The madding crowds

The slew of measures taken by the government to contain the ever-spiralling count of daily Covid cases reek of an outrageous selectiveness over managing the madding crowds. While certain activities on which careers, livelihoods and even a generation’s future depend, such as board exams and business operations, have been dealt a severe hand, leniency marks religious and political events that are, perhaps, fraught with more danger of the virus all around.

The authorities have conveniently overlooked the brazen defiance of Covid-appropriateness during massive political rallies held for the Assembly polls in the past couple of months, even after the second wave began rising alarmingly in March. A similar attitude is evident at the ongoing Maha Kumbh Mela in Hardwar. The signal for the mela remains green despite all signs of it becoming a coronavirus super-spreader as lakhs of devotees throng the holy city to take a dip in the Ganga, tossing Covid norms on the wayside. The Delhi High Court on Tuesday rapped the Centre for its discriminatory stand as it heard the Delhi Waqf Board’s appeal for easing the cap of 20 devotees allowed in the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi during Ramzan. Incidentally, at the onset of the pandemic last March, a mosque in the area was shut down following the registration of a case over a Tablighi Jamaat sect gathering. The Centre, as the court directed, must make its position on religious, political, social, academic and sports gatherings clear.

In this context, the ruling on CBSE exams — which other boards are likely to broadly copy in quick succession — holds significance. The Class X students are likely to sail through merrily as with the exams cancelled, they are to be assessed on the basis of internal exams by their respective schools. The Class XII exams that were scheduled for May 4 to June 14 have been deferred. A decision will be taken on June 1. This is a crucial exam as the students’ entry to higher institutes of their choice hinges on its results. As many aspire for colleges abroad, the new date sheet must be declared soon, keeping everybody’s interests in mind.

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