Swami Vivekananda And The Pandemic Panic
Yuva Bharati|July 2021
Epidemics and pandemics have devastated the human race throughout its existence. From prehistoric times to the present modern-days we have noticed numerous pandemics and medical emergencies. While some even turned as devastating as the fourteenth century ‘’Bubonic plague ’’ which was also known as the Black Death causing millions of human lives and is regarded as one of the most fatal pandemics in human history. Some similar conditions have evolved in the last one year and especially in last month and a two due to the Wuhan originated pandemic COVID-19 as the death toll surpasses three million mark worldwide and the arrival of a new variant or what is regarded as double mutant strain of the coronavirus has just kept the public and the governments on toes throughout the globe. However, while talking about India in particular the vaccination drive has reached close to a century but with alarming hard days, we need something which can strengthen us psychologically and emotionally too. Our search can get a halt when we come across a one hundred twenty one years old ‘Plague Manifesto’ written by the warrior sanyasi Swami Vivekananda during the Bengal Plague in 1898.
Nikhil Yadav

It was March 1898 and Swamiji was on his stay at Math at Nilambar Mukherjee’s garden house Belur, Calcutta. He was having health issues and there was no sign of improvement, rather it was steadily deteriorating more when his gurubhais asked him to migrate to Darjeeling which had done him some good in his last visit. Swamiji left for Darjeeling on 30th March 1898 and spent around one month there. However due to excessive mountain climbing to reach the place and early heavy rains he got a fever and later suffered from cough and cold. In late April Swamiji planned to return back to Calcutta but he could not do so as he had again received some attacks of Fever and then Influenza. In the meantime on 29th April his gurubhai Swami Brahmananda informed him that plague had broken out in Calcutta, there is a great panic as many are migrating from Calcutta, and if you are weak in health consult a Doctor and delay your return for few days. As soon as Swamiji received the news he started for Calcutta without halting at any place in-between. He was here at Calcutta and was ready to apply himself in the mission of combating both the plague and the panic by organizing relief measures. Swamiji first wrote a letter to the people of Calcutta headed ‘Plague Manifesto’.

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