TODAY -

Thoughts random: In times of coronavirus - IV

Rajendra Kshetri *



Good Morning Manipur,

"Coronavirus 'may never go away ', could become an endemic ", says WHO.

From Pandemic to Endemic!!

It is Corona times. Corona-induced lockdown times. Quarantine (institutional/home) times.Uncertain times and days of Covid-19. Times we live in. Times we try to cope with, grapple with the deadly virus. So the Corona Pandemic could become an Endemic. Nothing much to be scared. We have learnt to deal with many hard times in the past. We have learnt to live with the draconic AFSPA.

We have learnt to deal with the AIDS. We have learnt to manage 3/4 months economic blockades. Haven't we. We are resilient people. Our resilience have stood us in good stead. There is no apparent reason why it will not this time round too. Times of Coronavirus. Times spectral thoughts keep coming/crossing. Some use pen and paper to pen. Others don't. I DO.

Why I write. Well, as Albert Camus would say, " it is an attempt to understand the time I live in ".

Thoughts Random 15

#InTimesOfCoronavirus(May 7 2020)

1. The most satisfying day or moments for/of a teacher is the interactive time/discourse spent in the face-to - face teaching/learning classroom. There's always a special kind of charm and pleasure when you engage and connect with students, establish a rapport and most importantly provoked their inquisitive minds. You feel rewarded when you inculcate a sense of curiosity. And you feel on top of the world when you inspire the students.

2. All of a sudden, nothing short of a bolt from the blue, the novel Coronavirus strucked, yes strucked, and our 'worldly world ' is at doldrums, at the mercy of a virus. The Corona Pandemic turns everything normal into abnormal. Abnormality has become the 'new normal '. Educational institutions and all teaching classes has been put into a grinding halt.

We are left with the only option available to complete the course curriculum. On-line teaching-learning! Ah! On-line teaching!!.

Sounds too flamboyant to be meaningful/effective, no?

3. Off-line teaching/learning (read face-to-face classroom teaching) is passe'. On-line teaching is in. The new craze! The new phenomenon! The 'new normal '! Classes are conducted/being conducted through (various) user-friendly apps; reading materials provided; recorded voice lectures given; attendance recorded; assignments given/evaluated.

Syllabus covered, course completed. You happy! Parents happy! Students happy! Teachers happy and satisfied! Are we really?

4. Alright, everything is on-line now. The pandemic situation demands it. The Covid-19-induced lockdown leaves no other option but to go/do on-line. So on-line teaching/learning is the answer to the crisis of education in times of Coronavirus?

May be, but this very answer itself begs more than a couple of nagging questions: Does it/could it cater to the needs of each and every student coming from different (socio-economic) strata of the society? How many of them, say out of 100 students, could afford to have computer/laptop/smartphone?

What about students from rural areas where electricity is almost non-existent/not regularly regulated? Doesn't it/won't it increase further the digital gap between urban and rural dwellers?

5. This is digital age. The age of on-line. Make no mistake. Is digital education, the on -line mode of teaching and learning the solution then to the country's/state's education system? Oh boy! Where is the charm? Where have all the charms gone?

The Covid-19 Pandemic has kept me deprived, for more than 40 days, of all the charms, pleasures and satisfaction that I derived from my face-to-face classroom teaching. Technology has indeed taken away all the charms.

6. I miss my students and ambience of the face-to-face mode of classroom teaching. Meanwhile, keep reading...not only the reading materials provided to you but more importantly book (s) of any genre that you can lay your hands on. Reading and writing is what will keep you active and alert, engaged and occupied, and fighting fit against Covid-19.

#KeepReadingWriting #StayFightingFit.

Thoughts Random 16

#InTimesOfCoronavirus(May 9 2020)

1. Information is strength. Strength leads to power. Information is knowledge. Knowledge is power. Info-tec is High-tech. High-tech takes you closer to the power-that-be. So we believe. Rather we are made to believe.

Informations of all kinds are accessible on the drop of a hat. Search giants like Google gives you everything you want to know. We stopped thinking and become Google-dependant. How many telephone/mobile numbers could you remember without the help of your smartphones?

We read newspapers to keep ourselves informed. But this time tested old habit of reading newspaper has come to such a sorry pass that " If you don't read the newspaper ", as Mark Twain once said, "you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed ".

2. Does information leads to creativity? Does information enables you to visualise? Can information make you think out of the box? Can information make you imagine a world of imagination? Can information replace idea? Can a pool of informations be more powerful than , to quote Victor Hugo " an idea whose time has come " ?

As the entire world goes online gathering informations on/about Covid-19 pandemic, origin and spread of the Coronavirus, mankind is inching closer and closer to a 'virtual world '.

3. Imagination, the ability to imagine, cannot be more relevant than in times of Coronavirus when the whole world is getting lost in search of informations. It is none other than Albert Einstein who said "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world ".

"Where is the wisdom ", thundered T.S. Eliot "We have lost in knowledge/ Where is the knowledge/ WE have lost in information ". Questions, soul searching questions that cannot be more pronounced than in times of Corona-led/fed informations.

