Published: 24th March 2022
What happened on March 24: Beginning of lockdown in India, when the Father of Science Fiction passed on
The date March 24, 2020 has been seared into the memory of most Indians because after March 24, 2020, life, as we know it, changed forever
Panic, panic, panic — these are the words anyone would associate with March 24, 2020. Because it is on this day that Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown to defeat Coronavirus.
Our understanding of the virus was far less than what it is today and with the news of infection and death pouring in from most corners of the world, India decided to take this extreme step. The lockdown was then extended which led to a host of issues. Who can forget images of migrant labourers walking back to their homes in the absence of any transport? While air outside became easier to breathe as air pollution levels dropped, the rise in the cases of domestic violence painted a rather dreary picture of stuffed homes. Masks seem to have become a permanent fixture of our lives today.
Two years down the line and it feels like just two days have passed, have we moved forward because we have vaccines now or are we back to square one because of new variants? How much more can we take?
If we ask you to predict who the most translated author of all time is, we know you'll guess that it's Shakespeare quite easily. But it was on March 24, 1905, that the second most translated author met his maker. We are talking about the French man whose books encouraged children to embrace a career in Science, though the author himself never studied the subject. The very same writer who gave us Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas, Around the World in Eighty Days and many such page-tuners. Okay, one last clue. Today, he is known as the Father of Science Fiction. It's Jules Verne, people!
The discreet author, in some ways, anticipated Mission Apollo, preempted the invention of television and the invention of weapons of mass destruction (shudders) via his imaginative stories. How can we leave you without sharing a few quotes from his writings?
- Science, my boy, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth
- We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read
- On the surface of the ocean, men wage war and destroy each other; but down here, just a few feet beneath the surface, there is a calm and peace, unmolested by man
- It seems wisest to assume the worst from the beginning...and let anything better come as a surprise