Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Lack of compassion in society, insensitivity and blaming the 'other' syndrome in India: Sufferings on the Streets during lock down for Coronavirus

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

*That's our society--teenaged girl took father on cycle from Delhi to Bihar--1200 kms. And we're not ashamed, we praise resilience of poor.

*Its a superhuman act, no one would like to do it, but was forced to do it. Where was state? Passed through dozens of distts, no admin comes to help.

*When poor who can't Tweet to officials, reach Rly stations or bus stands in extreme heat, stand for hours or walk with kids, TV shows footage & anchors yell--'is bheed ko dekhiye'.

*Create perception that they'll spread infections. Lakhs who came from foreign were never blamed.
*We won't even let our kid walk 1 km in this scorching heat, but can praise poor for dragging up to 1,000-1,200 kms.

*This is our morality. This is our society. Find a word for this level of hypocrisy, anti-poor policies and that no one is ever held responsible Why there is such a lack of compassion in Indian society towards the plight of poor.

In fact, the level of apathy in majority community, even when it comes to 'their own' poor! It is a 'vocal class'--upper and middle class that sets the agenda. But this 'vocal class'--opinion makers due to its hold over media, cares little for labourers, poor, the other.

But if vocal class creates a problem, it still feels they are victims, will find someone to blame for any crisis. Sorry but this observation comes from a long and harsh experience. It stands always, until it is a 'Hindu Vs Muslim' thing.

No one would be able to go home during  lockd own in the times of Coronavirus but students from Kota will be taken, of course. Air travellers will not be blamed for spreading Coronavirus but restrictions imposed on domestic helps who get the infection from employers!

However, much later if labourers walk hundreds of miles, they are provided no facilities and even there will be debates over whether buses or trains should be run to take these labourers to other states!

A 13-year-old girl who takes her father on cycle from Delhi to Bihar, is hailed for courage. But that's the story of failure of this civilization. The society, the administration, brought them to this stage. Those stranded in other countries will be brought because 'international image' matters.

And, because rich 'deserve better'. However, poor will be made to suffer and then you get away, escape responsibility with just praise about their resilience. And, this always happens, it is not just during the lockdown.

If there are incidents of rapes, instantly and shamelessly blame 'poor', if there is crime, blame own 'slum dwellers' those whose women come to your comes to work, Biharis, others. Muslims are 'other', so blaming them is understood.

Air travellers brought Corona, govt failed-mismanaged, but no one blamed them. You blame Tablighis instead. It is understandable because Muslims are the permanent 'other'. But tomorrow you'll blame migrant labourers and all the poor who already suffered for months due to the virus brought from foreign countries.

This has already begun. People saying how 'these labourers' going to villages will take virus with them. Shouldn't govt have dealt it in a better way. It didn't take seriously for 45 days, after first patient. There was poor screening at airports but the rich can't be blamed.

You've power, dozens of channels, constant anti-Muslim rhetoric and will always find a way to blame Muslims. This will continue for many years, we know this too. But when this treatment is meted to 'your own'.

Seeing the plight of poor on highways and the level of sufferings, even then you can't speak truth to power or try to be compassionate, what remains to be said. There is definitely a lot that is wrong with this society.