It has been now more than a week that the entire country is in an unprecedented lockdown. Now and then, there is a post which says, instead, asks us to introspect and do what we always wanted to do. But for obvious reasons and lack of time, it was never done; so do it in this lockdown and utilise this time for good. But all this is mere propaganda to make people engaged and even the bigger reason and result would be the self-blaming and a severe impact on mental health.
Firstly, the lockdown came all of a sudden out of nowhere and the worst affected are the poor who have no house and no food to eat. I agree that this lockdown has brought out compassion and humanity to the forefront, but before people started donating food, the migrants and poor had nothing to eat.
Moreover, we are talking about this for the bigger cities where there are a lot of NGOs. But what about the smaller towns which are outside the coverage of the mainstream media and where there are as such no NGOs working? What would the poor people of those towns eat?
It is rightly said that it is always the women who are affected the worst during anything. In this lockdown, the essential commodities were to be manufactured despite the lockdown and the manufacturing of sanitary pads was stopped; probably because pads are not considered “essential“. It was only when netizens started writing critically on this the notification was issued.
The question is that in the time when erasing the signs of dissent from the walls of Jamia University and the renovation work in Delhi was considered a priority when the coal mines were open (probably essential commodity), wasn’t it required to make menstrual products an essential commodity too or is it that the women are not considered important?
Nextly, in this lockdown, it is a relief for many people that the environment is recovering and the creatures of this ecosystem, of course, other than the humans, are taking a breath. Still, there are vehicles on the roads and people roam around in the evening as if they are on a vacation and the afternoon break is over.
The environment which is healing — creatures coming to the beaches, ducks being spotted in the canals of Venice, Himachal’s Dhauladhar mountain being visible from Jalandhar, ozone layer healing itself and many more instances. Is all this sustainable?
There are even memes stating that Greta Thunberg, the young environment activist, will be very happy at this time and will go to school after this pandemic is over. But what actually will happen after this pandemic is revenge pollution and the murder of the environment. Nations will engage in the race to get their economies recovering, industries will work tirelessly and the environment will be affected like before.
Now comes why we still can’t do what we always wanted to do. All colleges and universities are now engaged in online learning, so it does not seem to be a lockdown. They are engaged in online education and not learning as they are concerned about completing the syllabus.
How can one get so much time to introspect? The books one always wanted to read, the skills one wanted to learn, the tasks one wanted to do is all in the middle, I believe, but they don’t seem to get finished. The students sitting in houses have a constant thing in their brains. Mental health is being impacted severely. Learning is not only about the syllabus.
And our mainstream media is doing wonders. It has shown its capacity and has made the entire pandemic and a crisis into a Hindu-Muslim debate. The wounds of the recent Delhi riots were not completely healed and the media has started to make the gap wider. A whole religion is being blamed for the wrong done by a few. Seriously, the country is getting more and more non-sympathetic because of our media. How can one expect good mental health when there is hatred being spread all the time?
What the Government can do is make the protective gears available to every health care professional and ensure the lockdown is being followed seriously, ensure widespread testing and focus on treatment and, guess what, we are being asked for thalis and candles. The concept is good, to appreciate the efforts of doctors, but the people for whom the thalis were beaten across the country are out there (many) without proper protective gear.
Doctors, Police and the people busy in sanitisation and sanitation are doing their bit. What we need to do is be in our homes and, of course, study online and try to learn something new and cultivate love and not hatred.