There is a lot of difference when it comes to Covid preparedness among the other countries and India. This was also quite evident in the recent Prime Minister’s address to the nation where he strategically chose the word “precautionary” over “booster” for the third Covid-19 vaccination dose. It personifies a kind of hesitation borne out of wariness; perhaps, even inadequacy. Behind the bravado hides cowardice. Maybe Modi chose “precautionary” because he is by nature ‘guarded’. But that does not define the man who pulled demonetization out of a hat and then expected magic, the equivalent of banging of thalis, not to turn the tables on the ill-planned decision. As it turned out, it wasn’t ‘magic’ but ‘arrogance’ that turned the tables on Modi’s presumptuousness. If “presumptuous” is overstepping set boundaries, going beyond proper because of too much self-confidence, “arrogant” borders on excessive pride with an element of contempt for others in it. Come to think of it, there appears to be both presumptuousness and arrogance in Modi.
It can, however, be argued that a Prime Minister—any head of state— cannot but be arrogant. And a degree of “presumptuous” or “overconfidence” will be baked into the persona. Modi, it appears, is both—arrogant as well as presumptuous, though the ‘Bhakts’ will contest both notions with contempt. On the other hand, the media is still trying to decipher what Modi meant by “precautionary”? Some media have called it “euphemism”, but that in itself is “euphemism by another name.” The world can characterize the third vaccination dose as a “booster”, but Narendra Modi will name it “precautionary”, the danger is Modi has taken the urgency and the necessity out of the third dose. Now, it is only precautionary, not a booster, which conveys necessity, which has to be taken come hell or high water. A precaution does not have an edge to it, and some if not all people have the option to throw caution to the winds and go any which way they want to.
Narendra Modi tried to educate people on his decision to allow those over 60 with comorbidities to take the “precautionary dose” along with front-line healthcare workers—as also children of a certain age group. But why should others who had taken two doses to be left out, would God Almighty or Modi protect them? Even otherwise, isn’t it a fact Omicron felled even those who had taken two vaccine doses? Mind you the potency of those two doses is long gone. The point is, Omicron is a dicey character. There is no knowing what it is going to turn into? It looks like the arrogance of Omicron dwarfs even that of Narendra Modi. Reports say India on December 26 had nearly 7000 new Covid cases with 162 deaths. Total cases so far had crossed 32 million and total fatalities to over 479,000. The numbers worldwide were 279.84 million cases and 5.41 million deaths. To be specific vaccination in India stood at 1,413,772,425 doses on Sunday as compared to worldwide vaccination of over 8.94 billion doses.