India’s Covid-19 Emergency Testimonies: Rector Basic Formation, Pargi

Once again Corona is back even with more devastating effects and causing deaths, fear, confusion and chaos in the country. The hospitals in charge are complaining the shortages of oxygen, ventilators, drugs, beds and many other basic requirements. There is fear spread among the people that going to the hospitals is far riskier than getting treatment at home. The relatives of victims complain that they have to queue for long hours with dead bodies for cremation. The chief executive officer of the Serum Institute (the world’s largest vaccines manufacturer) of India has escaped to London with his wife and children. All schools, colleges, institutes, hostels, all public and religious gatherings have been shut down. According to the news the daily infection rate is around 400,000 new cases and the death toll around 3600 all over India. The second wave with its aggression and force has reached every part of the country. It is taking the lives of so many people especially in those few states where medical facilities are scarce.  According to my observation, there have been collective lapses in the country. Neither the Government nor the public ever thought that Corona would come back with such aggressive force in the country. Even during the second wave elections were conducted in West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry. Therefore, it won’t be easy to stop the increasing cases so soon. The poor and middle class people are dying and facing a lot of financial challenges due to the lockdown and rising prices.

In the midst of fears, confusion, and in an unprecedented situation I feel as if I am inside a box in the YWM formation setting in Pargi and trying to get out.  Quite often, life here seems like a life of cats and rats, a struggle of survival of the fittest. Here in Pargi, all schools, colleges, hostels, institutes have been shut down. All public gatherings like weddings, markets, religious worship and other celebrations are allowed with limited numbers. Every day, around 40-60 people are tested positive, and people die. Many patients are staying at home and those receiving medical help are getting better. I hear the Government is hiding the real data of death cases in order to balance the financial crisis in the state. It seems, “No one is keen on a complete lockdown”. The second wave has not affected us so much here like the first wave with complete lockdown. Now we have night curfew from 9.pm to 5.am. And during the day it is relaxed but with our own risks. Of course, there is an uncertainty around us but seeing the present situation, I pray and hope things will get better soon. I think I am looking after myself and others quite well and the rest I leave to God.

Of course, all people have been affected by the second wave of Corona in one way or another. In my family, my sister-in-law is the first one who has recovered and others are under treatment at home.  I have lost two of my class mates who were priests.  My home diocese has lost 8 priests, and many Christians. All priests of the diocese are asked to keep away from all religious activities and stay at home.  There is complete lockdown in my state called Jharkhand. The second wave has reached almost all villages and towns. People are afraid though they stay at home and take all precautions. The situation there is the worst and looks out of hand. I hear from my people saying, we are trying our best to save our lives but the rest is up to God. I am in constant touch with my family members, friends spiritually and morally.

Here in Pargi it seems less serious since there is no news of deaths and no complete lockdown. But those who have been treated from my place, they tell me “to be careful”. “The safest place is the home.” We don’t know for how long we have to live our unprecedented lives inside the campus or in house. The situation is like Mt. 6:6 when you pray go into your rooms and shut the door and pray to your Father, who sees in secret and is in secret, He will reward you. Let us pray and support each other wherever we are.

Fr Patras Kerketta mhm, Rector Basic Formation, Pargi

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