NEW DELHI: After the first wave of COVID-19, the government, administration and public dropped their guard which led to the current situation, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said on Saturday and urged people to stay positive and proactive to fight the pandemic.
Addressing a lecture series 'Positivity Unlimited', Bhagwat said the country should stay united and work as a team in these testing times, instead of pointing fingers at each other.
"We are facing this situation because, whether it was the government, administration or public, everyone dropped their guard (hum sab guflat mein aa gaye) after the first wave despite indications from doctors," he said.
The remarks made by the head of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP, assume significance as the government has been maintaining that it followed all protocols during the pandemic.
In February this year after the cases had dropped, the BJP had passed a resolution praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Bhagwat said there is talk of a third wave.
"But we will not be scared. We shall stand like a rock."
"We have to stay positive and take precautions to keep ourselves COVID negative in the present situation," he said.
The RSS chief said that this is not an appropriate time to point fingers and all should avoid making irrational remarks.
In his around 30-minute speech, Bhagwat quoted former England prime minister Winston Churchill and Urdu poet Iqbal.
Citing England's situation in World War II when everything seemed going against it, Bhagwat said a quote was written on the then prime minister Winston Churchill's desk which read, "There is no pessimism in this office. We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They don't exist".
Similarly, he cited a famous couplet of Iqbal, 'Kuch baat hai ki hasti mit-ti nahi hamari sadiyon raha hai dushman daur-e-zaman hamara" (There must be something about us that makes us indestructible, even when there have been forces inimical to us for centuries).
Bhagwat said people should not give up on courage.
The country needs to also have steely resolve.
"If we get tired and give up, then it will be like a rat who gives up in front of a snake. We cannot let this happen.
"There is as much hope as there is unhappiness. There are people who are doing good deeds, and helping others as per their capacity," the RSS chief said.
Talking about the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bhagwat said it will have a profound impact on the economy, employment and education.
"There may be a further impact on the economy in the coming days, so we have to prepare for it from now. We need not panic so that we can prepare in time to meet the challenges to come," he said while urging all to help those who depend on daily wages and ensure that they do not sleep hungry.
Describing the fight against COVID-19 as a "test of patience", Bhagwat said this period will also test the good qualities of Indians, and underlined that "success is not final; failure is not fatal; the courage to continue is the only thing that matters".
Meanwhile, senior Sangh functionary and former general secretary of BJP Ram Madhav suggested that government should be more transparent and open in its handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
"A little more transparency, a little more engagement with the public by the political leadership and a little more openness to constructive criticism and enlightened expert opinion from outside the government would further help the government's efforts. After all, the lives of millions of people are at stake," he wrote in an article written in an English day.