Birbal was Akbar’s one of the most trusted aides and was blessed with unusual wisdom. However, on one particular day, Akbar got annoyed with Birbal and told him to leave the royal court. Birbal went off and settled in a village without revealing his identity. After sometime, Akbar started feeling the absence of Birbal. Birbal’s wisdom was a great support to Akbar. Akbar wanted to bring Birbal back. Akbar had two options in front of him.The first one was to parade his commanders and order them to bring Birbal back.The second one was to find the Birbal by using Birbal’s own way of solving tricky issues. Akbar chose the second option of using a witty trap to find Birbal.

Akbar ordered to all the villages to either give him a pot ‘full of wisdom’ or a pot ‘full of jewels and diamonds’.The message reached to the village where Birbal was living. Birbal convinced the villagers that he will fill the pot with wisdom in a month’s time. Birbal took the pot and introduced a growing melon into the pot. He took care of the plant hosting the melon till the melon was as big in size as the pot.Once, the melon was big enough,it was detached from its host plant and sent by the villagers to the king with a message on the top of it.The message read that wisdom is in the pot and can be taken out in its true form only if the pot is not broken. Akbar understood that this can be ingenuity of Birbal only and he was able to trace him.

The above story is an indicator that it is not always required to be ‘Courageous’ or ‘bold’ to find a solution to the problem.There are number of intelligent and wise ways of dealing with the problem.India’s move of ‘demonetization’ and now ‘lock down’ are both very courageous acts. They are shaking the system and trying to attack the problem directly. But the question is whether it is required to be so bold to tackle these problems or there are other ‘witty ways’ of tackling the problem .India’s action in both the cases is based on same philospophy. The philosophy in demonetizing was to chase five hundred  and thousand rupees note indiscriminately rather than directly identifying those who hoard the black money and taking the action. Similarly, rather than isolating the foreign returnees who are possible carriers of this virus, the whole country is sitting inside and waiting for virus to die down while government is trying to chase the contacts of live cases.

But neither the black money nor the corona virus can be chased.They can only be contained. They are not like thieves which can be caught by chasing, they are like mob which has to be identified, contained and reduced.The Coronavirus problem is a deadly problem, merely extending lockdown will not solve the issue. One thing which is very difficult to digest is why government has yet not ordered all the people coming from abroad post january 30 to report to nearest quarantine facility. It is a well known fact that foreign return ‘residents’ of India are a high risk group and can become carriers of coronavirus. Why even after so many days of lockdown government is not giving them a stern warning to come out and get quarantined at public facilities where they can be checked regularly.This would have been clearly Birbal’s first item which is missing from India’s action list.

India’s attempt to chase a virus by tracing the contacts of corona virus victims will only require a heavenly intervention to become successful.India needs to contain virus.Till how many days we will extend the lock down? Lock down can only suppress the virus within particular homes but homes will remain contaminated. The day lock down is opened , the contagion will come out. Further, lock down is struggling to stop transmission in densely populated residential areas like dharavi where people are using common public amenities. India should not let the virus come out just like the cash has come out again after demonetization.

India is paying a huge cost for fighting coronavirus which will be no less than one-twelfth of GDP. In absolute term , we are bearing a minimum estimated cost of 15 lac crore for one month of lock down.The huge economic costs and social costs of lock down will not worry us in future if we are able to identify ‘suspected mass’ in totality and isolate them. Else we will keep on chasing the virus till a vaccine for it is developed. Thus, it is time India should learn Birbal way of finding solution to tricky problem so that the courage which country is demonstrating  doesn’t get defeated because of improper structuring of wisdom in that bundle of courage. Courage mixed with wisdom is the only way to become successful. Every other combination is simply trying to get lucky without much surety.


Image credit: