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The scenario to unfold due to Coronavirus

March 30, 2020 , Varghese Pamplanil

The scenerio to unfold bannerInternational relations.

Globalisation was put in place by the international business conglomerates for establishing hegemony in world trade. In the beginning developed economies such as US, Japan and a few emerging economies viz., South Korea, Thailand reaped the benefits.

Then China emerged as the game changer. Nominally communist,but in essence free market oriented , a highly centralised government overseen by the only political partyallowed to function, the ruling regime could stream roll its way that it chose . A more or less homogeneous population made things easy.The absence of any strong religious organisation to disrupt the government’s programswas another plus factor. The migration ofthousands of unemployed rural folk to urban centres in search of jobs, enabled industrialists, with the connivance of ruling dispensation,to extract maximum work from these “no other go” people for a pittance. The almost slaveworkers were forced to put in 12 hrs of hard labour non-stop. Constantly tethered to the conveyer belt, without pause or rest and, not evenallowed to attend toilets (theywere compelled to wear diapers while standing in the assembly line to defecate and urinate)These conditions enabledChina to produce low priced goods and become competitive in the international market.

Egged on by the MBAs from Harvard, Carnegie and other business schools, the ever greedy merchant classresorted to importing low cost goods from Chinato sell them in the home marketfor hefty profit margin. In the short run, the game was attractive and lucrative.But it killeddomestic manufacturing activities causing unemployment and social turbulence.

Silicon Valleytechno-utopia wizards spearheadtheFourth Industrial Revolutionnow on the roll. The new breed tends to be a mix of Ayan Randdevotees and engineering absolutists who hold a hyper logicalview as the answer for everything. One day soon enough, some people will be able to download theirbrains to computers, relax and let their algorithms take over. Artificial intelligence aided by robotics and machine learning will usher in a new brave world. This may create different strata of humans; the supra intelligent, probably genetically modified, who may undertake galactic journeys and settle down in Elon Musk bored tunnels in other planets.Eventually, they may succeed in creating earth like environment in Mars and elsewhere in the space. At the other end, there would be cow urine analysers seeking cure for all deceases such as cancer and the pandemics like Coronavirus. They would engage in futile attempts to search for the “elixir of life” from cow dung.

The spread of the pandemic Coronavirus has resulted in the closure of borders by almost countries. Outsiders are out and out.The global village is being replaced byinsulated communities. People from other countries and races are looked down as pariahs and lepers.Ultra-regionalism is the newparadigm.

The Coronavirus has rung the death knell of the Global Village with people taking behind closed doors in utter fear and trepidation. The streets are empty, the churches, mosques and temples are empty, the Vatican square is empty, the Manhattan too is empty, thePiccadilly Circus is empty, the Dalal Street is empty, Kamattipura is deserted,Call girls may have called it a day for the time being, the clerics are unemployed, their nostrums have no takers. Politicians are forced to rest their vocal cords lest they saturate the air with Coronavirus, Immigrants are ogres.Witch hunt is on the cards.

An enormous economic recession is on the cards which could outstrip the 2008-09 financial meltdown, and will expose the chinks of crony capitalism. The destruction of the earth’s environment due to the unbridled “Greed” of the humans, sought to be justified by quoting the Bible saying that “ everything is created by the Semitic God for the use of Man”. It under scores a pernicious ideology and portendsdangerous turn of events.

People who migrated to countries perceived to offerbetteropportunitieswill be forced to returnto their native soil; their future bleak,deprivation and unemployment, mocking them.Social and economic asymmetries will develop ; and thefabricof society may rent asunder andfractured.

Impact on India.

India is a mixed bag; techno-savvy IITians mayrule the roost in Bangaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune etc.. They could keep up with the world trend and march ahead. The laggard die hard conservatives andpast emulators will drag the Indian society to a quagmire. The opulence and blitz of the metros hide the real face of India in the hinder lands of inequalities and inequitable systempresided over by obscurantism.Fleeing to one’s own hearth has assumed the contours of stampedes . This may end up extreme poverty and deprivation to millions of people.

The Kerala scenario

For more than five decades, Keralahas been heavily depending on remittances from the Gulf; the classic money order economy. It is human tendency to splurge unearned income onfrivolous things. High spending, no workconsumer societies spawn laziness many other social evils. The rentier class may become disillusioned and get into the grip of utter pessimism. In Kerala all unpleasant jobs are sought to be done by people euphemistically called Bengalis/Hindi people. Goods for consumption,even vegetables are imported from regions out side the state. Most of them are sprayed/saturated with toxic pesticides. Adulterated poisonous oil, milk etc flood the Kerala market.

