Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday said the entire nation, including the Narendra Modi government, had shown complacency after the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, leading India to the current crisis, NDTV reported.

“We are facing this situation because, whether it was the government, administration or public, everyone dropped their guard after the first wave despite indications from doctors,” Bhagwat said.

He was speaking during an online lecture organised by the RSS as part of its “Positivity Unlimited” campaign, which critics say is an attempt to counter public ire against the government’s handling of the second wave of the pandemic. As part of these efforts, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party along with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, its ideological mentor, is now trying to connect better with the masses and highlight work being done by the government.

In his speech, Bhagwat too sought to deflect the attention from the government’s shortcomings, and asked citizens to “stay positive and take precautions to keep ourselves Covid negative in the present situation”, according to NDTV.

“The cycle of life and death will continue…these matters cannot scare us. It is these very circumstances that will train us for the future,” he said. “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. The courage to continue is the only thing that matters.”

Other speakers at the four-day lecture series include businessman Aziz Premji and godman Jaggi Vasudev.

The RSS chief added that the public should face a potential third wave of infections with courage and confidence. “Now they tell us a third wave could be here,” he said. “So, should we fear it? Or have the right attitude to fight and win against the virus?”

India is reeling under an unprecedented second wave of the coronavirus.

The country has reported more than 3 lakh cases a day every day for the past three weeks, since April 22. On May 1, it hit a new record by crossing the 4-lakh mark, the highest single-day tally by any country in the world. This was surpassed on May 7, when India recorded 4.14 lakh daily cases. So far in May, India’s daily tally has crossed the 4-lakh mark on five days. Thousands have died every day, but reports allege that the government is severely undercounting Covid-19 deaths.

The surge in infections has overwhelmed the country’s healthcare system, leading to acute shortages of oxygen, medicines and critical care.