Everything that lives and breathes has to move. Movement is essential to life. We move to where the food is, to where the work is, where more happiness lies, and to where love itself lies. The potential and promise of more keeps life dynamic. It keeps love strong.
When you see India for the first time, a stunning abundance of life will fill your eyes, hit you right in the face nearly everywhere you are. Each Indian is one of at least 1.3 billion Indians on the Indian subcontinent, a land mass a third the size of the continental US—which has one-third the population of India. That’s density. India is the world’s largest democracy, with a variety of cultures, languages, and religions that to my knowledge has no counterpart.
India moves. Families of four ply the highways perched on 100cc scooters along with cars and old men on bicycles and old women on sandals; they stand out in their colorful saris. The dignity and grace of human life there is powerful. The mix on the roads shows no order, an absence of system. It defies western ideas of safety and security. India lives like this every single day. When the power is cut and the traffic signal goes dark, traffic flows anyway, and seemingly without a hitch. I never saw a crash.
All the movement came to a halt, per PM Narendra Modi’s shutdown of life in India, still in place since March 25 of this year. He gave the nation four hours’ notice. Afterwards, he asked his people for their forgiveness. Bloomberg News called it an “unprecedented gamble.” Politically, it certainly is. Logistically, locking down a nation of 1.3 billion? It’s unimaginable.
The lockdown hit the migrant workers especially hard—all 139 million of them. They were suddenly without jobs, without pay, without food, and without a way to return home, except on foot. The trains were halted. Modi, the man who locked everyone down, had no relief to offer them. Maybe his thoughts were on India’s ventures into space, a project sure to increase national prestige. Starving people who live on the street can’t eat national prestige. India’s homeless children number in the tens of millions.
My West Bengal friend Sahidul Alam sent me this picture. The trains are running again, so at least some of the migrants have an easier trek home, where they can join their families in the lockdown of the world’s largest and greatest and youngest democracy.
Democracy is exactly what is at stake now, both in India and in the US.
Exactly why the entire world was locked down we may never know, because scoundrels do not admit their mistakes. Someone had to start it; this global lockdown is nor an act of God. It is not a divinely inspired plan to reform humanity and life on earth, though that will surely happen, as it ought to.
Maybe it was the British “scientist,” Neil Ferguson, whose model originally predicted millions of deaths; the Neil Ferguson who resigned his post as a government scientist after he broke the lockdown rules to meet his married lover; the Neil Ferguson who revised his model (sorry, world) when the reality changed. He’s a real model of integrity: scare the hell out of everyone, then cut and run. His job was funded by the Gates Foundation, who have their hands in almost anything related to health by “science”.
Bill Gates is all over big media, talking of vaccination, saying that we would tame the virus only when everyone on earth was vaccinated, and that we can’t go back to normal without worldwide vaccination. People still get the flu despite years of flu vaccinations.
The shutdown has closed so many small businesses: oddly, it seems to favor the largest, the soulless chain stores that rule the US. The economy of India, as you might imagine, is largely a cash economy. All over the magical land of India are a colorful, uncountable assortment of tiny shops. Some exist only on street corners for a few hours each day.
I have no money worries. I never struggled for a dollar in the way so many struggle to make ends meet. I have struggled for the intangibles; the love, the affection, something close and warm and lasting, the very circumstances that were never there when I was young.
Yet God has blessed me in many ways. Despite my doubts and my unfulfilled desires, I’ve somehow received enough such that fighting is alien to my nature. The battles usually seem like too much trouble; I’d rather just win the war. And so far, I am winning. My health is strong, the result of a disciplined life applied to the sturdy physiology I was born with. I have forty-three years of twice-daily Transcendental Meditation practice to my credit. I’ve done a self-massage with sesame oil almost every morning for the last 33 years. Yoga asanas. And more recently, meals of fresh, organic vegetables I cook in ghee I make myself. I take zero prescription drugs.
My family is a sad story. My father and mother were wiped out by cancer; my sister, by ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. They all outlived their health. My guess is that many do just that. The walls of the subway cars here in Manhattan are usually lined with adverts connected to health matters: health insurance, hospitals, online drug stores, addiction relief services. A visitor would think the entire city is ill, addicted, and suffering.
ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. ON THE REALITY OF OUR TIME: “Every part of our lives will be subject to control. This virus is about training us for submission, training us to do what we’re told. To not go to the beach unless we’re told, to not kiss our girlfriend without their permission. They’re turning us into production units and consuming entities. They are going to rob us not only of our democracy and our liberties, but our souls. They are going to inject us with the medicines they want and they’re going to charge us for the diseases they give us. They are going to control every part of our lives. What we are doing at Children’s Health Defense is using the last instruments of democracy we have left – the Courts – to fight them.”We are in the last battle. We are in the apocalypse. We are fighting for the salvation of humanity. We all knew this was coming, though I never believed it would come in my lifetime. But here it is.”
I’m grateful for what my own great nation has given me. I’m grateful for what the great ancient nation of India has given me.
We stand to lose it all if we are not alert. I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to feel angry. I want to feel love, compassion, the softness of life. The battles of this world have gone on for far too long. But we are not finished.