Simply Shreya: India’s cry for help


Morgan Kong

Wingspan’s Shreya Jagan shares her personal take on issues and experiences in her weekly column Simply Shreya.

Shreya Jagan, Managing Editor

Let’s talk about India.

If you haven’t already heard (although I’m pretty sure that you have), the second wave of Covid-19 in India is causing devastation with millions of infected people and more than 200,000 death (a number that has been rapidly shooting up since the last month or so). In fact, the second wave mutant directly affects the lungs causing anyone infected to immediately require oxygen from medical centers to survive which itself is in shortage (I’ll get to that later on). But just for a little context, during the first wave, India was exporting thousands of vaccines to countries in need. Now, there’s a queue even for burying and cremating loved ones. 

This is so heartbreaking. 

At this point, more and more people every day are getting their vaccines in the United States, Canada, and the UK. Things are slowing down. But, the dramatic increase of cases and deaths in India deserves to be recognized. 

I feel that oftentimes, there isn’t much of an effort that is made to work toward fixing things when it isn’t a direct matter of concern for that person. Obviously, I understand that there isn’t anything that one can do to fix the situation but it really hurts to see that a lot of people don’t really care. It’s always a repost on social media with a caption that says something along the lines of “so tragic” or “praying for them”. Something generic basically. And that’s it. People feel that their job is done as soon as they’ve clicked the post button and liked a tweet.

You might think that your quota is over. But, your actions haven’t suddenly ended the suffering that people are still facing. And on top of this, ignorance also precedes common sense. The other day (as I was scrolling through the endless stream of the same Instagram post on everyone’s stories about India’s situation), I decided to click on the link that everybody seemed to be passing around. After deciding to investigate, I noticed that there was no specific organization that was attached to the cause nor was there any indication that the donations would actually be used for something useful. When one spreads false information, that’s worse than doing nothing. You’re directing everybody that watches your stories to a potentially harmful and immoral scheme. All I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t take that much time out of your day to just verify that the money you and others are donating is going to the right place. 

But, back to the situation at hand. I’m particularly emotional about this subject because I have all my family in India. And seeing that I can’t physically do anything to help is hard. Especially when I feel such a personal connection with the people struggling right now. All I can do is donate and spread the word. And constantly pray over and over again that everything will turn out ok. Being here while everybody that I know is there has never been the easiest thing to deal with. But, especially now, it’s excruciating. I can’t even imagine how bad it must be for my mom knowing that her parents and her brother are across the globe trying as hard as they can to stay safe. My grandparents were planning on visiting this summer but even just contemplating the idea seems so far fetched and insensitive. All these statistics might just look like numbers on a screen to someone reading the news on a computer thousands of miles away. But, the truth is that people are being turned away from hospitals. There isn’t enough room for everyone. Makeshift holding places are everywhere. Families struggle to properly deal with the deaths of their family members. If that’s not a cry for help, then I don’t know what is. And what’s more is that India is on almost every major country’s red list

People have died and are still dying. I simply urge everyone to raise awareness for this issue and donate if you can: with caution. When so many people are suffering, it’s important that we do everything in our power to ease that. I mean, imagine how troubling it must be to go through that. Especially when we faced something similar, I know that there are some that won’t even have to imagine to understand. I remember almost a year ago when people in New York were scrambling trying to find hospitals to take in loved ones while still trying to keep themselves safe. I remember how scared everybody was. Now, take this into account when you apply the situation to the second most populated country in the entire world. 

With the past experience that we’ve had, how could we not try to properly aid others in the same situation?

Ultimately, I wholeheartedly believe that it’s up to us, our integrity, and our conscience to make sure that the things we put out into the world are trustworthy and deserving. Wanting to contribute is great and truly is so crucial. That being said, make sure not to trip and fall into the endless hole known as performative activism. I know that I’m truly passionate about fixing the problems and hardships in our world… and I hope you are too.