Pandemic will have social, economic and political ramifications

Its been a year now that we as a society are passing through trying times…

Be it Gujarat, Maharashtra , UP, MP every state is facing shortages ; of ambulances, of medicines, of oxygen, of beds, of health care staff and finally even there is a long queue outside the funeral grounds. I have personally been involved in managing Remsdvir for a friend who is still in hospital and it costed Rs 5500/ per dose. So if someone claims everything is hunky dory then I am not going to bloody accept this non sense. 

Many of my friends are now recommending that we should arrange for our own personal Oxygen cylinder or a convertor.

Its time to ponder – Why have we reached this stage, particularly when things had started looking comfortable? 

Why did the Govts not plan properly when already in Europe , in Japan etc there was a sudden surge in corona cases particularly when we ourselves were having a festival ; Holi. 

In a democratic federal structure one can argue endlessly as to who is to be blamed for this messy situation and still not arrive at an appropriate answer. However, We may have come to this situation because ; 

People roamed around carelessly despite all warnings.

May be the State Govts did not plan properly.

May be the Central Govt  failed in ensuring a proper supply chain management of essential medicines, oxygen etc. 

It appears that it is a cumulative failure of all ; People, State as well as Central Govt.

So, there is a larger question ; How China, much bigger and more populous than us, could manage this better when it had no knowledge of dealing with this virus in 2020 and we failed despite an year’s experience behind us.

When we look around the world we notice that – its mainly the Democratic countries which are struggling. China could take stringent measures to control the pandemic which we, in a democratic set up can never think of. 

Let me quote from the Order that the collector of a big city grappling with this situation issued yesterday. He said ; All the decisions will be taken after discussing with all concerned Non Governmental Organisations , associations and also the State Govt etc regarding any Lock down and this is despite the fact that patients are running pillar to post for oxygen , for Remsdvir, for beds in his city, he is still discussing. 

This clearly vindicates my point that democratic societies are now not geared up to deal with such crisis situations. Almost entire system has become ineffective and defunct, although many of us had been writing this but it took Corona to expose it.

Notwithstanding the above, this is certainly not the first time that Such a situation is being faced by mankind. Plague and Cholera killed millions of people all over the world…Entire cities and villages were decimated. It has been estimated that one-fourth to one-third of the total population of Europe, approx.  25 million people, died from plague in 14th century. 

Then came World War I and II in which almost 22 million and 70–85 million people perished respectively.

But after each such crisis the mankind came out more stronger, more determined ;

We became more scientific in aptitude, we became more rationale, we gave up religious wars, formed League Of Nations and then  UNO to resolve disputes peacefully and amicably, numerous colonies got independence, Slavery was abolished, Democratic govts sprang up and we have had comparative peace and unprecedented growth and development in last 70 years.

Now that this virus has entered our lives and is unlikely to go easily, it will perhaps have Social, Political and Economic ramifications as the WORLD WAR 1 and 2 brought. And these ramifications will be much more grave if the societies do not grapple with the evils, that were creeping into our society and system, Head On.

One. We need to holistically carry out an assessment as to What kind of impact it is likely to have on the society where kids have not been able to attend schools and colleges for two years and millions have lost their jobs ? 

Two. The Democracy is increasingly becoming a sham. It has become corrupt, a business, dynastic, clientelistic and a collective loot. It is no more ; For the people, by the people and of the people.

Three. The Political outfits involved in the process of elections are not only dividing people along all possible lines but are creating animosity amongst the communities to garner votes. Instead of focusing on governance, growth and development there focus is largely on scratching old wounds and appeasing one community at the cost of other. Thus numerous lobbies, agencies and individuals have sprung up in order to manipulate the perception of the people. Religion and faith is being increasingly used as a tool for acquiring power rather than for spiritual growth.

It would not be wrong to state here that – What Kabir Das or Rahim could write and get away in 15th century is not possible now. They would have been charged under Sec 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for hurting religious sentiments or some Maulana would issued a fatwa to behead them. Even Bapu could not have sung his favourite bhajan ; “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram” as he would have been branded a Hard core Hindu fundamentalist.

Four. Winning elections is increasingly becoming the end purpose of Democracy and Religion , caste, ethnicity , money, crime everything has crept in slowly but surely.

Five. Institutions, the basic back bone of any society are fast losing their credibility. There is none available today on which we can have faith and say ; Here is a man or an institution we can have faith on. 

Six. The society is increasingly becoming fundamentalist and medievalism is creeping in. 

Everything for instance is being linked to religion, for instance ; the PM last year inorder to create a sense of unity and encourage people who appeared to be depressed by the pandemic asked them to stand in their balconies etc and bang utensils, and lit  lamps, but what did the people do, they linked it to religion rather than focusing on its basic objective and in some cities they made a mockery of the whole thing and defeated its whole purpose. 

Seven. To much of individualism and materialism was creeping in and the values were being redefined as per convenience. 

The way things stand today, it appears that the worse is still not over. Millions have lost jobs, kids are not going to schools and colleges, there are enough reports of patients dying because of shortage of oxygen, shortage of medicines etc, all this will surely have numerous implications which may lead to political upheaval, violence, agitations And by the time this pandemic leaves us, it would have surely done its job, may be like what WW 2 did; It brought some sanity to the mankind and paved the way for Freedom of many countries and growth and development.




Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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