss, income loss and economic crisis in the families as well. Several small shopkeepers and service providers struggle to pay their rent and other bills. Daily wage earners lose everything, they have to think for the next day food. 

Please pray for our suffering humanity. So that, this painful reality, ‘’this will also PASS.’  

I hope you are safe over there. Please remember me in your prayers.

With prayers

Fr Suresh Pachikalapadu mhm

Shanti Ashram Varanasi.


  1. Keeping abreast of the shocking situation in India and the helplessness of so many people as they face this pandemic which is claiming so many lives. My words of last year at the beginning of the global pandemic, ‘let them say, when we were at our worst, we did our best’. Keeping you very much in thought and prayer. GS

  2. The situation there in Varanasi is undoubtedly heartbreaking. Be assured of my prayers. We trust and entrust ourselves to God, our loving and caring Father, in whom we live and move and have our being.

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