Opinion: As A Country, We Need To Switch From Reactive To Proactive Ways Of Dealing With Issues Of National, Global Importance

Image Credits: The Indian Express

Opinion: "As A Country, We Need To Switch From Reactive To Proactive Ways Of Dealing With Issues Of National, Global Importance"

In India, the second wave of COVID showed us that volunteering to save lives has taken precedence over most day jobs. Across the country, people across age groups have come together to ensure that resources are available to those in need. While this is highly relevant for the time being, we need to ask ourselves: Is this sustainable in the long run?

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Last week, I spoke to a friend about the ongoing pandemic scenario and how most of our friends support people who need help. During this whole conversation, the thing which hit me the most was, she said, "Yaar, there was a lockdown and pandemic last year too, but it didn't affect me much the way this lockdown or the pandemic is affecting." This is because so many people are going through misery. So many people are dying due to lack of one or another thing.

I replied immediately that "Last year, we were too involved in playing Ludo, making dalgona coffee, sharing stupid videos to realize that 30 Million people were walking towards their home without any help from the state or any institution and fellow countrymen."

Many of us believe in Karma. If you do something good to someone, it will come back to you in one form or another. But, unfortunately, I think the same is happening with us. The kind ignorance we showed towards all the people walking back to their homes invited a lot of bad will, and now everyone is suffering(March-April-May' 21).

I know many people did excellent relief work last year when an illogical decision made 30 Million people walk back to their homes with zero help from the state. The long walk towards home itself became a huge event. Many NGOs, youth groups, and socially inclined people poured in with all the help, making it a widespread, ongoing festival. Like Diwali or any other big festival in India, social media was full of posts claiming how they helped the people who needed help.

And when I look back, I think many of us just cashed the situation, nothing else. A Bollywood celebrity successfully overshadowed the Government's lack of efforts. This was a win-win situation for both parties. That celebrity overnight became a messiah. The Government was spared from the public's wrath(There is hardly any these days. But, yes, I still believe people can do that).

A well-respected person from Maharashtra mentioned my name in one of the mail chains (it consisted of many people involved in relief work in Maharashtra) that I was doing excellent relief work. In reply to it, I wrote a 500-word response about how all these efforts are fruitless and serve no purpose apart from some fame and subsequent chest-thumping(Not a general statement, there are always a few exceptions). But then I deleted everything and just replied, "I am not involved in any kind of relief work, and I don't want to get involved too". Yes, I did some coordination and stuff, but I was reluctant to get involved in it. And I have my reasons not to do so.

Last week, one of the BCCI cricketers donated 2 crore rupees and managed to raise another 7 crores rupees within a day through a crowdfunding campaign. All these donations, help, relief work are equally important, and sometimes it becomes the need of an hour too (looking at the current scenario). But the bigger question is why we don't want to address the elephant in the room? Yesterday NGOs were doing relief work, today Virat Kohli and other celebrities are raising funds, tomorrow there will be someone new doing something new, and this cycle will get repeated forever.

In other words, it's just one event followed by another, which is again followed by another event, and that's where we are losing everything and learning nothing. Providing food to people, making arrangements for people to walk back, and ensuring people are getting hospitals, medicines, and other facilities is not our job. We as a nation have full-time, fully functional, democratically elected Governments at the central level and on the state level. Also, we pay direct and indirect taxes to the Government through various forms to take care of these mentioned things.

As an individual, to make a living, I can do whatever I want, be it playing professional cricket, working in a software company, or anything of my choice. Because it is my choice, and I have willingly signed up for it. But, none of us has ever signed up for the aftermath of the idiotic decision the state is taking.

In India, the second wave of COVID showed us that volunteering to save lives has taken precedence over most day jobs. Across the country, people across age groups have come together to ensure that resources are available to those in need. While this is highly relevant for the time being, we need to ask ourselves: Is this sustainable in the long run?

Most of us know that the third wave of COVID in the country is impending. Did the effort of the volunteers spur any action in terms of the health infrastructure getting boosted in the country? Are we adequately prepared to face a third wave of the pandemic? These are questions that need to be answered. Only then can we effectively as a country move forward from a place where we are being reactive to a pandemic to a place where we are preparing proactively to abate its devastating effect.

As a country, this switch from reactive to proactive ways of dealing with issues of global and national importance is critical for us to move on from a model of moving from one event to another to a more holistic way of looking at issues of national importance. The idea is to not wait till a problem escalates to become an emergency but to understand and put relevant systems in place that ensures that we as a nation can put up a unified front against the all-encompassing virus that COVID is proving to be.

So, why did we choose to help those walking back homes instead of holding the Government responsible for it? Why didn't we ask the Government about the shortage of medical facilities and instead choose to become the saviour? Why did a cricketer like Virat Kohli raise funds when the Government spends our hard-earned money on extravaganza? Why do celebrities always prefer to raise money instead of asking the right question to the Government? With the kind of fan following and influence, they have in our god-making society, they can do lease a new life to our nation. Is it our job to jump in the driving seat whenever there is an emergency?

Because we certainly lack spine, we undoubtedly cant take a stand and hold the individuals accountable for their deeds. Many of us don't even think of such lengths, but we have to if we want to make sustainable progress. Our temporary deeds of heroism and fame are halting sustainable development, always shielding the failure of the Government. It also instills a belief that an event has a much more significant impact than a process. It's like putting a bandage on a broken bone when you need a plaster. It's not just about the COVID, this phenomenon of keeping the issue alive while milking it to make money and fame is pretty standard across domains.

If we do not rise above this culture of solving issues for the time being and start holding the Government responsible by asking the right questions. In that case, we are heading towards a democratic disaster inch by inch.

Also Read: Union Minister Dr Bhagwat Karad Helps Fellow Passenger Mid-Flight, Earns Praises From PM Modi

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Creatives : Palak Agrawal