There is no clarity on how fragile supply chains will be maintained, restored, and repaired in the absence of those who cut wood and bring water to make the city vibrate. Well, before talking about life after COVID-19, there is an urgent need to talk about life after closure. It is hard to imagine that any of us can go back to what was normal before. Stores and offices will slowly hobble as they bravely face each other and spend all their energy to make sure they survive somehow.
The government has not yet shared a plan for the revival and recovery of the affected economy. The reassuring noises have failed to comfort the most afflicted segment of the population: daily wage earners and employees in the unorganized sector, landless farmers, and millions of lives migrants who became refugees, homeless, and “stateless” overnight…
There is no clarity on how fragile supply chains will be maintained, restored, and repaired in the absence of those who cut wood and bring water to vibrate the city. Will they return? Or will hunger and excruciating discrimination lead the stigmatized poor to a life of slavery in overcrowded cities? How will “social distancing” unravel once a school, college, university, office, and the factory is restarted, not with 50 percent staff but at full steam? Transportation will continue to be a major challenge. When will regular trains and interstate buses resume? When will the normal life be back ?
It’s great that some governments have made some arrangements for migrant workers and students to return home.
Life in Quarantine
But, logically, all those people should be in quarantine. It appears that even if there is a gradual relaxation in the block, the unfortunate interruption will last more than three months after the block is lifted. Neither the central government nor the state governments can be criticized for this. In addition to minor and major technical issues, they have done their best in exceptional circumstances.
Political partisanship and community prejudice have eroded the credibility of many leaders and parties. The shameful sympathy of the leading bureaucrats on the brink of servility is shameful. There is no squeal of disagreement or point to a lapse that may result in a mid-course correction. Many blows to the back and blows to the chest; Enjoying the reflected glory of the Prime Minister’s radiant charisma, his cabinet colleagues are happy with appearances most of the time.
Supreme Court ?
The biggest disappointment has been the judiciary. To be precise, the Supreme Court. Today, he is more likely to talk about the bank’s masterly inactivity. Only in the rarest cases, their lordships are put into action. Those who are not well versed in the constantly evolving forms of contingent jurisprudence are baffled by some recent decisions by the apex court.
Republic TV’s FIRs against Arnab Goswami blinked and he and state governments had enough time to respond to court notices as honorable judges felt they were ‘not inclined to interfere with the media’s right to freedom of expression. ‘Now even a scholar knows that the media’s right to freedom of expression stems from the right of ordinary citizens to freedom of expression. And, that this right is not free. It cannot be abused.
Without prejudging this particular case, it can be noted that the courts appear to treat different people differently. But life is life. Those favored by the rulers seem to enjoy greater freedoms. Others are slapped with crimes not redeemable for unbuttoning their lips. Many feel that the courts have abdicated their responsibility by admitting that at times like this it is better not to interfere with what the government is doing. One would like to humbly present that it is at times like this that judicial supervision is most necessary. Especially in a federal system like ours, where conflicts can arise between the states and the Center over the implementation of the policy.
It is imperative that the nation unites in the war against this deadly virus. But this certainly does not mean that we should blindly follow the leader like a flock of sheep. Nor can the Indians allow themselves to be subjected to superstitious religious fanaticism. There are legitimate fears about unnecessary surveillance. Thank goodness, the lynching mobs have not been rampant lately, but volunteers from social organizations / NGOs have been active and visible in many places “helping” the authorities to effectively enforce the blockade.
This too shall Pass
Once the blockade is lifted and we begin to collect fragments of our fragmented lives, we are forced to ask these and other awkward questions. What will be the form of electoral politics in India? Are they going to look at the media beyond Covid’s infection statistics and morbidity? How are we going to reconnect with colleagues and reorganize domestic life after tentatively establishing ourselves in the vastly changed world? Life, then COVID, is not going to be comfortable.