Today’s world remains deeply unfair. In all societies, long-standing forms of inequality persist while gaps are opening in new aspects of life. The economic gaps have continued to grow as the very richest have amassed unprecedented levels of wealth. In a complex global economy the space for inclusive policies have been squeezed at all political levels. The policy decisions of the last decades have created structural advantages for global companies and corporate giants that are hollowing out democratic institutions, all at the expenses of ordinary people.
We have been boasting of our science, technology, military and weapon power. Every country has been spending enormous amount of money for procuring arms, weapons and nuclear power. Our human pride, our imagined self-importance, status and money power, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe now is being challenged by a tiny, unseen and deadly virus.
All these years, human beings ruled over the animals, birds and insects that were caged in the zoos. Sadly, today the human beings are caged and forced to remain indoors. The animals, birds and insects look at the caged human beings and seem to laugh at them. What a shameful situation for the human beings!
In the process of ‘artificial development’ human beings forgot that they were almost dust particles in the vast universe. Hence they wanted to conquer the whole world for which they ran, flew and roamed everywhere, including visit to other planets. But today the fear of a small virus has made the human beings realize that they are in no way better than the animals, birds, insects, trees, mountains, rivers and seas that enjoy a great freedom.
Human beings converted Gods (worshipped by different religions) into commercial commodities and transacted business in almost all the worship places. Today the doors of all the worship places are shut for human beings. However, the elephants and holy cows are safe inside the temples. Is it not a shameful situation for the human beings?
Today people say that the world has come to a standstill. Yet, the sun rises and sets as usual; rain falls as it wishes; the waves of the sea are quite enthusiastic. Waterfalls are lively. Deer are dancing; elephants walk around freely; rabbits are playing around; frogs are jumping repeatedly; fish of all varieties, including dolphins, feel safe and come till the seashores; birds of all varieties are flying freely in all directions of the vast sky; insects of all types move around everywhere without any hesitation. Most stray dogs used to venture out to the streets in the urban areas only between 10 pm and 6 am. Now they are out on the streets during the day and play around freely without any fear. Their ‘barking’ sounds like ‘mocking’. Have we not become worse than dogs?
Today skies have become cleaner as the air pollution has come down drastically. When the air has become pure now, we are forced to wear masks. What a tragedy! The water bodies – ponds, rivers, underground water, seas and oceans – are purer and less contaminated. The annoying honking noises of vehicles, ear-breaking loud music, shouting and yelling by people have been replaced with the birds chirping, trees waving, voices of insects and leaves rattling. Much needed space and time are given to the nature for the healing process. We have saved natural resources (water, minerals, forest etc.) and fuel (petrol/diesel). Multi-billion dollar worth human trafficking, flesh trade(prostitution), bars with liquor and dance, smuggling and other criminal activities have come to a complete halt. We have become self conscious about cleanliness and personal hygiene. We have realized that health is the real wealth and prevention is better than cure.
Pope Francis in his “Urbi et Orbi” on March 27 spoke in detail about our “erratic lifestyle.” For our selfish enjoyment we have plundered the nature and natural resources. We have deviated from the normal natural life. We have failed to live in harmony with nature. Our self-centered life was indeed a clear expression of our human pride.
Today one small tiny virus has pricked the human pride. It has challenged our science, technology, medical advancement, wealth, popularity, military, weapons and powerful positions. Countries have realised their foolishness of procuring dangerous weapons rather than creating holistic health care system with the required medical equipments that would save people during pandemic time. As a consequence of our wrong priorities we have lost and are losing millions of precious lives since we are not “fully capable” of saving them. Please remember that the coronavirus infected person has to be away from family, relatives and friends and die a ‘lonely death’ if he/she is not cured. Do we deserve this?
Today we are surrounded by darkness in all spheres of our life. The need of the hour is to make a paradigm shift – i.e. we must move…
Ø From the darkness of ignorance and various types of superstitious beliefs to scientific reasoning and living.
Ø From the darkness of our practices of feticide and infanticide to respect for life reflecting in pre-natal, natal and post-natal care.
Ø From the darkness of undernourishment/malnourishment of underprivileged children to a quality child care system.
Ø From the darkness of hunger and starvation deaths to improved and equal distribution of food.
Ø From the darkness of violence and atrocities of women to an era of real empowerment of women.
Ø From the darkness of illiteracy to an improved, rather 100 percent literacy level.
Ø From the darkness of poverty to economic empowerment of the economically backward communities.
Ø From the darkness of serious economic slowdown and its negative consequences to an improved and progressive economy.
Ø From the darkness of oppressive caste system to casteless and classless society.
Ø From the darkness of unemployment to improved livelihood options and job opportunities.
Ø From the darkness of all types of corruption to corruption-free socio-economic-political-religious system.
Ø From the darkness of religious fundamentalism and fanaticism to a secular society where the values of every religion will be upheld.
Ø From the darkness of commercialization of God and religions to true spirituality – seeing God in every human and nature.
Ø From the darkness of human trafficking to a life of safety, security and human dignity.
Ø From the darkness of robbery and smuggling to a life of honest living.
Ø From the darkness of smoking, alcohol consumption and drug addiction to healthy way of life.
Ø From the darkness of various types of human rights violation to dignified life.
Ø From the darkness of greed and illegal ways of accumulating wealth to the life of contentment.
Ø From the darkness of meaningless education system to problem-solving method of education that will enable students to become good and responsible citizens and persons of character.
Ø From the darkness of various diseases spread in our society and the ill-equipped medical system to an improved and quality health system.
Ø From the darkness of undemocratic power game at the political level to a clean, transparent and democratic political system that will produce enlightened leaders.
Ø From the darkness of self-centered life and its evil consequences to other-centered life of love, fellowship and service.
Ø From the darkness of environmental degradation to ecological balance and harmony with nature.
The spread of Covid-19 pandemic across the world has become a time for a collective examination. This ‘god-given opportunity’ must be used to examine all that we have done so far and discern the type of life we need to live in future. God is calling us for personal and social transformation. Shall we respond to this call?(Published on 13th April 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 16)