In July, 2021, Dr Rinchin Neema, a 41-year-old district immunisation officer posted in the mountainous Tawang district in Arunachal, trekked uphill with his colleagues for 12 hours to reach a remote village Lugthang near the border with Tibet. The steep climb on foot amidst pelting monsoon rains was slippery. But the team was resolute. They needed to reach there to vaccinate a community of yak grazers who lived in a mountainous village 14,000 feet above sea level.
They did not regard their efforts as particularly heroic. What stirred them was simply a sense of public duty. This was, after all “just another day if you are an immunisation officer in a remote place like Tawang,” Neema told The Indian Express. “In places like Arunachal Pradesh, where most people reside in remote areas, it is impossible for them to come to us. So we have to go to them… [to] the last Indian citizens.”
Just weeks earlier, on June 21, 2021, an inordinately expensive national publicity blitz, paid entirely by taxpayers, was launched with massive hoardings and posters emblazoned with the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi appearing overnight at every street-corner and outside schools and government offices.
As on 23 May, 2021, 8:00 am, Government of India…