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What Covid-19 will change about us | Opinion – analysis


Each crisis changes us, as individuals and as a society. The coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) will also. It is too early to make definitive predictions, but the first days of the national closure have given us some pointers. Here are 10 thoughts on what you can potentially change.

One, this experience is changing the way we pray and worship. Sunday morning I would have found myself infallibly in church. However, for two Sundays I am now lost, as advised by the bishops of all India. I am praying at home, “doing church” at home. This is the period of Lent, prior to Easter Sunday. In a season of enormous religious importance to Christians, I am not part of a congregation. Countless people share my loneliness: Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists. Faith is common. Will worship become individual?

Two, many of us are beginning to appreciate and distinguish serious journalists from regular motorcycles, those who sit in television studios, and these days, in cozy lounges, and hang on in front of a camera or with tweets they don’t have. real relevance. lifetime. There is a greater respect for journalists on the ground. We need less pompous experts. We need more of those who are diligently conveying the facts as they unfold, especially the troubled scenes on the Delhi border; those who walk with migrant families and tell their stories with feeling.

Three, how do we see health professionals and doctors? In normal times, we can be critical of long waiting lines and costs. Today, we value our healthcare professionals as front-line warriors. Yes, there have been unfortunate incidents of violence against doctors, by some police, or by ignorant neighbors. But overall, doctors and nurses are our favorite people today. We should not forget them and their needs when this is over.

Four, how much do we spend on public health? It has fans. In a country of 1.3 billion people, there are only 40,000 fans, and only 8,500 of these are in government or public facilities. The rest are in private hospitals. This is not sustainable. Public health specialists are getting their time in the sun; I am confident that your warnings will lead to something more lasting. Journalists in the health field tell me that they are now being taken more seriously.

Five, Indian federalism is getting stronger. State governments and chief ministers are being put to the test and, through party lines, are acting. State governments as distant as West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi and Punjab rise to the challenge of the blockade. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to her counterparts in 18 states seeking coordination.

Six, how do we judge our public representatives? Leading by example is being receptive and determined. The most critical thing has been taking home the message of social distancing. A senior minister walking in a local bazaar, while drawing circles on the road with white chalk, to show how people should stay away from each other, was powerful communication.

Seven, we are coming together as families. Four or five people locked themselves in a flat, forcing themselves to interact and participate several times a day; every family is dealing with this. Children are doing online classes, parents work from home. Everyone gathers for lunch, which is far from normal, but welcome. Families are playing board games when they can. For those who don’t have to worry about where their next meal will come from, this period can be fun and rewarding. I hope some of this survives the closure.

Eight, we are learning about the hard life and tremendous value of our guest workers. According to the 2011 census, 453 million Indians, 37% of the population, are internal migrants. Of these, around 10%, or 45 million, migrate for work and employment. Thirty million among this group are men, and almost all of them are part of the unorganized sector. Twenty million migrants come from just two states: Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Ten million migrants go to just two cities: Delhi and Mumbai.

The heartbreaking images of migrant workers suddenly out of work and trying to get home, trying to walk impossible distances of up to hundreds of kilometers, have rocked our collective consciousness. These guest workers are a treasure; Without them, our urban economy will collapse. This crisis must awaken us to their needs and vulnerabilities. Each host state owes them a lot.

Nine, in the time of Covid-19 and the running of the bulls, perceptions of charity and good have changed. Charity is no longer about signing a check for a worthy cause, but an abstract one. Charity is now much more do it yourself. Organize food for the daily bets that live in a nearby slum, buy more than you need at your neighborhood grocery store just to make sure the store owner has a working capital breather. It is really simple.

Finally, there is a changing notion of privacy. Mobile phone signals are used to track those who are quarantined at home. Three months ago, this would have started a debate on privacy. Today, it is accepted as inevitable. The phone numbers, addresses and passport details of 722 Delhi residents, recently returned from abroad, were made public on WhatsApp.

The list included a one-year-old boy. In the midst of crisis, we can ignore all this. After it ends, we need to calculate the cost-benefit ratio of privacy breaches.

Derek O’Brien is the Parliamentary Leader of the Trinamool Congress in Rajya Sabha

The opinions expressed are personal.

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