Emperor of all maladies

Emperor of all maladies

Rajiv Sharma

Rajiv Sharma

I AM the most serious disorder of modern times. I have spared almost none. Every passing day, I am making deep inroads into the health of society and analysts are startled at the ferocious rate of my spread. I am more lethal than all viruses. I keep on corroding the mental and social well-being of people. With no cure in sight, the coming generations may have no option, but to bear the brunt of my fury ceaselessly.

I eat into intellect, intelligence, sensibilities and humanity to survive and grow. I am the only affliction known to the world that thrives on misery and agony. Every time I see the burning of stubble in the countryside leading to the choking of millions of people, I grow in proportion. Child abuse, criminal assault on women and acid attacks hone my stinging tentacles.

Beggars in streets, choked sewers, potholed roads, stray cattle and rash driving snuffing out innocent lives help me sustain. When people turn their heads the other way on coming across accident victims, when eve-teasers, hooligans and snatchers have a field day, I get a shot in the arm. When corrupt officials get promoted and scamsters get elected, I flourish.

When votes are asked for in the name of religion, when vigilantes rule the roost, when innocents are lynched and the downtrodden are left to die after being beaten up, I am on cloud nine. When sexual offenders at workplace escape unpunished, when babies die in a government hospital for want of oxygen, I grow in stature.

When society is divided in the name of caste, creed and religion, when roads are blocked and buses set on fire to prove that might is right, when temples are built by encroaching upon public parks and when hatred rules, I am immensely gratified.

When the guardians of the law hunt down people and pin them down before the camera, when youngsters leave their country to settle abroad, in droves, when an offer of free smartphone or atta and dal decides which way the voters would vote, I continue to thrive.

When issues of environmental pollution, unemployment, depleting groundwater table, rampant use of insecticides and pesticides, farmers’ suicides, lack of doctors and essential medicines in government-run dispensaries, rising number of deaths due to drug addiction and communicable diseases take a backseat, I get a boost.

When speaking your mind may land you in the league of secessionists and the imposition of digital curfew earns the silent approval of the majority, I feel honoured.

I am ‘indifference’. I am relentlessly at work by corroding the emotional and intelligence quotient of the people of the country. I am devouring humanity and the sensitivity of the host without him ever realising the immensity of devastation I am capable of unleashing, if left unchecked.

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