India has been riding high not only in its agricultural success story and food sufficiency ( even surplus), but the recent COVID crisis has also placed India on a high tide of reliance for life saving drugs on the universal map despite its sub optimal health infrastructure and expenditure. On April 24, 2020, the Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi, while addressing on the Panchayati Raj day also stressed upon the self-reliance that this crisis has taught us. Where macro self-reliance is a national, state and district agenda, micro self-reliance is a personal agenda.
The present crisis has taught each one of us , the hard way, self-reliance, perseverance and resilience. We must not let the teaching moment lose momentum now. Instead of going to old ways of life and living , we must embrace the new reality and persevere for self-reliance in micro and macro life. From interdependence to independence and from imposed discipline to self-discipline, the majority of us have demonstrated evolution and adaptation that only a culture with strong roots can nurture. From baking our breads to making masks at home and doing the household chores, the typical middle class family made a strong case in favour of self-reliance.
We must not let the teaching moment lose momentum now. Instead of going to old ways of life and living , we must embrace the new reality and persevere for self-reliance in micro and macro life.
The stretch of activities that we performed and needs that we fulfilled in a very resilient manner during the locked down time can be a good starting point to anchor self-reliance for future. Technologically handicapped baby boomer and gen X exhibited increased self-reliance by using digital transactions and the all pervasive number-challenged generations navigated esoteric graphs to comprehend information in a new-to-the-world -situation. Taking the case of self-reliance forward I urge my fellow beings to consider some thoughts on personal level self-reliance and how we can all also contribute to national self-reliance in several facets of life after the imposed restriction is relaxed.
We all appreciate that whenever the lockdown is lifted, irrespective of date, it will not take away with it either the virus or the virality of virus or the danger lurking at every suspended droplet in the atmosphere, overnight. Here is where once again the onus will be on individuals to not only continue relying on self for safety and protection but also contributing our bit to social advocacy and national support by imposing minimum burden on already challenged national health system. The time is also ripe to start backing home-industries that showed solidarity either overtly by contribution and donation or by covert support of local kirana shops fulfilling daily needs.
It is also time to acknowledge, appreciate and advocate state run services like healthcare, police, civil society and other grass root level local administration and governance ministry and spare them from undue ridiculing and comparison with the shiny and glossy private sector that has the liberty to offer discretionary services in times of need. It is time to be genuinely humble and serious about ‘Make in India’, ‘Buy in India’, and ‘Spend in India’ . Practicing these in action can be our small “thank you” to what the governance has been able to achieve for a country as mammoth and diverse like India.
Having said that, let it also be a clarion call for the public sector to let not the new found faith and sheen in the state offered service, retrograde and use this crisis intelligently, for maintaining the momentum and reputation in good times too.