Jyoti Kumar Paswan’s 1200 km journey is not at all an ordinary one. As one shall read the news, the details of the event will shock anyone to the core. This journey is full of hard challenges, challenges which are unimaginable.
The COVID-19 crisis has shook the entire world and the cases in many world nations are still on an exponential rise where India is one of those. India deployed its first lock-down on 24th of March and from then, many measures have been taken up by the government to control the spread of the virus. “People over economy” was the motto from the beginning itself. But who knew that even after two full months, the situation will still remain out of hand. I will not be discussing any numbers here, but for your information, the situation in the country is still grim.
India consists majority of the population under un-organized sector where today, small businesses, migrant laborers, daily wage workers were destined to suffer because of the implementation of strict measures all across. Its not about the economy rising or falling cause they were even suffering when the economy was in a good condition as they only depended upon two meals a day and some form of shelter on their head. They don’t need a multi-trillion economy just for their survival. A few weeks ago they were totally displaced and stranded to figure out their own means of survival. But alas, many just aren’t able to handle the pressure and as a result, hundreds and thousands are going to lose their lives.
Tough decisions by the government had to be taken and amidst this, many were, are and will get trampled. The plan was to design packages to reach every poor with basic food. But it couldn’t succeed beyond a certain point, after all we are the second most densely populated country on the planet. This is sad, frightening and makes one think that where we as humans are heading towards? All this progress, economic development and statistical calculations for a better world are for whom? For the rich or for the poor?
Can you even imagine a 15 year old girl taking the responsibility to ride 1200 km for straight 8 days with no guarantee of food, water and ultimately no money left, her ailing father back home? This is the reality we are living in. On one side we privileged are complaining about the mundane Work From Home tasks, bore-dome and mental pressures, where I understand that there is a fear among us all about the virus and the surrounding implications, but there’s this other side where these migrant laborers are crossing gigantic distances on foot or on some broken bicycles, risking their lives in a hope to somehow survive.
This brings up a few important questions : Why this huge gap in the first place? Why is it that 95% of the wealth is in the hands of just about 5% of the people? is this what capitalism ultimately stands for that without making someone poor one cannot become rich? Is this what we were destined to become like? Is this life? I’m sure many of us don’t have answers to these questions, not because there aren’t but we are protected in our own cocoons and left ignorant about such issues and yes its a fact of shame.
This post is not to convey any moral science or written to sympathize with those in need cause they really don’t need it, rather it is written to raise a few questions and get that reality out in front of all. After this pandemic is over, I hope that the outlook will change. There is an urgent need to fix a lot of things. New definitions of progress, economic development and happiness are needed to be defined to ensure that we as a species will ultimately better thrive.