Tyrant’s excuses: Blamed them for ‘Corona Jehad’, now for ‘Plasma Jehad’ too!
They had the cheek to hurl racial slur “Corona Jehad” on an entire community, now they must also show some courage to acknowledge and appreciate what should be, in their coinage, seen as “Plasma Jehad”.
It does not hurt when the jokers of Indian media, the television anchors, vent out worst communal prejudices against a community without fail on each night during prime time shows; what hurts the most is that the state seems to encourage these hate-mongers by allowing them a free run. And still more hurtful is the bahaviour of the people for allowing such hateful shows to reach their homes and minds.
On March 23, when some members of a congregation of Islamic missionaries — the Tablighi Jamaat — held at its headquarters in Nizamuddin area of the national capital tested positive for the COVID-19, the entire Jamaat was described as India’s worst coronavirus vector.
Soon after the incident came to light, the missionary group’s leader Maulana Saad Kandhavli was booked for culpable homicide and was labelled “careless and criminal”. And with it began an unrelenting campaign against the Muslims in general and the Jamaat in particular.
This was an opportunity for the “tyrants” in the media and the political establishment to start an unrelenting hate campaign against the country’s largest minority community, framing them with worst communal and racially explicit stereotypes, and blaming them for the spread of the pandemic in the country. Of all the Covid-19 positive cases in India, nearly a fifth were reported to be related to the religious gathering of the Tablighi Jamaat.
While some accused the Muslims of being deliberately complicit in spreading cronavirus in the country through the members of Tablighi Jamaat and called it “Corona Jehad”, others went to the extent of suggesting that the entire community should be thrown out of the country. Stories were concocted to accuse even the hospitalized members of the Tablighi Jamaat of misbehaving with nurses and doctors there.
Many an hour-long TV debates for days and weeks together were dedicated o these cooked up stories about Jamaat members allegedly defecating openly in hospital wards and sexually harassing nurses and others, and demanding non-vegetarian diet, et al. Every trick in Gobble’s book was tried to smear and demean the community, provoking a spate of violence, boycott and hate speeches, which have only worsened over the past few weeks.
Unfortunately, there has hardly been a response from the state as would reinstate a sense of safety and security, and more than anything else a sense of belonging in the community.
Thanks be to Allah, with the onset of the holy month of Ramadan, an unexpected something happened which seems to be giving a new twist to the debate. Now the members of the Tablighi Jamaat – the same Muslims who were accused of waging “Corona Jehad” against the country, are coming forward to help the same people they are accused of infecting.
Hundreds of Tablighi Jamaat volunteers who have recovered from coronavirus are queuing up in different parts of India to donate plasma for other serious patients undergoing treatment. Many volunteers have already donated blood for plasma in Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, and other states. In addition, several have registered/committed themselves to donate in the states where the central government has so far not granted permission for collecting plasma.
Maulana Saad Kandhavli, the Jamaat chief, has also appealed to coronavirus survivors to donate blood plasma for infected people. He also urged all Muslims to pray at home during Ramadan. “It’s my humble request to all Muslims and especially da’wah workers who receive this message, to come forward and show this act of kindness to humanity, and help the society and government by donating blood plasma to a sick person only for the sake of Allah’s pleasure,” wrote Maulana Saad in his message to the volunteers.
Over 200 volunteers have pledged to donate plasma in Delhi and the number is likely to go up. In Tamil Nadu, where the state government awaits the Centre’s nod to collect plasma, over 450 Tablighi Jamaat volunteers having already registered for donation.
“We have formed a ‘Plasma Tarteeb Jamaat’ (Plasma Coordination Group) in Tamil Nadu and so far, around 450 Tablighi Jamaat volunteers have registered themselves. This number could well go up as and when the state government receives the approval of the central government to collect plasma. This number could have been higher had people not been fasting because in Ramadan a person cannot donate while fasting; but he can do so after breaking the fast at dusk,” Chennai-based Moulana Shamsudeen Qasimi, Executive Member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), who is overseeing the plasma coordination group, said.
“We have formed a group of people who are committed to donate at the quarantine centre in Sector 16 of Dwarka, as per the appeal of Maulana Saad saheb. There are about 190 Tamil Nadu Tablighi Jamaat volunteers in Delhi and everyone is committed to donate blood plasma,” said Dr Mohammad Shafiullah, who was present at the programme at Markaz Nizamuddin last month and had tested negative. He is now coordinating the plasma donation of the Jamaat volunteers.
“Come forward and donate plasma. We all want to recover and survive the coronavirus crisis. If tomorrow, a patient is Hindu and is serious, who knows maybe the plasma of a Muslim person can save him or if a Muslim patient is serious, maybe the plasma of a Hindu person can save him,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said on Sunday.
A five-member committee headed by Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) Director S.K. Sarin had recommended use of the convalescent plasma therapy to treat severally-ill coronavirus patients.
According to reports, the Delhi government has also received approval from the Union health ministry to use this therapy to treat severely-ill COVID-19 patients.
Convalescent plasma refers to plasma obtained from an individual who has recuperated from an infection. An individual’s immune system develops a type of antibody after having mounted an attack on a foreign virus. Once the individual has recuperated from the infection, these antibodies remain suspended in the circulating blood, and can be separated out from one of the components of blood – the plasma.
Early reports have indicated that this therapy has shown promising results in the treatment of severely ill COVID-19 patients and clinical trials for the same have been approved in multiple countries, including in India.
For a donor to be eligible to donate convalescent plasma, he or she must have recovered from a COVID-19 infection and have been free of the disease, or any symptoms, for at least 28 days or should have been free of symptoms and have tested negative for the virus at least 14 days before the plasma can be used.
There aren’t likely to be many donors of such plasma if the number of COVID-19 cases is low. A donor can donate plasma up to twice a week with a minimum gap of 48 hours, and a maximum of 24 times in a year in India.
Coming back to the Tablighi Jamaat — with its latest behavior having virtually snubbed the hate-mongers of Indian media into a pitiful situation, the latter has now embarked on picking holes in the Jamaat’s generosity. The plot being pushed is that plasma donation is just another ploy of the Tablighi Jamaat (Muslims) to hoodwink the so-called mainstream public opinion. Deplorable this is, as are those who have embarked on a mission to keep India forever polarized along the Hindu-Muslim fault-lines by constantly blaming the religious other! They will find faults even in the other’s noble acts of nobility – this is how ‘othering’ works.
This takes me to that old story from the Aesop’s Fables.
A hungry wolf one day saw a lamb drinking at a stream, and wished to frame some plausible excuse for making him his prey.
“What do you mean by muddling the water I am going to drink?” fiercely said he to the lamb.
“Pray forgive me,” meekly replied the lamb; “I should be sorry in any way to displease you, but as the stream runs from you toward me, you will see that such cannot be the case.”
“That’s all very well,” said the wolf; “but you know you spoke ill of me behind my back a year ago.’
“Nay, believe me,” replied the lamb, “I was not then born.”
“It must have been you brother, then,” growled the wolf.
“It cannot have been, for I never had any,” answered the lamb.
“I know it was one of your lot,” rejoined the wolf, “so make no more such idle excuses.”
He then seized the poor lamb, carried him off to the woods, and ate him, but before the poor creature died, he gasped out, feebly, “Any excuse will serve a tyrant.”