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  • Raghav Sand

We, The People of India: Are We Any Good?

The events and news around us are not in our control. Bad news is bad and good news is good; even the most creative storytellers cannot make it look otherwise. The attempt to cherry-pick or divert the attention from the obvious will turn futile sooner than later. Record-breaking cases and deaths due to Covid-19 has shown the true and fair capability of our fragile healthcare infrastructure. As far as one can recall, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare did not issue any directives to repeal the inexpensive guidelines for covid-appropriate behaviour and protocols. Nevertheless, people took it upon themselves to formulate their own set of rules.

Mistakes and Habits

As responsible citizens and future leaders of policy making and industry, we should not deflect uncomfortable situations. Democratic governments are not an employer-employee arrangement. Incapable individuals should make way for fresh faces and innovative ideas. The people’s government is an experiment and there is vast scope for trial and error. To justify their position and election, those charged with governance should reduce errors and increase the trials.

Living in the moment and planning for the future are overused and hyper generalized life mantras. We should not dwell in the past, but repeating past behaviour and choices, which lead to mistakes, get formed into habits.

Collective Responsibility

Having no strategy is in itself a strategy. Undoubtedly the governments, both at the central and state level, have failed in their duties. But, to be fair, the ruling class is getting more than its fair share of the brickbats. Politics is all about timing and no individual or party is missing a chance to sling mud on adversaries. Indians have not been programmed to use accountability and governance in the same sentence. For way too long, we have kept our politicians above all reasonable parameters of scrutiny.

At the moment there are multiple tasks on our hands and this may not be the best time to stop every essential crisis management activity just to name and blame the inept individuals. Once the nation is back on its feet, we owe it to our country and countrymen, that once and for all, our resources and those who exercise influence on the resources are capable and accountable.

Holi and Holy Dip

As the biggest ethnic and religious group in India, Hindus should lead by example. Knowingly or unknowingly, people have a tendency to behave like a tribe or a herd. The constitution of our country treats every citizen equally and for the majority to conduct themselves in a manner which is deficient in common sense, has set a dangerous precedent. A health emergency is not the best time to pamper the voter. A large proportion of people chose to follow restraint during the festival of Holi this time round as well, though given the size of our population, few careless, irresponsible and overenthusiastic individuals are capable of shattering the good work done by most others.

Wise men in Delhi and Dehradun decided to go ahead with the plans of Kumbh Mela, a year ahead of its original schedule, following the advice of astrologers. Allowing a super spreader event to be held during a pandemic shows complete disregard for science and logic. As an afterthought, government asked people to observe the festival of holy dip symbolically. Unfortunately, damage was already been done. People who came to Haridwar to wash away sins and set themselves free from the cycle of birth and death, have carried an invisible assassin back to their families and communities.

Spirituality is best practiced in privacy. If done explicitly, the action and words of one person should not hurt the feelings and well-being of other similar or diverse individuals. There was a Kumbh Mela in 2019, and there will be another in 2025. Had we collectively and authoritatively resolved to skip the Kumbh Mela in 2021, many precious lives would have been saved.

Gain in Pain

Looking for gains 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.

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