Covid-19 crisis has re-affirmed my faith in god and I believe it has done the same for many others. The second wave of covid-19 has been driven by highly virulent and infection strain. The strain is affecting families altogether and is not sparing anyone who is lowering down his mask. But as a country , we had lowered not only our mask but also our guard. The result is, today, every family is feeling the heat of coronavirus and witnessing tense days. The crisis has got compounded because of lack of availability of beds, medicines and doctors. It is sufficient to say that we were not prepared and even after we found ourselves in crisis, the political goal of devising a strategy to counter it remains elusive. In fact , to say the least, the muted response of state and expression of complete helplessness from all- coercive institution is a big disappointment for many Indians. In simple words, it is a statement from power-center that citizens will have to manage on its own as nothing is in their hands.
In the middle of this big disappointment is the discovery of truth. The truth is that Indians should realize that they do not grow or sustain because of government but because of themselves. The political class is busy fulfilling its political goals and investing too much trust in them will not lead us too far. Instead, invest the same trust and faith in your fellow Indians. NGO’s, religious institutions and people driven by values of helpfulness are at the forefront of this battle . A social media group may be more helpful in providing oneself information about a bed in hospital rather than any emergency government helpline. If one wants medicine, then also , these platforms are best placed to help people out with efficient information and speedy response. ‘Oxygen langars’ are for real and have saved many lives when governments are busy in fighting over oxygen shortage. It is our fellow Indian who has helped us today not any ‘neta’ or ‘babu’.The class of ‘virtuous people’ is all that we have today in this fight against covid and we should realize that this is the truth we should hold onto in the future.
Any society, that wants to grow, needs to have a class of virtuous people. People who are driven by a sense of service and purpose. People who are worried about other’s life rather than identity. People who understand what a family means and how a loss of even a single person can break the whole family. The good thing is India has such people even when wealth and power has overwhelmed our society but unfortunate thing is that we could never institutionalize creation of virtuous people. It is perhaps time that Indians must draw inspiration from today’s scenario and institutionalize ‘Community service’ as a part of education system. We need to send our young children to the field at least 5 days in a year to serve underprivileged and those who need care. We have to move on from ‘value education’ or ‘ethics’ in textual form and make our society practice these values. Only practice of such values by children can really help them internalize such values.
Community service is backed by evidence and has shown amazing results wherever it is practiced. For example, Sikhism has community service as a part of its religious framework and we have seen community showing leadership in tough times. Similarly, there are many sects and cults like ISKCON, Nirankari which have been at forefront in these difficult times. Community service can develop true sense of nationalism in India which is more concerned about life of an Indian rather than his identity. Indians should realize that our idea of India that revolves around government is distorted and imaginary. In fact, we need to focus our energy on how do we feel about a fellow Indian and how we can forge better relationships with each other. We , as a country , are made of Indians and god resides in each one of us. It is the time we hold onto our God so strong that never again we will let anything like Covid break us like this.
A very hopeful article in these doleful times.