The widespread gloom that has descended on Bangladesh, especially Dhaka, continues to intensify. To many sensitive segments of people, the weight of the pervasive gloom is becoming unbearable. The ambience is heavy with an ominous unfolding of realities. Those comprise the unremitting rise in patients infected by the Covid-19 virus. Intermittent deaths add to the dreariness of the situation. Many other worrisome reports make the countrywide pandemic scenario heavier.
When a pandemic strikes, and continues to wreak havoc on thenormal activities of life, the general people begin suffering from depression. In the case of Covid-19, the whole world is now in the grip of an adverse time. Except the over-optimists, people in the pandemic-hit countries cannot muster the courage to convince their fellow people of any respite.
There are few signs that the scourge will peter off anytime soon. Even after the start of the vigorous vaccination campaigns in both rich and poorer countries, people cannot take heart.Misgivings of myriad types keep stalking those who still remainunscathed.
On the question of Bangladesh, one feels like referring to another phase of its national ordeals. The country underwent it 50 years ago.Five decades back, during the 9-month occupation of the land by a brutal force in 1971 there were rays of hope. These rays, though faint and largely elusive, had enabled people to cling to an optimism of sorts. They were not even distantly aware that Bangladesh would be free of the enemy forces and become an independent nation in just nine months. If anyone had not happened to be mired in the occupied country ravaged by genocide and destructions, s/he would not be able to realise what it was like to be in Bangladesh in 1971 occupation period.
Except the optimism voiced by the clandestine Independent Bangladesh Radio, the BBC and Akashbani, there were virtually none to turn to. Few can recreate the phases of the desolation Bengalees in occupied Bangladesh had to undergo until December 16, 1971, the day of victory. But the truth is etched in the annals of history. The nation nurtured the hope that freedom would visit the land one day. The people in occupied Bangladesh kept waiting for it. Freedom did visit them one day.
Despite a few similarities between the occupation period and Covid-19 in terms of sufferings and miseries, the pandemic virus has emerged as an invisible enemy. Nobody knows when and where s/he would be contaminated by the virus, or by one of its variants - mutated in England, South Africa or Brazil. But there are routes of escape from the invisible attack of the virus. It provides people with moments of restrained timeout and private jubilations. Due to this attribute,the much-feared times of pandemic could be made lighter if one takes recourse to private outlets of leisure. Given the increase in the pandemic's ferocity, different kinds of mild or hard movement restrictions will continue to reduce the kind of freedom enjoyed during normal times. People should learn how to squeeze out their private moments of joy allowed by the pandemic-time health guidelines.
It's true that people feel haunted by the spectres of sufferings and agonising deaths. To its relief, Bangladesh has yet to become a dungeon like the ones seen in different parts of the world. But thepandemic crusaders prefer prolonged home confinements to ritualistically monitored movements outside. According to them, though belated Bangladesh should go for extreme measures to stop the pandemic from emerging in its full fury. Seemingly endless traumas characterise the ongoing pandemic; Bangladesh is still nowhere near them, meaning the nation has yet to face the worse phase. Time hasn't run out to preempt it.