Amidst the fear and uncertainty that looms large, are heartwarming stories of unsung heroes across the country who have been doing their bit to help fight the virus. From working relentlessly to find a cure to saving lives and supporting the community stay home safe, these brave hearts have ensured that nothing comes in their way of helping others.
Let’s salute our corona warriors.
Police: The police have always been at the receiving end of criticism and outrage. However, this pandemic, the police have shown their humane side and proven that they, too, are human beings with feelings and emotions. A senior citizen residing alone in Panchkula was in for a pleasant surprise on his birthday when a group of police personnel from the Sector-5 women’s police station visited his house with a birthday cake and sang for him. The Retired Colonel’s wife had passed away a few years ago, and his children live away from him and so could not be there for his birthday. It was Vishal Nijhawan, who had befriended him when he was a student, who tweeted to the Commissioner of Police, Panchkula requesting the police to help celebrate his uncle’s birthday. The overwhelmed Colonel broke down and thanked the police for making his day.
In another endearing viral video, a cop is seen patiently feeding a banana to a monkey with no hands. The policeman, at the station, talks on the phone as he peels a banana and feeds it to a monkey sitting next to him.
A portion of Bengaluru’s Yeshwantpur police station has been converted into a kitchen where personnel can prepare meals, which are then delivered to beat police personnel and from there, to the homeless people.
Police personnel from Dongri’s Dana Bunder area turned saviours as they fed around 950 migrants from Andhra Pradesh who had been left without any work and very little savings. The police took care of their meals for a month, while those who did not have any place to stay, were provided accommodation facilities. The migrant workers returned to Andhra Pradesh on a Shramik special train on May 6.
Transcending religions: The Sikh community has been arranging langars across the country to cook meals and serve the needy. Across Delhi, Gujarat and other parts of the country, members of the community have got together to prepare and distribute food packets. Internationally, as well, the community has been working together to help people. The Sikh Centre of New York and the Sikh community have prepared and packaged thousands of cooked meals for people in isolation. Sikhs across New York, Washington and California have been providing people with vegetarian meals comprising of dry fruits, dal and rice. Food packets have been distributed to the sick, elderly, specially-abled, homeless and single-parent households with small children. Both American nationals and stranded Indian students have been provided with meals and shelter.
With strict lockdown rules, it has been difficult for people to carry out funeral rituals for their loved ones. However, the lockdown has also brought with it heartwarming stories of people across religions helping each other. In Uttar Pradesh’s Bulanshehar district, after the relatives of the deceased, Ravi Shankar, failed to turn up due to the lockdown, his Muslim neighbours took out Ravi Shankar’s antim yatra, amidst chants of Raam Naam Sathya Hei, and also helped perform the last rites. There have been many other similar instances across the country of people transcending religious boundaries to help their neighbours and friends in distress.
Annamrita, ISKCON’s food relief foundation, has been distributing food packets to migrant labourers, slum workers and those living on the streets, as part of its Operation Karuna programme. Through the programme, the Foundation has been able to reach more than 69 lakh migrant and poor families that have been impacted by the lockdown. The Foundation has tied up with organisations such as the Rotary, Club of Mumbai, Art of Living, Lion’s Club and Young Men’s Christina Association (YMCA) for transportation and distribution.
The little warriors: Small acts of kindness can amount to a huge change – this is what these little warriors have proven. While seven-year-old Romel Lalmuansanga from Mizoram gave his entire pocket money of Rs 333 to the COVID-19 task force in his village of Kolasib Venglai, in Assam’s Darrang district, six-year-old Binjit donated the money he had saved up to buy a bicycle, to the Assam Government to construct a COVID-19 hospital.
Healthcare workers and scientists: Amongst the biggest warriors in the fight against the virus have been the country’s doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and scientists who have risked their lives and often gone beyond the call of duty to save lives. Doctors have stepped in for family members to provide the comfort and support that COVID patients require during their period of isolation. Often doctors and nurses have also often taken up responsibilities of dealing with worried family members on call and consoling them.
At the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), a senior resident doctor put himself at risk and took off his PPE to save a coronavirus patient who needed to be reintubated and shifted to the ICU. The doctor, Zahid Abdul Majeed, removed his goggles and face shield as he was finding it difficult to intubate the patient, and any delay would have been fatal. The Doctor has been quarantined.
Mylab’s research and development chief, Minal Dakhave Bhosale worked till just hours before giving birth, in order to ensure that the country’s first testing kit could meet its deadline in March. Members of the Pune-based diagnostics firm had been working overtime to ensure that they can supply enough testing kits.
Government employees: Across the country, Government employees have been working hard to support the country and keep it going. Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer Gummalla Srijana, currently serving as Commissioner of the Greater Vishakapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC), returned to work with her one-month-old infant, cutting short her six-month maternity break to ensure that she was available during these difficult times. In Thiruvananthapuram, employees of the General Post Office have been doing their bit by preparing food at home and delivering it at the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, to be then distributed to people across the city.
Transgender teams: Groups of transgender people across the nation have been helping out during the lockdown by distributing food kits to migrant labourers. In Gujarat, a group of around 150 transgenders have been distributing food kits consisting of rice, flour, oil, tea leaves, and sugar, amongst other essentials for migrant labourers and those residing in the slum areas of the city. In other parts of the country as well, including Bareilly and Prayagraj as well, members of the transgender community are getting together to pool in their savings and help feed those who have lost their livelihoods due to the pandemic.
Self Help Groups: Since March, when the pandemic was first reported in the country, women Self Help Groups (SHGs) from across the country have been working overtime to produce masks, sanitisers and other protective equipment such as gloves, caps, face shields and shoe covers for frontline workers. As per reports, the SHGs have manufactured around 3 lakh litres of hand sanitisers and more than 2 lakh pieces of protective gear so far.