Lessons from a lock down

File Photo: Aman Farooq/GK

Even as India grapples with the worst crisis it has faced in a long time, we need to continue learning lessons from the way the crisis struck and evolved, even as we fight it. Though the UT of J&K so far has not witnessed devastating and heartrending scenes as in other parts of the country, one cannot be complacent; nor can one remain reassured that it would not affect us in the way it has affected rest of the country.

Leaving aside the politics, the bitterness, and the criticism surrounding the current plight of the people, one thing remains certain. And that is a complete obliviousness to the facts were staring at us right before the crisis erupted in full swing. Complacency, after we had successfully evaded the apocalyptic scenarios projected for the country, is costing us high. All across the world the way the pandemic played out, all across the history the way other pandemics have played out was conveniently forgotten.

Blind faith in a rosy future, a belief perhaps in exceptionalism, a false bluster of self-esteem led all of us to believe that the virus had been defeated. Where does this unwarranted belief stem from? What is so exceptional about our people, our culture, our religion, our ethnicity or our region that makes us believe that we were immune to this virus.

Today our age old belief systems, our age old values, have dragged us to this stage. From being one of the pillars in the fight against the pandemic, we have suddenly turned into the worst victims needing help from all quarters.

Our beliefs, and our values stem from age-old cultural and religious practises. They may have been good for a certain age and a certain era. Today is an age that is changing so fast that even within a generation it is difficult for a human being to keep up with the pace. The only alternative in this age is to keep an open mind. A mind that is flexible, whose belief systems are constructed on the basis of observation, and are willingly discarded in the face of new facts.

Our tendency to stick to old beliefs and old values that have held us together, however, are now dragging us into the waters seeking to drown us. Thanks to science and technology the world has changed immensely. More importantly it keeps changing continuously. Unless our minds are free, or beliefs are based on facts, and we are equipped to handle the basic nature of observable truth, we would continue to wallow in the false sense of exceptionalism, of parochialism, and a sense of fake superiority.

We need to go to the roots and ask ourselves if indeed we are distinct, we are superior, we are victims, we are the aggrieved; and whether the sense of grievance and hurt that we continuously harbour is true, authentic, genuine and congruent to the flow of history in the subcontinent. Do we as a community seek to survive and prosper or do we want to flounder on the anvil of time imagining a past full of victimhood? Do we want to seize the day, completely aware of the true realities of our place in the mankind and ensure progress of our community?