Indian vigil at Fed Square

Horrendous visuals of public funerals and parks turned into crematoriums are beaming across the world as India – now the focus of the world and epicenter of COVID second wave – reels under the deluge of almost 3 million active cases in desperate need of health infrastructure which the nation does not have or badly lacks. While the whole world is send help to India in its fight with the most virulent strains of COVID mutants, the Indian Diaspora all over the world is gripped with, hope, fear of losing their loved ones back home and the duty to spread a message positivity not only for their own mental health and well being but also of their loved ones back in India who are now land locked into fighting it out, whichever way it ends.

As the first of many, an interfaith vigil was organized by members of Melbourne’s Indian community, who gathered at Federation Square on Wednesday to spread hope and positivity.

Led by Karthik Arasu, a group of people approximately one hundred people which included Indian priests from Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and the Christian faiths joined in interfaith prayers for India where more than 350,000 cases are being recorded on a daily basis.

There are currently 2978709 (almost 30 Lakhs) active cases of COVID positive people, many requiring critical care. On a positive note, 14817371(almost 1.5 crore) people have recovered from the virus but 2,01,187 (more than 2 lakhs) people have died according to the data by Ministry of Health, India.

Jai Bharagwaj, a communications strategist from Point Cook, became emotional, The Age reported. He described his concern for his parents in Delhi, who have both caught COVID-19.

“This is really troubling,” he said, “I want to see them whenever this madness has finished.”

His sister has flown back from the United States to help the vulnerable pair.

Only two days back Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a pause on flights between India and Australia, for at least two weeks.

“All I can do right now is talk to them and help them, emotionally. Help their mental health so that they don’t deteriorate in their hopes, I want to keep that hope burning in them,” Mr Bharagwaj told The Age.

“Every single day we are hearing somebody is lost. People are really emotional”, organiser of the Indian vigil at Fed Square, Karthik Arasu told The Age.

“Today’s vigil is all about prayers, sending positivity to India, and telling them people back home that we are with you.”

“This Indian vigil at Fed Square makes complete sense, when we can’t do much else”, opined an onlooker observer. “There should be more of it, perhaps led by all sides of politics. The crisis – of no one’s making is of catastrophic proportions”.

There are many community members who have lost their family members in India. Then there are people who have their families stuck in India due to flight bans which make it real hard for them to comprehend the situation. They are Australians who would get world class health care were they in Australia but – now stuck in India where the health infrastructure is next to negligible given the size of population – will struggle if they fall sick.

It is perhaps not easy for the government as it has to balance up the situation weighing up its responsibility to its citizens abroad (in India) and the risks hotel quarantine failure poses.

In this unprecedented pandemic situation, no one is in a winning situation. Thus, till the surge in India subsides, ‘prayers’ like the vigil organized at Fed Square, will offer hope and positivity.

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