Perspective of a common citize

by R K Garg

Chandigarh, July 12, 2020: During the lockdown,
it was the common man on
the street who suffered the most as
he lost his livelihood and could not
sustain his day-to-day needs.
With this kind of virus, no one
could meet others and go anywhere
to ensure a some livelihood.
We are a country which got independence
more than 70 years ago
and, after the lock down and curfew,
we suddenly realised that
almost 40 crore people do not have
the capacity to live even a poor
man’s life.
They were short of food and no
one came to support them, except
being given some cooked food or
dry rations.
They felt homeless and started
going back to their houses in the
state they belonged to.
We need to realise that, though
they live in different states, the
people, or migrants as they are
called, have a dwelling unit either
in UP or Bihar and these very
units came to their rescue.
How bad our infrastructure was,
when we could not arrange for a
square food or rectangular cot for
them to sleep.
Suddenly, the situation was
becoming like the Partition days.
Being basically a poor country
with a very not so strong infrastructure,
we were not able to sustain
our helpers, maids, barbers,
tea vendors, rickshaw pullers,
plumbers, electricians and what
not.
They were all out of jobs and had
to depend on food or ration distributed
by the Government and
NGOs.
This crisis totally exposed our
economy and the factthat we do
not have a buffer of money which
can be used during a crisis.
Just two months have exposed
the dirty linen to the public.
Of course, the Government came
with a financial package, Shramik
trains and buses but that did only a
Tatkal sewa as there is no longterm
planning.
The Planners sitting at Niti Ayog
have to think and plan a long-term
strategy to make our large chunk
of labour a useful and productive
part of the economy.
It should not only be ‘Voter Politics’
where the Government makes
the type of Voters it needs but it
should be an Awakened Voter who
makes a better Government.
So, this is first and most important
lesson which we all have not
only to learn but need to implement
also.
To overcome and control such
situations, the Government should
immediately start a social security
concept where everyone should be
covered and should be assured of a
sum which may be sufficient to sustain
normal living for at least six
months.
Other balancing solution will be
compulsory saving out of earnings
which should be supported by
Government by an equal amount
as saved by the person.
This unique crisis, which is part
of our own making, has changed
life entirely.
Our culture used to be to hug all
our near and dear ones.
We have a large number of festivals
with large gatherings, our
marriages and our national festivals
etc., everything will need to
change.
Our status in society used to be
known by the number of persons
we had in our marriages, in cremation
grounds, hospitals and in
political rallies.
We have lived only the first six
months of the year where we do
not have much of celebrations
except our crop season which
passed very peacefully within the
lockdown.
But now we will have a season of
festivities.
The idea of a ‘new normal’ is
now a reality.
We have to live with the virus
and live in the real sense but with
a change.
We have to greet all others with
folded hands, in the age-old style
of spiritual organisations, we have
to learn to be self-dependent in
real terms.
So, we need not only stand on
our feet but have to make our
home a self-sufficient house which
can sustain the curfew of at least 6
days.
We have to learn to save in such
a way that even if banks are
closed, even if markets are closed,
even if our children are living
away and cannot meet, we have to
survive.
This list of ‘musts’ will keep on
increasing with the increase in the
time of the New Normal.
We will learn new things.
The crisis has really taken us in
new era where we will need to
have uniform ways of life as is
done in schools where all rich and
poor wear the same ‘uniform’ and
the difference is not visible.
Similarly, in the New Normal, all
of us will have to follow the same
set of rules.
The New Normal gives a call to
all social reformers and NGOs to
keep people aware of their responsibility
to maintain the new compulsions
and to ensure a smooth,
safe, real and healthy living with
the virus for a long time to come.
In curfew and lockdown, when
all activities were closed, the level
of air, water, industrial and even
personal pollution decreased and
came to an all time low.
However, this was achieved at a
big cost of the entire economy suffering
almost irreparable loss
which has totally exposed our controls
and obligations towards our
natural resources.
Nature proved that it is always
better to abstain from some activities
for some period to enjoy the
nature.
Rivers became so clean that we
could use it as mineral water, air
so clean that visibility increased
and moreover we were able to see
and enjoy the stars in sky.
The old concept of work for five
days and have weekend as rest and
also work for eleven months and
have rest of one month was very
good which is still followed in hospitals,
courts and schools only.
The present crisis has given us a
lesson and Government should
make closure for a month compulsory
every year after working of
eleven months so that all-natural
resources can have a rest and pollution
comes under control for the
coming year.
For this, the Government needs
to develop the economy in such a
way that it can sustain closure of
one month every year and there
are sufficient resources which can
ensure readiness for coming next
eleven months.
Note: We all should learn to live
a life which is free from all clutter
in mind and life.
We should learn to manage time
and life should be just one way to
achieve a goal which is much higher
than normal life.
The excessive use of gadgets
needs to be controlled.
The entire scenario which is happening
is our own making and if
we are willing to take a backward
step it can be very fruitful to lead a
better life for all common persons.
Be safe and secure at your house
and do not think, it will not happen
to me or my family.
(The views expressed are personal
of the author. If you wish to
express your opinion, contact R K
Garg at rtichd27@gmail.com)

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