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One thing that we need to remember is that Economy can always revive with a reconstruction program in hand but lost lives can never be revived!
Quite recently all of us saw those endless serpentine lines thronging the liquor shops, well it just made me wonder about all the patience that underwent in the phase one & phase two of the lock down.
All over the world, India’s stand on the lock down was appreciated, it was said that India was quite ahead of many countries in imposing the lock down. The Prime Minister of India was hailed even by his most passionate critiques for this step. Amartaya Sen applauded the Prime Minister of India saying he was ahead of many other leaders in imposing the lock down. Personally I felt that Prime Minister of this country was more concerned about preserving & protecting the lives of his citizens unlike his counterpart in the U.S.A.
In Uttar Pradesh the work of Yogi Adityanath captured everyone’s attention due to his sheer commitment to his cause & his iron will that did to a great extent curbed the rising number of cases. We saw yogi in his full form, holding meetings and inspecting community kitchens on his own. Yogi did emerge as a strong saviour, who even skipped his father’s funeral due to his commitment to the people of Uttar Pradesh. He did redefined CMship, reaching out to the people and spending sleepless nights, holding meetings & working almost on a 24/7 basis.
While we were being urged to maintain patience & discipline in the first two phases of lock down, what happened suddenly? Why was there a knee jerk reaction on the part of the government? I do understand that caring for the poor does puts a pressure on the already strained social security schemes of the government of India. Nevertheless, such a step when the whole nation is reeling under the pandemic & the only prevention in the absence of vaccination is social distancing, the steps to open liquor shops in a country like India where the drinking habits of majority of people is problematic is completely uncalled for.
This step was nothing but playing with the lives of people, especially innocent women & children because those who stood in the line violating all the norms of social distancing would have gone back home where the chances of infection to the women & children of the family increases manifold. The data & the sheer increase in the number just a day after speaks volumes about the unplanned decision of the government of India.
I do understand that in a country like India with one of the highest populations in the world, accompanied with immense amount of disparity of income this pandemic becomes little tricky to tackle. But as a citizen of this country we do expect a planned exit from lock down, we do expect the government to form a committee of experienced economists who can suggest measures of economic revivalism post lock down and not just open liquor shops for the sake of its revenue reserves & look out for better options.
I do believe that in the post-colonial India nobody paid heed to the labourers, agriculturists & the villages. The post-colonial India saw migration in search of jobs, migration for livelihoods, migration for dignity therefore a migration to break away from the caste ridden society of rural India. Rural India often lacked the necessary infrastructure, proper system of health, education & occupation hence large scale economic & social ramifications gripped the villages & nothing changed at the ground level.
March 2020 saw a surge in complaints on domestic violence & abuse. Alcoholism & substance abuse have always been the greatest perils for women & children within the four walls of their homes & have enhanced their vulnerabilities manifold. In a country like India where drinking habits are problematic & where big egos of patriarchal men gets hurt on petty issues, imagine the amount of damage their egos will cause under the influence of alcohol where frustrations are rising & where women & children have nowhere to go but to stay at the mercy of their abuser at home, making them all the more vulnerable in this lock down.
I just want to emphasize a very emotional point here that the people of India have imposed a lot of faith in the present government & that it did well in the first two phases of lock downs. However the recent decision to open liquor shops amidst the pandemic & rising number of cases might just cost many more lives of innocent men, women & children. One thing that we need to remember is that Economy can always revive with a reconstruction program in hand but lost lives can never be revived!
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