An IAS officer’s book shines a light on the grim but uplifting reality of Covid

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The ‘Battle Against Covid – Diary of a Bureaucrat’, a book written by an IAS officer, recounts the horror of the Covid-19 pandemic that has rocked the country, and at the same time highlights the uplifting reality which has seen people go out of their way to help those in distress.

Written by Tarun Pithode and published by Bloomsbury Publishing, the book also provides insight into his experiences of pandemic containment as a Bhopal collector.

As the pandemic scarred the country, the plight of migrant workers carrying loads on their heads and walking back to their places of origin with huge blisters on their feet was heartbreaking.

The period also saw family members reluctant to perform last rites for their loved ones fearing they might contract the infection.

During the first wave of Covid-19, Pithode was Collector of Bhopal. By this time, the capital of Madhya Pradesh had become a Covid hotspot in the state and Pithode had been working day and night to contain the virus.

To highlight the role of bureaucrats and the management of the pandemic, Pithode incorporated the experiences of bureaucrats from MP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh .

Talking about the reason for writing the book, Pithode said that apart from raising awareness about the measures taken by the administration during the pandemic, it also aims to highlight the problems faced by the common man.

In fact, the book tells how the administration and ordinary people fought against Covid-19.

The 224-page book will serve as a reference for new administrative officials on how to confront and contain a pandemic, he said.

During the first and second waves of contagion, there were many cases where people did not know what to do and administrative officers came to their aid.

There was a case where a man wasn’t ready to cremate his mother, so I decided to perform the woman’s last rites. However, a tehsildar stopped me and proceeded with the cremation. Other rituals were also practiced by the tehsildar. There are several cases where relatives have hesitated to perform the last rites of their family members and the administration has helped them, Pithode said.

The book also summarizes stories about the hardships faced by migrant workers, doctors, police and the public who risked their lives and fought the virus.

According to Pithode, this is an invaluable record of the battle against Covid.

Posted: Sunday, February 20, 2022, 10:34 a.m. IST

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