The people of Kerala may be for a rude shock. The reverse “ exodus back to the native soil” may more than disrupt the Kerala social scene. The grim choice for the the lazy bones will be, either to get down to the dusty soil, after getting rid of their fine garments, till the earth and break the stones, and produce whatever is needed by the sweat of their brows. The alternative is thieving, robbery, plunder and the like.High spending may become a thing of the past.The queues in front of the Beverage Corporation may thin out. IMFL may be replaced by local hooch. The demand for effeminating broiler chicken may come down. The high priced fish will give way to lowly types. Food grains distributed by PDS could become staple diet. Top model cars may be replaced by the humble bicycle or Shank’s mare may become preferred mode of transport.Overburdening debt trap may lead to suicides of even whole families.. Living up to the next door neighbour may come to an end.

The fate of excessive religiosity.

Recently, the Bengaldesi writer Taslima Nazreem, has observed aptly: “Mecca to Vatican, Covid-19, proves, when human beings are in peril, gods flee first” with their tails tucked between their legs. She adds “Gods are saviours for many, the ones they pray to throughout the year for protection. But when humanity is in peril, it is usually the gods who flee first. Deceases are not cured by Allah, God or Bhagavan; deceases are cured by scientists.Human beings are not saved by supernatural powers; but by other human beings”

The tell tale symptomof socially , economically, intellectually deprived deceased ridden societies isthe all pervading superstition and excessive religiosity, PEW research has revealed. Theovertly religious types lack self-confidence and optimism. They attend various religiousceremonies dished out by cunning shamans, day in and day out,touted aspanacea for all human sufferings and disappointments; salves for the wounded psyche. The credulous make bee line for to charismatic circuses, Divine Fire dispensing magical shows and similar hoodwinking programmes.They are meant for misguided, obsession saturated and superstition filled brains. The ignorant masses are in the grip of utter dread and fear. These misguided have very low confidence in themselves. They seem to be unaware of the human potential. They under- estimate their abilities and self worth. These gullible are ensnared into the booby traps set up by charlatans. In the process the dumb cattle believers waste their time and energy with nothing worth while in return; on the contrary they will slide deeper and deeper into the abyss of guilt complex. The befuddled who whoflock to these charades are generally deprived of the ornaments they wear and other valuables in their possession . The end result of participating in the shenanigansis waste money, time and energy. The crooks wearing cloths of the “anointed” pick the pockets of these brainless lot with ease; many a people are cheated offin the name of donations and offerings. The cunning confidence trickers accompanied by high drama under kaleidoscopical illumination and surrealtheatrics, hypnotic atmosphere,fool the participants with their gift ofgabs andhullabaloo by hook or crook, loot the last farthing.The thieves then run all the way to their banks smirking. Some of them will spend the ill-gotten money on wine and women.

(If any one is interested in knowing what happens in some charismatic type congregations, they may well read the book “Thy neighbour’s wife” by Gay Telese published in 1981 and updated in 2008. In preparation of the book,Telese stayed for several months at Sandstone Retreat.)

The habit of attending the ceremonies, ritesand other “oppirukal” of the priesthood in places of worship has been been suspended as of nowto arrest the spread of pandemic Coronavirus. If the deceaseremains unbated for a long time, which is quite likely, the faithful may come to realise that nonattendance of time consuming “thamasas” in churches will not provoke the wrath and ire of their god. If this waking up from theeuphoria of the “opium of religion” paves the way for rational thoughts and action, it would do a lot of good to the human kind.And then , the false claims of agents/brokers as intermediariesfor reachingone’s god, may cease.People may come to the realisation that they can communicate directly to their gods. Some may even throw the rod, hook and the sink to the deepest part of the water body. How long can one be loyal to the“no response” sky gods.When all hope is lost, the resultant disillusionment and frustration may lead to a change of perception. It may be high time to end theabject dependence on gods for solving one’s problems; the futile prayers to one’s favourite gods for ameliorating bad situations encountered in every day life has to reach the finis.The mad rush/to some deity for boons, goodies and above all the pie in the sky has to be thrown overboardin order to preserve human sanity. The ceasing of chasing mirages, may turn out to be a good thing. And then human behaviour may become more rational. How long one can put up with“ apply apply, but no reply situation”.


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