The nationwide pandemonium created by the COVID-19 pandemic is the most discussed agenda. Mango people like us have suffered a lot, there has been reporting on pay-cuts, job losses, uncertainty about the future, and volatility in the healthcare infrastructure. COVID-19 cases have achieved peak and we have to appreciate that not just the Govt. but common mass are also to be blamed for this.
At many locations (especially the densely populated and semi-urban ones), the local populace is not abiding by the safety and hygiene protocols. However, this does not undermine the fact that during March and April, governments (both states and central) could have taken initiatives to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure and could have brought in new initiatives at community and ULB levels to fight this adverse situation.
Respected Union Home Minister along with another Union Minister and one think tank of the ruling party is admitted at Medanta Gurgaon, a quite reputed and expensive private hospital after being tested COVID positive. Can we conclude that after more than 70 years of our independence that we have failed miserably to set up at least one such government hospital which is equally good as that of a private hospital, where our leaders can safely get admitted? Probably the conclusion is simple – our health infrastructure needs serious improvement.
It seems that the government was busy preparing for the Bhoomi Pujan of much sought after Ram Mandir, also known as ‘Symbolic Secularism’, in our country. Food for thought – if we have to pick during this uncertain time only one among the below mentioned, what would that one thing be?
(i) economic stability,
(ii) sustainable growth agenda in primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors,
(iii) resolving the issue of unemployment, and
(iv) building temples
We are a diverse country and yes, we do need more religious places to offer our prayers to the almighty. However, during this torrid time, channelizing the funds raised for constructing the temple to fulfil the needs of the needy would probably make more sense. What about using this fund and the total development cost of this temple, which should be collected within the next one to two years, to help the distressed population in the recent Bihar and Assam floods and extending help to the unfortunate family members of the deceased passengers of that ill-fated Air India flight.
With my limited knowledge about different religions, I have understood that only through serving and worshipping human beings, we can achieve proximity to the omniscient; and we can achieve the tranquillity. Since long, religion has been aptly used as a weapon to satiate political propaganda and to serve hidden objectives of a selected few. We get quite apprehensive when we are in close contact with someone belonging to the other religion and also our national leaders use this difference as the medium to garner public sentiment. History has set the precedence of communal riots, favouritism, and yes it is such a topic that can turn our beloved nation upside down.
Amidst all of these discussions, I would like to bring out an interesting topic of discussion – What about developing more temples? Don’t we need more?
The answer is yes, we do need it. My definition of such temples is location agnostic and aims at solving the actual and core problems of human beings rather than demarcating us by a politically incorrect terminology named ‘religion’. Education, healthcare, accommodation, food, transport, and hygiene are the only few requirements that we need to sustain. A country of more than 130 crore population capable of achieving the impossible, what stops us from building more schools, colleges, research laboratories, hospitals, diagnostic clinics, mass housing, warehouse, multimodal transport connectivity, sanitation facilities?
Again, the pertinent point is to effectively improve our socio-economic condition, the idea is not just to develop more such infrastructure but to focus on a holistic aspect to maintain these facilities, policy advocacy to foster a more robust and amiable ecosystem for the common mass, purely focusing on measures to ascertain basic needs of people below the poverty line, and our fellow countrymen residing in the rural and remotest parts of the country who are deprived of the basic amenities.
Dear reader, don’t you think we need more laboratories like DRDO, ISRO, and IISC, don’t we need more educational institutes of national importance like IITs, IIMs, NITs, and IIITs, don’t we need more innovation and research activities, don’t we need more start-ups and technology-oriented initiatives. Yes, we do.
If we foresee ourselves to emerge as the next economic superpower, we have to focus only on building and managing multiple such temples effectively. India is a land of infinite potential and we Indians are extremely talented. Our unity in diversity is the key enabler that binds all of us together. My purpose of writing this piece is to air my simple thought of keeping religion at the backseat and focusing on developing a robust infrastructure which takes into cognizance a holistic development in social, economic, environmental, academic, healthcare, transport, food, accommodation, and in hygiene aspects – yes, that’s the way to achieve ‘achhe din’!