COVID-19: Do not celebrate festival while endangering life: Harsh Vardhan

Last Updated: Sunday, 11 October 2020 (17:35 IST)
New Delhi: Warning of a spike in cases in the festive season, Union on Sunday said no God or religion demanded that a should be celebrated ostentatiously and people congregate in huge numbers to prove their faith.

Expressing concern over a post-festive surge in Covid cases, the minister speaking in his fifth episode of Sunday Samvaad, said “No God or religion demands of us to celebrate a festival ostentatiously and congregate in huge numbers to prove our faith. Concerns are that despite a detailed festivals SoP being issued by the central government, there could be lapses that would lead to a surge in cases.”

“Right now the fight against Corona is the paramount religion for the whole world,” he added.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, in response to a question, asked all to ensure adherence to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health keeping in view the festive season, saying “the risk of infection of Covid-19 during the festival season is definitely high and we are all worried about this. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has started a mass movement in view of the festival season. If we and all of you give your participation in this mass movement, then the guidelines that we have issued regarding festivals will reach the people themselves. In this mass movement, the Prime Minister has asked Covid-19 to follow appropriate behaviour and inspire others to do the same. It is always required to wear masks and keep at least two yards away from others, especially in public places.”
He said, “as the Health Minister of the country, protecting people’s lives is my first religion. Festivals will come and go. My religion as a person and as the health minister of the country is to protect people, save lives. My religion is not to waste life. No religion or God says that one needs to go to the pandal or to a temple or to a mosque to celebrate festivals ostentatiously. It is an extraordinary time and its diagnosis should be extraordinary.”
He admitted that there were concerns that despite a detailed festivals SoP being issued by the Central government, there could be lapses that would lead to a surge in Covid-19 cases.
Likening the situation to the Kurukshetra battle, he said, “In Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna told Arjuna to follow his religion. At this time our religion says that no matter what happens, fight against Covid-19. The Gita states that the soldier’s religion is that he fought for good and the true Vaishnav is the one who recognises Krishna inside him, hence there is no need for a crowd to gather to prove his religion and faith.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan cautioned against the danger of Corona spreading due to overcrowding during the festive season, saying, “If we overcrowd this time, we will be in big trouble.” Our and your goal is to eliminate Corona and that is our religion,” he stressed, adding “you know if there is a fire outside, then how can people throw it in the name of festivals?” What is the meaning of such festivals? God can be remembered anywhere with a true mind. People should celebrate the festival with family. Earlier such festivals were celebrated thus. Still, if people go to the puja pandal according to their beliefs, then definitely follow a distance of two yards there. Wear a mask and inspire others to do the same,” he urged. (UNI)