CORONA   :   CATASTROPHE, COURAGE, CHALLENGE 

Prof . Vishnu Prakash Srivastava , Delhi

Timely lockdown saved thousands of life in densely populated areas, performing much better than the countries of the developed world. We are sincerely indebted to the doctors, nurses, sanitizers, supporting staff and the law-order enforcing personnel, for their self-sacrificing services 

We are no near to the end of war against Corona. As such, the clamour at the liquor shops, in total disregard to social distancing, at the dawn of lifting of the lockdown, has demonstrated that not Ramayan alone, the people need be shown plays based on Munshi Prem Chand’s last story ‘ Kafan ‘ time and again.

Marching of the millions of people on 500-700 kilometers homeward journey on foot exposes (i) their pathetic marginal living conditions and helplessness in cities (ii) falsehood of their rights of security and human dignity (iii) apathy of administration and hypocrisy of urban civilization.

Ironically, Carona Catastrophe has RETARDED the human beings terrific pace to ECOLOGICAL DISASTER by cleaning Air and WATER of the world. The lockdown has forced us to LEARN about NONESSENTIAL GOODS AND SERVICES, the main cause of environmental damage.

So while fighting against Corona, the twin challenge to human being is  

(1)to preserve the unimaginable rejuvenation of the environment by rationalizing human needs, comforts and industrial activity

(2) to rehabilitate the uprooted from the cities in their home town and restore economic activity in industry.

After the first reports of mass exodus of the migrant labor, we were aghast with distress to see only extremely inadequate attention by the states and the centre towards their travel arrangement, stay or food for this huge mass of people.  Now after forty days, with Centre-State hassle on rail road fare, anarchic arrangement, the stranded people and others are being sent home. Those, who chance to be back home alive, after this traumatic journey, will not dare to return to cities easily. May we assert emphatically that in the ongoing discussion of revival of economy, they do not figure in considerations of economists in the government or outside.

We do support purchasing power transfer in the hands of have-nots in cities or elsewhere. As a long term strategy, we do believe in promotion of skills of music, dance, drama, poetry, story- telling, painting, archery, gardening, decoration, mechanic, electricians and many more in each village. Each performer and tutor of any of the skills has a right to livelihood with dignity (not affluence).There ought to be governmental and social  acknowledgement and remuneration to each such person, removing from them even the feeling of unemployability.  This will improve the quality of life everywhere and

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 remove the undue burden and competition of becoming an instrument of factory production nearby or in a distant land. Learning of Arithmetic, English and Computer are not the only skills as engineering or medical not the only profession.

At present, we insist to support the revival of small factories in cities closed due to the lockdown, if they are not polluting industry. Government must salvage them by paying their employees directly as loan to the company; and waive off or defer their bank payments, to make them function. Their bankruptcy if large scale, would spell disaster to all concerned.

The financial burden of rehabilitating the migrant labor and reviving the factories can be mitigated by deferring payment of twenty five  percent  salary for six months by one year of government employees.

Corona has halted the rattling factories, the screeching roads and thundering skies, all over the globe, in favour of animals, birds, aquatic life and biodiversity and probably a warning to the man. The message is simple, ‘ Live and Let Live’. 

We are at a critical juncture of history. This is a request to the specialists with environmental considerations and human rights concern to join the economists for finding solutions ensuring welfare of all. To adopt a humanitarian approach with non-consumerist life is no easier to any people than Indians ; it being actually lived here by many for thousands of years. Jainism propounds it as sustainable way of living. Gandhiji found agrarian life as the only way of civilized life.                

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