Published On : Mon, Aug 22nd, 2016

Death Diary : When small pox claimed 200 lives in Nagpur on single day!

small pox
Nagpur:
It would be no surprise if this headline lands you in deep shock! Nagpur saw a huge tall on Republic Day when small pox claimed 200 lives on a single day! We too are shocked to know that Nagpur Municipal Corporation showed graved apathy towards the epidemic that broke out. The civic authorities also committed a major goof up in covering up the deaths. Well, we still cannot believe this but atleast a media report published online by Free Press Journal claimed so in its editorial which was apparently posted on Monday.

But hold on before this news wreck your nerve and you start cursing NMC who is already under dark clouds for pitiable condition of Nagpur roads. The report was actually an archive editorial published on August 15, 1947.

Nagpur Today reproduces this editorial published from the archives by Free Press Journal…

Two-hundred deaths due to small-pox are reported to have occurred in Nagpur on Republic Day. This is an unofficial report, but what lends a touch of pathos to the Nagpur calamity is the fact that official reports are not only inaccurate but also misleading.

Indeed, the real tragedy now stalking Nagpur is not so much the epidemic as the civic authorities’ attitude to it. Although the small-pox situation took a turn for the worse in the city in December, the authorities refused to recognise it, insisting on dismissing it as ‘a minor affair’.

Even today, when 200 ‘minor’ deaths have taken place on one day, the concern of the authorities is to find fault with the system of recording deaths! In the best of surroundings epidemics can occur. But there is no excuse for an administration that does not try every device in its power to check it and speedily end it.
Nagpur’s authorities have not only not tried to end the scourge expeditiously, but they have deliberately tried to whitewash the whole affair. Our reports indicate that, due primarily to this apathy, the epidemic has spread to some areas which were initially unaffected. This should serve to underline the gravity of the policy the authorities chose to adopt.

When death stalks a crowded city, there is no point in pretending that it is not there. If that is really what the municipal authorities of Nagpur have done, they have indefensibly shirked their responsibilities. The State of Maharashtra has an active and conscientious health Ministry. It is up to that Ministry to enquire into the matter and ensure more responsible behavior on the part of its officers.