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  • Raghav Sand

Rant and Chant in India

Indians are not happy at the moment and they have good reason to be in this state of mind. This article is neither an attempt to give a clean chit to the government apparatus at the union, state or district level, nor is it a rant against those charged with the governance of the Republic of India. The decibel of discontent is particularly high as inflation and jobless growth have struck people irrespective of their age, gender and social / economic status.

The gravity of current situation doesn’t warrant any diversion or finger-pointing. At an appropriate time, you will get a chance to hold people accountable for the alleged mess. Democracy, free speech, liberty and free will are all one-sided ornamental words for most Indians. The true diversity of our country has come to the fore, when calamity has been battering us from all directions.

Inheritance of Ignorance

We cannot generalize or overanalyze the profile of people affected and either recovered or dead from contracting the Covid-19 virus. Believe it or not, the development in all the sectors of our economy is a smokescreen. If you have not been living in cave all this while, you must be aware of some harsh ground realities.

After being aware of all these facts, when people choose to lower their guard, it is a case of collective negligence. If blaming the other guy, government or any other thing pacifies you, then the rant you are about to utter or have already uttered recently, is your fundamental right. Throwing verbal brickbats at politicians will not solve the problem at hand. Feedback in a democracy is passive. Whether it is the treasury bench or the opposition, more often than not, partisan priorities eclipse the national agenda. Wishful thinking will take us nowhere, but a will to pull the nation out of trouble may turn out to be the best course of action

Playing the Blame Game

Blaming the government, either state or central, for all the miseries and mishaps is a favourite pastime for most citizens of our republic. The comical manner in which we conduct our affairs can easily make an outsider believe that the dearest game for Indians is the blame game; cricket, football or kabaddi don’t even stand a chance. By repeatedly taking this course of action we have lost the collective sense of responsibility. Undoubtedly, there is profound lightness in shrugging off responsibility, but when the outcome of our irresponsible behaviour can no longer be denied, regret can make us feel heavy, very heavy.

Gain in Pain

Looking for gain in someone else’s pain goes against morality. Commerce is all around us and every product and service must be sold at a price which covers investment and general expenses. People with stretched finances find it difficult to arrange money for buying basic medicines and other lifesaving items. Hoarding medical supplies and subsequently selling them at a premium is yet another pandemic that has derailed our pursuit towards normalcy.

Please Stop the PR Chants and Rants

At a time when a large section of citizens and media are on their rant and rage routine, simultaneously a comical PR exercise is underway. The self-proclaimed mouthpieces of the union government are operating on mission mode. The art of deflection and distraction is being employed in full scale. Editorial content on these print and media outlets is filled with sympathy for their masters. On the other side of the media spectrum, news anchors have taken the mantle of being judge, jury and executioner. Rational discourse may not find a place in our country anytime soon.

People are happy to hear what they want to hear and don’t believe in any fact-checking whatsoever. Repetition makes a fact seem more true, regardless of whether it is or not. Understanding this effect can help you avoid falling for propaganda, says psychologist Tom Stafford. The information pandemic has created a situation where people read, listen or watch news which aligns with their political leanings. Being aware of this situation, the information ecosystem serves an unhealthy mix of propaganda, conspiracy theories and fake news.

No Quick Fixes Available

We have seen how Covid-19-appropriate behaviour and protocol was not universally followed. And, now the world is witnessing a never seen before immunization drive for Covid-19 vaccine. Covid-19 is the first digitally witnessed pandemic and may not be easily forgotten like its predecessors. We have huge amount of data about the infection rates, death and vaccination drives. All this data will help in analysing the mayhem caused by the invisible pathogen.

Theoretically, vaccination may expedite the end of Covid-19, though historically, such viruses run their course and subside at will. They leave people either immune or dead. Internet has made joy and sorrow global – the connectedness has two sides. Constant solidarity will serve no real purpose and leave you drained. If you can help in any way whatsoever, please do, else try to rebuild relationships and organizations in your local community. The end result of fabricated optimism and reasonable pessimism are in the same ball park.

Among all this freedom of expression and some insubstantial litigation, there are individuals who are helping others and finding solutions beyond their financial means. If someone thinks that a pandemic is the best time to project themselves as the best alternative leader, a polite reminder: make better use of your time and reach. For once, stop enumerating problems, and try to be a part of the solution. Politics over the pyres of deceased is disgraceful and inhuman.

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” This famous quote attributed to Henry Ford and Edward Everett Hale remains as relevant as ever in innumerable contexts of life.

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