Swine Flu: A Disease of the Elite

Long gone are the glories of Che and Marx. If you believed you lived in a socialist society think again. The hard core capitalist consumerist economy of the world is never so evident as in times of crisis.

Take a look at the swine flu propaganda for example. Each day the front page of the newspaper is splashed with every new victim to this insatiable virus. The same daily however just about deigns to write a small article hidden way back on the 9th page about a mysterious viral infection which has wiped out 137 lives in rural Uttar Pradesh. While millions are being spent on diagnosing, designing a preventing or curing Swine Flu, whose death toll is considerably less in India as compared to the other virus whether in total or proportionately, practically nothing is being done to unravel the mysteries of this new fatal viral disease
The reason research regarding this killer infection is being sidetracked is because of everyone’s obsession with swine flu

Now when you compare the dangers of the two diseases it seems evident which should take predominance. Why then is swine flu the central concern for everyone, be it media, the government or World Health Organization? It is obviously because of the class this disease effects. Only the cream of society is in danger of infection, since they are the ones who get to travel abroad or mingle with those who frequently travel abroad. Only the institutions for the rich have had to close down because of the ‘pandemic’, while government schools continue to function normally. One death among the elite is considered a greater concern than a hundred deaths among the hoi polloi.

Moreover this disease is affecting the US, thus leading to a flurry of activity in WHO whose response to the higher death rate of the Avian Flu (H5N1 virus) which affected mostly Asia and Africa, was comparatively languid.

So much for belonging to a socialist country. However this attitude is scarcely to be helped. It’s the oldest rule in the book- the one who controls the purse strings decides the order of the day. Might IS right.
Even as the swine flu hysteria spreads industries are buckling down to produce designer face masks and consumerism is hell bent on making it the latest fad. Back during the Indo-China war, while the country was bracing up for a Chinese invasion, the businessmen were busy learning Chinese so as to conduct their business better in the times to come. Similarly the market even now seizes the moment of panic and human gullibility to increase its commerce. In the immortal words of a certain Rhett Butler, “there is much more money to be made in the destruction of civilization than in building it up”.

So go on full steam ahead. You’ll find me hiding behind my copy of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. In pigs we trust?

Pragya Mukherjee

[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/artnow/3496268779/]