The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the whole world to a halt. For some, this time would be memorable and the emotion that one would associate to this forced aloofness would vary. While for others, this period is proving to be an existential crisis. A crisis that has left them helpless and in vain. A crisis, indecipherable to the privileged has left a magnanimous effect on the underprivileged that not everyone knows intricately.
Since the first lockdown was announced, the Government of India has been facing a lot of flak on the mismanagement of assistance of the daily wage labourers and the destitute. With no concrete plan etched neither on their safe return to respective abodes nor their daily food needs taken care of; only limited to paperwork, it irked netizens on a large scale. No emphasis given to them in any of the PM’s speeches, raised serious questions. Questions about priority and emphasis; questions on right to live and equality. Questions on weighing lives with the same weight of morality. The mirror of social privilege never was so crystal clear as much as it has been now.
In the hindsight, a lot of people praised the Prime Minister and showed full support to his acts of ghanti bajana and diya lagana. Though the purpose of this apparently was an ode to the medical help workers but did it really boost their morales?
When there have been multiple reports of doctors being silenced when addressing their grievances about the unavailability of PPE’s and exposing loopholes in existing healthcare facilities, we need to ponder upon what is being projected and how. Boosting morales to disguise sinister reality or really being moral?
Noblesse oblige, a term that reminds us of our accountability and responsibility; it is a French expression used in English which means that nobility extends beyond mere entitlements and requires the person who holds such a status to fulfil social responsibilities. And its renaissance is essential in the present scenario.
As responsible citizens we need to question; a question for not just ourselves but for those who can’t. Entangled in the existential crisis, the impoverished can do nothing but only take knee-jerk reactions perhaps because their sustenance is threatened and don’t enjoy our privileges-privilege of availability of grain and water, the privilege of paying bills, the privilege of WFH, the privilege of being privileged. To question the government on its provision of weapons to the warriors on the land of war-medical health workers. Where every tick of the clock corresponds to their battle against the coronavirus and jumping into the well of death to bring out those afflicted with it. We have to question it all.
Assisting the destitute on a personal level is noble and essential but this is just one side of the coin. On the other side, we also have to see what those in the authority have been actually doing to help them who continue to face the consequences nakedly. Pertinent questions should be raised about how the taxes have been used by the government and the priority of its allotment.
If the missiles and buildings and the exhaustive list of illegal migrants find immediate sanctions in terms of finance and consensus, then why is it that the PM of the country desperately asks for donations when it comes to the health of the people of the country? Was public health never a priority? Something to ponder upon.
Appreciation of good policies is a must but it should not hinder criticism and cross-questioning of those in power.
Our responsibility doesn’t end with inked fingers but is beyond that.
As responsible citizens, it is essential to observe policies and situations with an unbiased lens-a lens that does not harm or endanger anyone and promotes harmony amongst all-irrespective of caste, faith, gender, economic and financial status. To be blinded with love for leaders and religion will do only harm in the long run. And this is very much to say in the recent Islamophobia that followed after the Tablighi Jamaat case which has caused sheer disharmony in society resulting in harassment of Muslims countrywide all because of irresponsible circulation of fake news by various notable media houses. The inaction of the government by keeping mum on such issues is eerie.
Question because you can afford to. Read, because you are literate. Do not deny and accept blindly; you owe the society by virtue of your privileges.
View with an unbiased lens, the lens of equality, growth, and care for everyone as a whole. Seek for the truth. Noblesse oblige is upon you. To defy it shall mean killing the ethics of humanity.