Pandemic Stories: The Lockdown Pandemonium4 min read

The lockdown announced to beat the wrath of COVID-19 pandemic has left a deep gorge in the life of every unsaid person in the world. We would all recognise that as ‘pre lockdown’ and the ‘post lockdown’ days for the rest of our lives. The lockdown was not just the steep transition we had in our life during the crisis but all the unforeseen challenges that will have to be won through. To many, it is like going through a broken dream, living along with an unfulfilled wish and to some, it is deterioration of living standards due to social isolation and financial cessation. I see many people depressed, worried about tomorrow and gaping to grab on at any available job for their survival. 

A similar situation transpired during globalisation in the nineties but didn’t touch upon the lives of the privileged class. All the issues of the underprivileged communities were hushed up and only the benefits of the trade agreements were discussed. The soulful experiences and the financial setbacks that the underprivileged were tactfully kept out of the discussion. In recent times, in India demonetization created a similar economic standstill but wasn’t strong enough to loop in the entire society into the swirl. The public was not united and the gullible couldn’t even protest but silently face the forfeiture.

Every time I discuss sustainability issues with children, I have expressed the probability of a collapse of the system on a global scale. My readings of King Hubbert and Richard Hein berg, who first proposed the theory about optimal production of fossil fuel and the consequent fall in its production said, will cause an economic slowdown leading to a collapse of the system. They called it Peak Oil and also showed that many countries were already through their peak production of oil. They also explained the relation between the burning of fossil fuel and the consequent global temperature rise and changing climate.

It is over half a century and the theories are proving themselves correct one after the other yet there is a vehement denial of facts by the political heads of the nation. Bankers are not ready to take the fact that energy, economic, and ecological issues are all connected to the climate crisis. Most world leaders funded by capitalist sponsors have kept on the bandwagon of climate denial and shamelessly invest in development projects curtailing funds for universities and research in alternates.

As though out of desperation I even quote Jarred Diamond who speaks about how civilizations come to an end if it didn’t respect the resource base upon which it was built upon. He suggests that the current civilization would collapse with the end of the fossil fuel era. As a curious creature, I wished it happened soon so that even I could witness the way our species reacts to the crisis. Imagine the day without fossil fuel- every human activity coming to a standstill. Strangely enough, the ‘denial barrons’ are showing a U-turn in their statements. Instead of asking people to spend more, they are asking common man to become self-reliant.  Coal-loving Adani group is turning their back to coal mining in order to push green energy! So the D day wouldn’t come any sooner.

However, this invisible Coronavirus is doing it. It has unleashed its blow upon every segment of the society. If you see the pattern of spread, the best beneficiaries of capitalism are worst hit. The village communities with subsistence economy and slower pace were spared.

To me as a naturalist, the virus was there and it somehow broke out. We, humans, facilitated it to go global within the quickest possible means. Had we not had a flying-lifestyle the outbreak wouldn’t have gone pandemic. We humans forgot that we were apes too; confronting the disease as a species. The outbreak which is more of a community-medical challenge was faced with blind faith instead of a scientific approach.

Instead of the virologists or the community health experts speaking and educating the masses we had the heads of nation and politicians instructing people through statements that were neither requests nor dictum. Our media resorted to spreading lies and hatred among the public making false claims through jingoism. The nation lost precious time in such spurious activities that led the community no were but to idle and suffocate indoors letting the economy fall into a deep abyss never to get up for a few decades.

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