Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Stay at Home ! ~ Don't cross Lakshman Rekha #NationalLockdown


After the self-imposed Janata Curfew comes the 21 day curfew announced by Prime Minister of the Nation Shri Narendra Modiji.  He spoke of the need of remaining at home, not crossing the Lakshman Rekha – it is imperative that we follow the directive.  Stay at Home for your sake; everyone's sake, for the sake of our Nation.  #StayHomeIndia,  #NationalLockdown


In the great Ithihasa purana ‘Ramayana’ when  Lakshmana fell unconscious, near death, hit by an arrow from Ravana’s son Meghnad, Hanuman approached the Lankan Royal Physician Sushena for advice.  Sushena asked Hanuman to rush to Dronagiri Hills and fetch four plants: Mruthasanjeevani (restorer of life), Vishalyakarani (remover of arrows), Sandhanakarani (restorer of the skin) and Savarnyakarani (restorer of skin colour) (Srimad Valmiki Ramayana, 74th chapter, Yuddakanda, Slokas 29-34). Hanuman, not able to pick the four from the multitude, brought back the entire hill. And Lakshmana was revived from near death back to life, and to victory.

गत्वा परममध्वानम्     उपर्युपरि सागरम् ।
हिमवन्तं नगश्रेष्ठम्       हनुमन् गन्तुमर्हसि ॥
கத்வா பரமமத்வாநம்    உபர்யுபரி ஸாகரம் ।
ஹிமவந்தம் நகஸ்ரேஷ்டம்  ஹநுமந் கந்துமர்ஹஸி ॥

You shall, O Hanumān, go to Himavān, the best among the mountains, flying a long way high above the ocean!  .. .. just as Hanuman performed this wondrous deed, We too as servants of the Nation shall simply follow the Golden rule, stay for 21 days at home, work for the Nation, by being at Home and prevent the spread of the dreaded virus.

Today @ 8 pm again the Nation sat glued to TV sets.  Prime Minister Narendra Modiji  announced a complete lockdown of 21 days for the entire country. The lockdown will start at 12 am on Tuesday, said PM Modi during his address to the nation. PM Modi urged every Indian to stay indoors and self-isolate.  He said that if India does not manage the lockdown for these 21 days then India will be pushed back by 21 years. The Prime Minister added that this lockdown is more important than the janta curfew announced for Sunday. PM Modi urged the importance of social distancing during his address. He added that social isolation is important for everyone and not only the sick. "Social distancing is for everyone, for everyone in the family. Social distancing is even for the Prime Minister," said PM Modi.

"It took 67 days for the first lakh people to be infected from coronavirus. It only took 11 days for the next 1 lakh to be infected. Even more scary is the fact that it took only four days for the figure to rise to 3 lakhs," said PM Modi. He added that India will bear the financial consequences of the lockdown. "But to save the lives of every Indian is my, the state government and the central government's biggest priority," said PM Modi. "I urge you to stay wherever you are in the country," he added.

"Forget what it is like stepping out of the house for 21 days. Stay at home and only stay at home. Today's decision of countrywide lockdown has drawn a Lakshman Rekha around the door of your house," he emphasised.

Just to add some history to not so comparable lockdowns - Madras was well prepared to face an air raid from the Japanese during World War II. Air raid shelters were built, sirens installed, slit trenches dug and pamphlets that told residents how to stay safe pasted everywhere. Yet it is reported that  when a Japanese plane finally bombed the city on the night of October 11, 1943, no one knew about it for three days.

Alfred the Great was King of Wessex from 871 to c. 886 and King of the Anglo-Saxons.  He ascended the throne when his father died at his young age.  After ascending the throne, Alfred spent several years fighting Viking invasions. He won a decisive victory in the Battle of Edington in 878 and made an agreement with the Vikings, creating what was known as the Danelaw in the North of England.

Read that there was ‘curfew bell’ -   a bell rung in the evening in Medieval England as the curfew signal for everyone to go to bed.  Reportedly a bell was rung usually around eight o'clock in the evening which meant for them to cover their fires - deaden or cover up, not necessarily put out altogether. The usual procedure was at the sound of the curfew bell the burning logs were removed from the centre of the hearth of a warming fire and the hot ashes swept to the back and sides. The cold ashes were then raked back over the fire so as to cover it. A benefit of covering up the fire in the evening was the prevention of destructive conflagrations caused by unattended live fires, a major concern since at the time most structures were made of wood and burned easily.
 
The curfew bell with the associated curfew law is recorded by history as having been started by Alfred the Great; the law associated with the curfew bell is a custom that history records as being adopted by William I of England  in the year 1068.   The curfew law imposed upon the people was a compulsory duty they had to do or be punished like a criminal. During World War II, the Air Ministry had forecast that Britain would suffer night air bombing attacks causing large numbers of civilian casualties and mass destruction. It was widely agreed that navigation and targeting would be more difficult if man-made lights on the ground could be extinguished.  Blackout regulations  imposed in  1939,   required that all windows and doors should be covered at night with suitable material such as heavy curtains, cardboard or paint, to prevent the escape of any glimmer of light that might aid enemy aircraft.

The present scenario is far different – it is imperative that all stay at home, avoid social contact, fight the dreaded Corona virus.  Together we must triumph, prevent the spread of virus in the Nation and get back to streets with happy message of having conquered the killer virus

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th Mar 2020.

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