The Great Betrayal
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
P Suneel Kumar Reddy
Covid -19 is much more than a pandemic. It is a wakeup call to the complacent societies, which were engrossed in the ever increasing filthy consumerism. The world which has never taken a break to check its fundamentals was forced by the nature to sit straight and introspect.
Industrialisation which enabled mankind to be more mobile with the invention of modern means of transportation, paved way for a great displacement of modern civilisation.Migration which is a common trait of mankind has occurred exponentially over the decades.
Carona virus which started in a small part of the world suddenly became a pandemic with the rapid movement of people across the globe. The boon named globalisation overnight became a bane. Fear crossed borders; the unpreparedness of the world became quite evident to the hapless global citizens. The vulnerability of the so called developed nations and developing nations left a large quantum of case studies to introspect.
Countries were more eager to save themselves from the border conflicts and spent trillions of dollars on defence but when the unseen enemy starts eating their population with ill health, their missiles and might stood speechless.
The world suddenly realised that the easiest way to be safe is in the hands of your neighbours health. The world also realised how precariously they depend on each other to survive. India especially which was on a reckless spree of urbanisation learnt a big lesson as the administration is unaware of the hugeness of migrant population accumulated over the years in an unorganised fashion.
How an unplanned and undocumented growth can be so catastrophic was made evident to the leaders in power by the unexpected pandemic. When millions of unorganised labour felt betrayed by the system and administration took the drastic step of hitting roads to return back to their roots. India witnessed a mass exodus for the first time in the post independence. History which witnessed the exodus of refugees in the partition played itself once again.
Covid gave a rude shock to the flawed economic model which could not sustain the morale of the strong labour force about their future. The suddenness of the announcement of locking down a nation with billion plus population exposed the myopic policy making of the leadership, which is ill equipped in assessing the magnitude of migrant issue.
Even as a massive number of Indian population is floating with uncertainty in the job market, they never allowed itself to be accounted for. Because of various political and privacy reasons a comprehensive accounting of the population has not been completed yet. The uncertainty in the statistics is a major reason in misjudging the logistic arrangements for a smooth transit of the migrants.
It is a serious lesson for the state to learn. They need to have a proper tracking mechanisim of its population to ensure the welfare. The sheer communication gap between state governments created havoc for the migrants. Proper tracking and coordination could have eased their mobility.
The effectiveness of the elaborate sops declared by the Governments during this pandemic has to be monitored. The effective implementation of one nation one ration policy will create confidence in the migrants who felt betrayed.
May be the suddenness of the crisis left many entrepreneurs and industrialists in jittery, they left their workforce to their destiny and withdrew their support. When normalcy returns may be they will realise the importance of those unorganised millions, without whom the progress of infra and industry is unimaginable. The dearth of manpower in urban clusters is already evident. It is heard manpower agencies are trying to woo back the confused work force back to the work with enticing sops and promises.
It is too early to comment on the future dynamics of economy but one thing is for certain, we as a nation should create confidence in the minds of migrants that they will not be betrayed again. It is high time for the leadership to stop rhetoric and create an accountable economy which is transparent about its workforce.
P Suneel Kumar Reddy is a writer, Film Director.