This year had a bumpy start with a pandemic knocking our doors, forcing us to change the pattern of our lives and turn our routines upside down. It has far-reaching impacts on various aspects of our lives; the economic, biological and ecological impacts of this pandemic are clear; however, its social impact is rarely discussed or thought, though it’s social impact that would last for long after the pandemic departs and our lives return to normal. While discussing the social impact, it is noteworthy that even COVID has been discriminatory against the backward classes. The impact of COVID on the poor countries and households has been quite different from the comparatively rich countries.
On one hand, developed countries made strategies and policies to control the crisis, whereas in India, the media and the right wing politicians started to frame the minority community for the spread of the pandemic, they used the Muslims as scapegoat to cover the failures of the government, an evident rise in Islamophobia was thus noted. On the other hand, the developed countries of West showed us examples of love and unity by praying together as in Germany, or by opening the doors of their churches to the Muslims so that they conduct their Friday prayers as in France.
However, in the developed countries, we saw different kind of hatred i.e. ethnic racism. Some developed countries saw cases of hatred and violence against the Asian migrants as they were thought to be carrying the virus, many such cases were reported in USA and parts of eastern Europe. The developing countries instead tried their level best to treat the tourists and western migrants generously to portray a better picture of themselves in front of the world.
The suicide rates increased sharply both due to depression from being locked up in small houses, joblessness, loss of business and from financial losses. There was an upsurge in the domestic violence cases in the poor households; the reasons were quite obvious: men stuck in their houses filled with worries about financing the household and finding ways to earn during the lockdown; they became short-tempered and often released their anger and agony on the weaker members of the family, be it their children or wives. The rich people on the other hand had no such worries, instead, the pandemic provided them with an opportunity to spend more time with their families and understand each other better.
Another significant impact was the poor getting poorer, and the rich maintaining their wealth. The poor section of the society came on the streets, dependent on the pennies of the rich (which they rarely got) and the packages of the govt (which they didn’t get even rarely), hence the society was burdened with millions of unemployed people whose pockets as well as stomachs remained empty throughout. i.e. there became clear borders between 2 groups: one which gave, and the other which took. One which wondered, “when will we finally leave our homes?” and the others who kept wondering, “when will we reach our homes?”
Human nature tends to improvise in tough situations. Spirituality replaces materialism in these times, divine teachings are studied and followed. Thus, one of the major positive social impacts is increase in devotion to God. It seems that the pandemic has shown the man his weakness, and his need for a God who protects and sustains him. Ironically, even when the places of worship remained closed, people became closer to God than they had been previously. Moreover, people have started remembering those friends and acquaintances they had long lost touch with, even though they are locked in their houses, their bonds and relations have got stronger. Staying away from each other has made us realize how much others meant for us.
It is usually noted that during hard times, crime rates shoot up as the people find it difficult to sustain by themselves and thus fall into theft, dacoit, etc. The COVID pandemic had a bright side here. According to the Indian Express the theft cases saw a fall of 70%, rape cases saw a drop of 94%, murder cases saw a fall of 60%. Though hunger increased, a feeling of peace and security prevailed in the society.
This crisis also highlighted to the people the importance of developing a viable basic healthcare infrastructure, people who had voted wisely to welfare governments were in ease throughout the lockdown. On the other hand, people who had voted for fascist powers felt crushed by the pandemic as their government were inexperienced to combat such situations. Indeed, in this crisis people became aware of the intentions of political leaders and how much qualified is each one of them to lead the country during hard times. It has empowered people with senses to judge their leaders based on their groundwork.
The importance of NGOs and welfare organizations came under the spotlight as they worked much more efficiently than the govt or any other state authority to feed the poor and take care of their needs. The donations going to these organizations also increased exponentially as the people trusted it more and more.
This crisis had many impacts on different fronts, mostly positive and some negative too. It is important that we remain strong and united in the fight against it, work wholeheartedly to help the underprivileged sections of the society and provide our contributions in controlling it. It’s obvious that COVID doesn’t have a religion or caste, it is a calamity that we all are into together, we would get out of it together, united as ever holding each other’s hands. There is no need to be depressed or demotivated, look on the brighter side of the road and keep walking to your destiny unshaken.
Joseph shall return to Canaan, grieve not.
Hovels shall turn to rose gardens, grieve not.
If a flood should arrive, to drown all that’s alive,
Noah is your guide in the typhoon’s eye, grieve not.