Hiding behind the mask

We are now living in a masked world. Corona pandemic has made mask a cosmopolitan commodity. Surely and scientifically, the mask is helpful in controlling the spread of the virus.

As the saying goes, face is the index of mind. The mask is definitely putting a cover on what surfaces on the faces of the wearer galvanized by the mental processes and pressures from within. It is a curious adventure to unveil the masked faces to inch closer in knowing and understanding the complex grid of masked population.

From a psycho-social context there are a diverse set of faces, the mask has covered by chance or by compulsion. Apparently, the sea of masked population appears to be quite analogous as the pandemic has dressed people like a common uniform. What is behind the mask and who is behind the mask is not only interesting but is also invariably diverse across the length and breadth of the world.

For the medical professionals, the mask covers the bruise marks of untiring and unflinching efforts of doctors and paramedics to save the lives of patients as they are serving in most difficult and challenging circumstances. 

For those affected and battling the disease, the mask is covering the face of those hopeful souls struggling for survival. And the majority of people who are caged indoors, cloud of fear has masked them with gloom and despair.

The world powers, fueling factories of conflict and war have reduced the world to a free market of arms and ammunition. Flexing the military muscle, the mask is hiding their shameful faces that used to reflect arrogance of their inflated egos.

For the capitalist the mask is covering a greedy man desperate to latch his hands on the opportunities for accumulating more wealth. The global inequality of wealth is a bye-product of the greed of few capitalists at the cost of hijacking the needs of millions of the poor adding to their miseries and misfortune. While the lockdown has halted the global supply chain, capitalists are eager to hold the reigns of economy with desperation.

For the politician, mask has pushed the captive audience at a distance disallowing the dispensation of rhetoric manifesto. These impulsive and automatic loudspeakers not only feel choked and breathless but feel out of business as the blow of social distancing has disappeared the crowds altogether.     

The news manufacturing media, with the robotic anchors are masking the actual realities and churning propaganda of hate and hypocrisy to exponentially spike their TRP. Thanks to the might of this mask, the real faces of such hate mongers are brazenly unmasked.

Some are hell bent to dig out religion and religiosity beneath the mask while some are leaving no stone unturned to discover reason and rationality. The communal bigots eye for selling their hateful anecdote while the scientists are in pursuit of finding the antidote to fight the contagion.

For the poets, the mask has personified the corona pandemic in their creative and imaginative expressions as can be exemplified in these lines. The world is closed in a pandemic bag, mask has become the global flag. Due to corona scare, romance seems self-isolated and subjected to indefinite quarantine. 

For the students the mask has shielded the desire to enjoy learning and the warm company of their school mates. The present trial and error e-learning initiatives may have informed them a little but definitely students are missing the love and care of a teacher who inspires the most.

For a common man, the mask is hiding the aspiration of a mask-less tomorrow to resume the routine ways of day to day activities to make both ends meet. It is this very lot that has been pushed to wall and that truly represents the majority of the world. The fulfillment of their aspiration is equivalent to ensure survival.

Let us wait and watch how soon this dynamic power play of the mask will end. Let us hope the post-pandemic world to unmask all forms of delusion and make this planet a better and a safer place to live for all.

Bilal Kaloo is Assistant Professor, Department of Education, University of Kashmir