We’re living in bizarre times. If the anxiety of living through a pandemic isn’t keeping you up at night, elected members of Parliament offering strange solutions to cure coronavirus should do the job.
Pragya Thakur, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Bhopal, became the latest among her party’s leaders to offer unscientific remedies for Covid-19. She tweeted on Saturday asking people to make a “spiritual effort” to eradicate coronavirus by chanting the Hanuman Chalisa five times a day at 7 pm from July 25 to August 5.
Her comments come at a time when India’s coronavirus cases have been surging, with record single-day jumps every day. India has recorded over 14 lakh coronavirus cases until now and is currently third in the world after US and Brazil.
While the Narendra Modi government has claimed the country is handling the situation well, experts have pointed out serious issues, including with the punitive national lockdown that destroyed many livelihoods.
With her tweet, Thakur joins a line of other BJP leaders—including union ministers—peddling unscientific remedies to tackle the virus that has changed the world as we knew it.
Last week, Madhya Pradesh protem speaker Rameshwar Sharma claimed that building the Ram temple in Ayodhya would bring an end to coronavirus.
The same week, Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal claimed that ingredients in the ‘Bhabiji papad’ brand could help build antibodies to fight coronavirus. He said that the company had come out with the product under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ programme.
Meghwal isn’t the only minister to have doled out such advice. Remember what Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey had said in March?
“The sun rays are the strongest between 11 am and 1 pm, so if we stand in the sunlight for 10-15 minutes, it will benefit us. Sunlight helps produce Vitamin D and also kills such virus, all sorts of virus are killed by sunlight. So people should sun bathe,” Choubey had told the media outside Parliament in New Delhi.
But the peak of summer has passed, and yet India has the third highest number of cases in the world. Clearly, even the harshest of sunlight has failed us.
And what about cow urine—something BJP’s Suman Haripriya from Assam had touted as a cure for the coronavirus back inn March? Nope, that did not work either. In fact, a BJP activist was arrested in Bengal after he organised a cow urine drinking event and one person had to be hospitalised.
Apart from offering outrageous cures, elected representatives seem to be out of touch with reality as well. In June, BJP MLA from Ichchawar assembly Karan Singh constituency in Madhya Pradesh’s Sehore had said that 80-95 crore people had been infected by Covid.
The statements might be funny, but as numbers rise and new hotspots emerge, it is no consolation to think that the best our elected representatives can offer people is a papad.