4. The world is in a hurry to find/develop Corona vaccine. Corporate world/industries are in hurry to recoup economic losses incurred during lockdown. Countries/governments are in hurry to plan post Corona economy. China is in hurry to capture/control world trade economy amid the global Covid-19 pandemic. Trump is in real hurry to get re-elected (come November 2020) using the Corona virus ('Chinese Virus ' as he calls it) as his political plank.

People are in hurry wondering what kind of social life is awaiting them in post Covid-19. Migrant workers are in hurry to get back home wondering all the while if they ever will get works to work.

5. Me??? I am in no hurry, man. I take my own sweet time. I spend my lockdown time in the good old company of books, penning my random thoughts, listening/humming my favourite old melodies with a portable Philip radio around, tending in between Mama's 'Heikol-leikol '.

How about you guys? How do you spend your lockdown time?

6. I shall put a 'coma '( ,) to my 'Thoughts Random ' today with a quote, again, from Einstein:

" I FEAR THE DAY THAT TECHNOLOGY WILL SURPASS OUR HUMAN INTERACTION. THE WORLD WILL HAVE A GENERATION OF IDIOTS ".

#FightCoronaWithCreativeThinking
#DontLetCovid19StopYouFromImagination.

Thoughts Random 17

#InTimesOfCoronavirus#(May 13 2020)

1. Lockdown time is nostalgic time. An appropriate time to take a memory trip. Once in a while I love to take a trip down memory lane. Lockdown or no lockdown. Times rolled back. Nineties. Early nineties:

I remember (how could I ever forget!) holding my Two Little Gems (of 5 and 3 years of age), one in the front ('pamba') and the other on the back ('poba') and singing lullabies to make them fall asleep. Shyam Sharma's "Shamu macha ama leina leina jagoi sai " , " laone eigi etung illo lao laone/ awa- nungai punsida ningai chaoba lao " ; and Kamala's " nongna wa-wa churakle/ imagi langlen tumtharone ", " tha-tha thabungton/ nacha morambi pobige" were my favourites (still they are).

Now I may add one more though to the list-- "whiskey lullaby " by Alisson Krauss and Brad Paisley).

2. My two little gems are now grown-up adults ,in their late twenties, having 'own independent minds ' as they love to put it( 'independent mind '? what and how I seldom try to figure out). Whenever I told them about how I took care of them every late evening singing lullabies, while Mama was busy in the kitchen cooking for 15/16 family members, they just laughed it off with those disarming boyish smiles.

3. Having been born and raised and brought up on the banks of Nambul river, some of my fondest childhood memories are associated with this river. Of ever-green memories are memories of those 'hi-honbas' rowing from far-flung Thanga (Loktak lake) up against the stream and how eagerly I bought organic vegetables--'koukha', ' heikak ' , ' e-kambong ', etc) at our ' hidhen-taapham '.

Memories of how I indulged, disregarding 'DON'Ts' from elders , in catching (small) fishes --- 'ngaseps ', 'ngakijous ', 'phaboungas ', 'sareng-khoibis ' etc. ) at the time of 'nga-kaba'/'nga-chaba' season are still as fresh as I did yesterday. When I told them (my sons) of such NAMBUL MEMORIES they don't/couldn't believe at all.

At best, they find it difficult to comprehend how this river, MOST POLLUTED RIVER, was once upon a time a river of pristine beauty with clean water, swimmable, rowable and fishable. How shockingly different is THE NAMBUL OF MY CHILDHOOD from the Nambul of their time!!!

Oh yes, before I forget, the Covid-19 induced lockdown has made river Nambul less polluted and her water a tad cleaner. What I call the Covid-19 impact of a positive kind.

4. May 10 2020 was Mother's Day. While browsing through fb page I chanced upon a post from our Hon'bl Chief Minister Shri N. Biren Singh in memory of his Mother--"Ningsinglak E - Emado", a song.

Listening to so touching a lyrics penned so emotionally by the Chief Minister himself made me teary. Manifestation of the poet in him, a delightful surprise really, made me forget for a while that the lyricist is the incumbent Chief Minister of Manipur.

The poetic elements in him is, I believe, what makes him stand apart from the current lot of politicians. This may be the same reason, I am sure, why he is so easily accessible to the poorest of the poor section of society.

Singer Sadananda's rendering, in his inimitable style of course, comes quite close, if not fully, in matching the emotive feelings expressed in the lyrics. 5. Mother Earth is threatened. It is an ENDANGERED PLANET. All due to the vagaries of man.

The Coronavirus Pandemic is a MESSAGE cum WARNING to mankind: STOP WAGING WAR AT NATURE. RESPECT WILDLIFE. PROTECT ENVIRONMENT.

Doing our bit to save Mother Earth would be the most loving and caring way of remembering our Mothers.

#ProtectMotherEarth #FightCovid19
#WeShallOvercomeSomeday#


* Rajendra Kshetri wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The author is Professor and Head, Department of Sociology MU, Imphal.
Author of "The Emergence of Meetei Nationalism ";
"District Councils in Manipur:Formation and Functioning ";
"Sociology: Perception and Conception ";
his latest book on Nambul River " Cry Of A Dying River " published by AABS Publishing House Kolkata is available at amazon.
This article was webcasted on May 18, 2020.



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