I normally prefer not to tread against popular opinion because in a highly democratic country like India, any opinion or thought that goes against the one favored by the majority will only draw ire and tirade.
But, now I feel I need to express this as I have been watching the scenario around me more specifically in India. Though the government and the philanthropists take immense care to keep the people fed and positive one cannot but wonder ‘how long this can go?’
Just watch the huge sardine of unruly mob, young and old migrant workers thronging the bus and railway stations to go to their native places especially from Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. When I have spoken to some of the young and middle aged who are doing nothing but menial jobs in Chennai, they have migrated not now, some of them even a decade or earlier. The reason is simple. There they have no way to earn even if you want to work. And the work here in the states I have mentioned above are mainly Real Estate, Restaurants and Shops. They said, they could earn something to sustain themselves and send some amount to their families over there. What a pity! A nation which never fails to boast about its culture, tradition, philosophy, equality and what not time immemorial, in many Northern states even getting a menial job is impossible. Should the government and the population feel proud of this? Shame.
In the initial phase of this giant shutdown, the public was advised to remain in the houses and not to come out. Though many managed to follow, most of them try to violate and move out only with or without purpose. Why we see huge unbearable crowds during festival days in bus and railway stations? Because all want to go and join their family. Now also, they want to do that only. Food or no food let us go and stay or die with our own family must be their feeling. ‘Family’, which is considered as a strength of India is now an asylum in an emergency.
The most thriving business of real estate in the south especially is because of the NRIs. Their dollars and dirhams are converted into flats and houses. Not just one but multiples of that. I know a gentle man who owns 18 houses and flats in Chennai itself with his earnings from abroad.
Similarly, the locals of TN hardly go for such labor. Their parents work and majority of the youngsters’ study in college. There is nothing wrong in that; the lower strata of the society need to be uplifted. I don’t say a barber’s son. should be a barber or a housemaid’s daughter should be one like her mother. But, in TN, the government provides several freebies to these people who just hold a ration card. They get rice, dhal, wheat and some more household items also free of cost. Those who get it are not exactly poor but they sell it to those guys who run the mess for such migrant workers which also I have heard. Does it not amount to exploitation of the poorest by the poorer? Well. I leave it to the judgment of the readers. Another one I have heard from an engineer who was in charge of a huge bridge constructed in Chennai some years back where he said that all the workers in the project were from the North and North Eastern zones! Not even one Tamil laborer! In another place a hotelier mentioned that they prefer to employ the migrant workers because they come for a lesser salary and work for even 12 hours while the natives demand more for just working for 8 hours! Do you call it exploitation or business technique?
In the total chaos of Covid19 melee, many of the psychiatrists, intellectuals and artists became active and started advising those in quarantine to engage themselves in their passions like music, dance and reading or writing and what not in addition to dance, interact, play and come closer to the children and other family members.
Wait! How to come closer? The main advice to avoid Covid19 is to distance oneself from the other person with a minimum distance of 3 meters or so! So one cannot go near their own father, mother or children and touch or hug or play with them. In addition, they, sorry we are not supposed to touch our faces by any chance! Oh, I forgot; are we not supposed to wash our hands quite frequently with an antiseptic soap or hand wash for not less than 20 seconds? In Chennai, water is the next expensive thing to Gold! Do we have enough water to indulge in such extravaganza?
The other thing is some of the popular personalities sing, dance and speak for the occasion exclusively and share it with everyone via social media! Good. We can listen and enjoy once, twice, thrice and even n number of times. But, will that solve the basic problems of not getting the essentials and the daily wagers not getting one rupee to buy or eat something? So all those who are on daily wages have been turned into beggars and run from one free food serving station to another!
Where is the time to hear and enjoy art or culture? Some may say that even in Thirukkural, it is mentioned that one should think of food only when he had nothing to hear or learn something! May be. During his time, probably, the population might have been living in affluence yet not patronizing the arts or music! But, today, and that too during the terrifying attack of a pandemic, does such a situation exist?
The major problem of India is her humongous population of 139 crores. No other nation in the universe can boast of such ginormous manpower. It also shows that even ‘nectar’ can turn ‘poison’ when crossed the limits! This population seems to be spiking every year with substantial numbers. No government or no politician or no intellectual or no popular personality is ready to utter even one word about this. The reason is obvious. As long as India celebrates family and its lineage this cannot be spoken about. It can be seen here if you look at it objectively how ‘a strength’ turns into a ‘weakness’.
Most of the rich and fairly affluent do what? They earn more and more and hoard for their progenies to lead a life of comfort and luxury. The other day, my affluent cousin mentioned that they have bought four big houses thinking that their children abroad would come and settle in India. But, the fact being one is settled in UK and another in USA. The enormous freedom in the name of democracy, unbridled liberty to expand the family and wealth, media which support the public view however worst they are to keep their channels and magazines reap the benefits, sadhus and religious leaders keep chanting the greatness of marriage and family and children, every political party aspire to get into power with a single mind of increasing their vote bank and only to be corrupt and promote bribing and corruption in all possible ways, favoritism and nepotism at their best, India and its population have to go through these ordeals. But, unfortunately we Indians are not scared of this population explosion pandemic at all. We consider it as a boon.
First let every Indian and a party or religious leader advise strongly against population explosion and suggest ways and means to follow! Sex, I agree is an integral and indispensable part of human life but children are not. If the present younger lot and millennials, consider it as a sacrifice for their motherland let them do it. Even assuming the seriousness of population explosion and try to respond it may take another one or two decades for this country to become fully developed or disciplined!
I know my views will definitely bound to draw flaks and criticism as I have mentioned in the opening of my article. But, Truth is always Bitter.