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Time To Reset Societal Empathy Quotient ..And Change

Governments are subsets of the society that we live in, as our representatives are selected from the same society and carry the same moral fulcrum that society represents. So where do we start to change ...?

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The time at hand being in a lockdown has been cathartic in a sense. It has been reflection time where one is compelled to think of all the thing we could have done better as the events unfold before us. We can feel the pain when some of our brethren go hungry, have no paying jobs and take the painful decision to walk in this searing heat to their home, yet not raising one's voice or raise a helping hand or provide more substantial aid. Fear of the infection can be a logical reason but I fear the real reason is apathy as a society that we have inculcated as a dominant trait. Years and decades of selfish behaviour has made us immune to sufferings of others. Governments are subsets of the society that we live in, as our representatives are selected from the same society and carry the same moral fulcrum that society represents. So where do we start to change ...?

India is a large country with not a very long history of independence. It's large though young population, many religions, numerous languages, it's governance at any time is anything but challenging. It's a miracle that we are still together as a nation and that too a democratic nation. Internal conflicts if not starvation or poverty should have killed us but we are still here and surviving! Very often it's our own fears and our shortcomings which have troubled us but we have also made them our strength to survive and move forward. This pandemic has brought us to another crossroad where we require to look within to develop that sense of empathy and cohesiveness to not only survive this scare but to make us stronger.

Therefore change we must but selectively. We as a nation need to address the urban rural divide and the expectation of our large population. Our rural landscape has improved but the facilities, jobs, skills are not at par with our urban centres.

Agriculture with its splintered holdings, unremunerative produce, climate change and little add on processing facilities is not able to address the aspirations of our rural population which being with the connected world expects much more. This rural urban imbalance is the primary reason of our migrant workforce. They travel hundreds of miles to secure a decent lifestyle and livelihood. Urban centres which need workers are space constrained and yes they do provide jobs but with unhygienic living conditions. In the race for doing better we forgot the basics. Yes we need jobs as well as livelihoods but not without dignity. It took a Pandemic to realise how far we had divided society that all of us watched helplessly while our disadvantaged  people suffered.

The other change we must see and I'm not a socialist, is a proper design of a safety net for our population including a substantial amount of investment in public healthcare. Our spend at present is incapable of providing this net. Our demography can only be an asset if it is healthy and working. We have a federal structure which needs the states and the centre to work together to make this happen. Presently we are seeing a very poor copy of the same playing out.

We need to recover our souls as individuals, society and as a nation. Time to work on it is now!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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lockdown poverty

Timmy Kandhari

The author is Founder & MD, Sapphire professional Services

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