Lockdown and its impacts on the society

Samuel Nehminthang Haokip *

 Bishnupur Bazar as seen during Lockdown :: April 05 2020
Bishnupur Bazar as seen during Lockdown on April 05 2020 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam

It's hard to STAY HOME when you don't have a HOUSE and it's hard to STAY SAFE when you don't have a ROOFABOVEU. Karl Marx spoke on his ideology of classless society where equilibrium rise between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat in the society, was that so??? Nevertheless, it is un-doubtful that Covid-19 has successfully accomplished Marxian utopian ideology.

Impacts on Society

Ever since the breakdown of the Covid-19, many countries has adopted lockdown procedures that has hamper people's lifestyle in different approach. India is underway with its 5th Phase of lockdown with the 1st phase starting from 25th March 2020 to contain the spread of corona virus outbreak in the country.

The nationwide lockdown system has enforce people from stepping out of their homes, suspension of educational training, research institution, closure of worship places along with prohibition of all social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural as well as religious activities.

The lockdown exemption has shifted over time depending with the rise and fall of the cases across the country. This article provides an overview impact of lockdown on society as a whole.

Positive impacts.

Family Quality Time: It is family that matters above everything and a perfect gift from God. Lockdown has given a great opportunity for families to cherished and spend quality time together. It has given more time to discuss on family matters rather than personal. It enhances teamwork in doing home chores from sweeping, washing clothes, etc. Family unites have become closer than ever during lockdown which was lost due to hassle and bustle of human lifestyles.

Human Realization: Lockdown and social distancing has reminded us the important values of human relationships when people were connected socially and divided digitally prior lockdown period. The system has utterly altered human's lifestyle to connect digitally and divide socially. This has eventually led to the rise in virtual world model such as virtual church service, virtual worship, virtual political rally, virtual class, virtual concerts, etc.

Khankho: A Kuki word meaning "selfless sacrifice" related to humanitarian service. It is the base, guide and the vision of the indigenous Kuki people. A community born with and guided by Khankho have responded to the pandemic sacrificially. Lockdown has manifested the significance and beauty of creation interdependence. A number of humanitarian services ranging from Church level, NGO's, Community level, etc. are pouring out across the country since the inception of lockdown in helping the frontliners as well as the poor and the marginalized section of the community.

Platform for Learning: Lockdown has also created an opportunity to learnt and adapt with new forms of lifestyles. People start learning new skills ranging from Cooking, Music, photography, knitting, etc.

Environment: Apart from societal impact, it is also the nature and the environment that has drastically improved with the imposition of lockdown procedures in the country. With strict vigilance from the Government in ensuring its citizens to stay home, the nature eventually gets its opportunity of rejuvenating itself which human globalization has destruction on natural ecosystem.

a] Air Quality: With few vehicles plying on the road and all the transport sector at halt, the nationwide lockdown has a stunning effects on the air pollution level. The national capital, Delhi as one of the polluted cities in the world have reported reductions in air pollution. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has reported 46% reduction in PM2.5 levels and 50% depletion in PM10 concentrations in the national capital during lockdown period.

b] Water Quality: With the reduction of industries activities, the water quality across the country has improved significantly. The water quality of the river Ganga, the most polluted with a major religious significant for the Hindus across the country has improved with increase in dissolved oxygen (DO) from 3.8 ML/L on March 6 to 6.8 ML/L on April 4 and reduced nitrate concentration.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) analysis of pollution loads in Ganga pre-lockdown(March 15-21) and lockdown (March 22-April 15) period showed that Ganga water was found suitable for bathing at most monitoring centers and can support aquatic life.

Negative impacts.

Education backdrop & Digital Divide: With lockdown being imposed for more than a couple of months, 320 million students have been affected with the closure of educational institutions across the country, ergo educational institutions tends to impart education through online mode of education.

This marks the emergence of digital divide across the country with the 2017-2018 National Sample Survey reported only 23.8% of Indian household had Internet access along with rural availability at 14% and urban at 42%. Digital divide has engendered to a number of suicidal cases within a short span of time across the country with the marginalized community victimized at the pinnacle inaccessible to online classes.

Racial discrimination: The outbreak of Covid-19 has led to unprecedented and upsurge rise in RACIAL DISCRIMATION to Mongoloid looking people from the Northeasterns living in metropolitan cities for education, employment and medical treatment in different parts of the country.

Many were called as CORONA, Chinese, Chinkis, spat on, denied entering in Malls and forced to leave apartments despite showing no signs of symptoms. The Right and Risk Analysis Group (RRAG) has recorded 22 emblematic cases of racism related with Covid-19.

Migrant Workers: It is always the marginalized section of the community that has suffered the most in the society as well as during an epidemic. With the closure of factories and workplaces across the country, millions of migrant workers had to deal with the loss of income, food shortages and uncertainty future. With no work and no money, thousands of migrant workers were force to walk or cycle hundreds of kilometers to go back to their native villages.

As of June 2 data compiled using media-tracking, nearly 200 migrant workers have lost their lives while walking, cycling back home, travelling in HMVs and LMV commercial vehicles, and in mass fatality crashes involving state organized buses along with dehydration, starvation, road and rail accidents, suicides and denial of timely medical care.

Economic degradation: Lockdown imposition has sharply rise with loss of employment rate by 19% within the 1st month, reaching 26% with an estimate of 14 crore people across the country. Major companies in India have suspended operations along with a collapse in large and small industries, tourism industry and other imminent sectors across the country.

Psychological impact: The upsurge rise in number of patients, fear of the virus, misinformed circulated news, racial discrimination, excessive used on screen for gaming during lockdown, adjusting to new lifestyles, isolation from friends and colleagues can be unbalancing and result in psychological and major health problems.

As quoted, "People say we're on the same boat. The fact is we're not. We're in the same ocean but not on the same boat. Some are on yachts; others are on ships, sturdy, strong and safe. But most of us are on wooden boats, others are clinging on to floaters, and many are still drowning"

Therefore, it is our responsibility to help fellow beings on wooden boats from the margins roundly trounced or affected by lockdown and cease in politicizing the pandemic when one life is at stake. Nevertheless, it is the silver lining among the dark clouds that keeps hopes alive.

With the pandemic all around and the Lockdown system affecting all sections of the society in different measures, it is the utmost responsibility of the citizens in following govt. guidelines, medical advisory, precautions and lockdown procedures to contain the spread of the virus.

* Samuel Nehminthang Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at snhaokips(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on July 08 2020.

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