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Will It Be A Better Tomorrow?

Think hard and then ,even as we all comply dutifully with lockdown in our mortal interest and that of our society , forget not we do this to restore the good of life and living as it existed before; not to forget it and become a different, untrusting, selfish, depressed world.

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The coronavirus pandemic has done deep and extensive economic, social, and political damage. Restoring confidence, reviving economic activity, rebuilding institutions and resuscitating social life will be tasks of previously unknown weight and scope.

The global pandemic is changing us in fundamental, corrosive and possibly irreversible ways.

Worldwide an unavoidable regimen of lockdowns enforced by ‘emergency like’ powers is inevitably going to lead to a massive setback to the economy, our social fabric, and our political system.

There is a demand shock, eventual breakdown of global supply chains and a depressed outlook. ‘Jaan hai toh Jahaan hai’ as our Prime Minister correctly put it, is what everyone thinks but the anxiety is ravaging the mood everywhere.

Will we never be the same again? Can it not be a case of reculer pour mieux sauter ? May we aspire for a better tomorrow?

A quick look at the situation report will give us a prognosis.

The economy has already taken the biggest sudden hit ever. Hundreds of thousands of people have no job to do. Casual and daily wage workers are locked out of a living. As the full force of the impact will be felt in months and years to come inequalities in wealth, opportunity, and access to health care will become even more conspicuous.

Everyday life is impacted in unprecedented ways, be it closing of educational institutions, everyone working from home, social distancing and fear of contagion. We have been reduced to only sharing things online. Emotional fatigue is making the matters brittle.

Our political system, polarised as it already was, is under stress. Only the government can act. Political formations have little role for now. The policy making function is in a state of suspended animation. The borders are effectively closed. This will paralyze the work of Parliament and the Judiciary. The biggest question is “If and not when” things will limp back to normalcy. But, where demand and economic measures are concerned the question is “when and not if ” the full blow will be felt.

At the local level, quarantine measures have stopped everything beyond the confines of a nuclear family. Speculation is rife. News media, hardly known for original content before the crisis, may have been dealt a final, fatal blow by the coronavirus. Originality is a casualty. Advertising will shrink across the board.

But these precautionary measures are not in question. We are all in it together and see the need for these steps. Lifting preventive measures, to revive the economy but potentially at the expense of human lives, will be a big moral impasse.

If –hypothetically speaking – the coronavirus proves to be a continuing part of life and at some stage, a section of society decides to carry on with life whilst factoring in the possible risk and loss, we may bewilderingly find ourselves in the bizarre situation of demanding that the government drastically curtail all routine freedoms. The virus should not destroy our social fabric even as it kills many amongst us.

Soon there will be two types of people – coronavirus immune and corona virus susceptible.

At present, people who have already recovered from a Covid infection will test negative, if tested. It is currently assumed that people who have recovered from the infection might have immunity to it. If we can identify the immune population then these will be our frontline warriors. Post quarantine, the hospitals, schools, essential services etc. need them.

We must create space for civil society action via grassroots, non-governmental ,flat, organizations.

Where are the massive trillion dollar corporations in this fight ? Where are the numerous billionaires ? Where are the leading brands ? Society will register this presence or absence as the case may be.

The crisis has hurled us into the future. A digital life with a much higher priority to fundamental issues of health, family and social priorities will emerge. Direct cash payments and free food grants will provide a lifeline to hundreds of millions of Indians.

Distance and virtual learning will become hugely accessible and lead to more accessible higher education. Many Indians will ask if they actually need to go back to office. Massive adoption of telecommuting will ease traffic congestion, urban pollution and ease real estate

Universal grant of minimum income as a standard where society values people for being human will fuse with minimum guarantee of employment and other welfare measures.

Will we emerge more permanently distanced than ever before?

Will the world see a breakdown of people meeting people casually in public spaces?

Will I good naturedly say “bless you “when someone sneezes next to me on a plane?

Will we restore the world we have lost with its frenzied pace, continuous travel and traffic , and its obsession with material growth and profits?

What if as one globe, we continue to get more insular; if we continue in lockdowns, for say a year or two years? If everyone erodes in confidence, trust and ability what remains of human civilisation?

Think hard and then ,even as we all comply dutifully with lockdown in our mortal interest and that of our society , forget not we do this to restore the good of life and living as it existed before; not to forget it and become a different, untrusting, selfish, depressed world.

Survive to Thrive..

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.


Shubhranshu Singh

The author is a global marketer, story teller, brand builder, columnist, and business leader. His interests include studying social change, impact of technology on consumer lives, understanding young consumers, history and politics.

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