Namaste to All Media Friends!
We are meeting in a very peculiar situation when the entire world is grappling with the Corona Pandemic, and we are forced to interact in the virtual world. I welcome you all to this interaction.
This is an unprecedented scenario with over 36,80,000 people infected and over 2,54,000 already dead all over the world. Almost the entire humanity is in the lockdown mode, and all countries are fighting the COVID19 crisis in their own way. Bharat is also engaged in this very challenging struggle and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, being the prominentvoluntary organisation, is also playing its role to address the crisis.
Bharat’s Collective Fight against Corona
Since the news of possible health emergency first came, there has been a remarkably pro-active response by Bharat. The Union Government started taking the effective steps about screening and quarantine process of the passengers arriving from foreign countries. The State Governments also responded actively to the crisis. The decision of introducing lockdown in a phased manner-first for one day and then 7 days which was extended to 21 days-helped a lot in the psychological preparation of the society. It also provided a window for the administration to prepare the necessary health infrastructure in terms of testing facilities and quarantine zones.
Now we are into Lockdown 3.0.
The way Bharatiya society, in general, has cooperated with the government agencies and risen to occasion is the most remarkable story. Ordinary Bharatiyas have a spiritual bent of mind and cooperative nature which is proved to be a decisive factor in this fight against the Pandemic. People came out voluntarily to help the poor and needy and to provide food and other daily needs, paid their staffs in the support systems – both at a personal and professional level without work, and, by and large, stood solidly by the Corona Frontline Warriors. In our social structure, people voluntarily come forward to help their fellow citizens in need and not depend upon the government agencies for everything. The way Temples, Mathas, Gurudwaras, Deras, etc. started serving the stranded migrant workers and poor in the surrounding areas is the most commendable and inspiring part of this story. Despite a few incidences of unacceptable behaviour by some, a pro-active and decisive Government and a sensitive society together have kept the number of infected under control and number of deaths remarkably low compared to other countries.
RSS and the Service Activities.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has always taken the lead when it comes to serving the people in any calamity, and Corona crisis is not an exception. When the crisis started looming large, RSS was in the midst of organising its most significant annual event, the Pratinidhi Sabha (the National Council) at Bengaluru from 15-17 March 2020. But realising the nature of the threat, RSS immediately decided to call off the event and asked the representatives from all over Bharat to return, who had already started or were to start their journey for the meeting. Those who had already reached Bengaluru were sent back with all health protocols. In the next stage, RSS also decided to suspend all its training camps and gatherings till June end, which happened for the first time since 1929.
The swayamsevaks (volunteers of RSS) are accustomed to start different activities to provide relief to people during any natural or man-made crisis. Over 3,42,000 Swayamsevaks are carrying out various Sewa (help and relief) activities at 67,336 places, and till now, about 50,48,088 families and individuals have been benefited by these activities. Over 3,17,12,767 meals have been served by our Swaymsevaks. They have also distributed over 44,54,555 masks. Our Swayamsevaks have started 25 types of sewa activities during the corona crisis from providing helpline numbers to various categories as per the needs to offering meals, shelter and medical help to people who are either stranded or coming from other states. From the urban poor to nomads and scheduled tribes, and even animals who are an integral part of our ecosystem, most marginalised sections are served by the Swayamsevaks on the priority basis. The Swayamsevaks are playing an important role as a support system to the Government agencies in distributing masks, sanitizers, safety equipments, and most importantly, in sensitising the communities about the nature of the virus and explaining preventive measures. Specialised training is also given for the purpose, and the Swayamsevaks are following all directions given by the official health authorities and administration. The 1.3 billion people of Bharat being the children of Bharat Mata (Mother Bharat), are our brothers and sisters – this natural sense of belongingness inculcated in the RSS Shakha, is the fundamental motivator behind all these activities.
Preparing for the Post-Corona World
The Corona Crisis has posed many new challenges, and whatever may be the nature of the future struggle, we will have to carry it till the final victory. In this process, we should not lose sight of opportunities to come together to save the world. Whatever may be our philosophical pursuance, we have to accept the fact that the future world order is not going to be the same.
Hopefully, a detailed inquiry will be carried out to investigate the origin, reason and impact of the Pandemic. The entire world should come together to avoid such an emergency in future and create new regimes to deal with, involving responsible individuals, organisations and countries.
Besides, the limitations of ideologies of both global capitalism and global communism have exposed themselves in dealing with the Pandemic. The materialist world view imposed on the entire world can push us to newer cycles of economic depression and environmental degradation. In such a scenario, it is prudent that we develop a new model based on self-reliance and Swadeshi. In this indigenous model, local resources, workforce and needs would be integrated into the economic activity, taking into account the ecological considerations. RSS believes that such a model is applicable not just for Bharat but for the entire world. Though technologically and at the level of consciousness, Bharatiya thought has always been Global and universal – believed in the concept of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ meaning the whole world is a family – the economic decentralisation and social cohesion are the way forward to fulfil the objective of sustainable development.
Family is the basic unit of our society. There is a definite increase in the dialogue among family members as they are staying together for an extended period. We hope that the importance of family institution will be realised further in the post-corona world.
It is time to fight the enemy of the humanity successfully and to write bright new chapters of the new world as one people without any discrimination. However, we have to be cautious against such forces as are inimical and antithetical to this oneness, and expose their intent, without creating any feeling of ‘otherisation’ and ‘exclusion’.
RSS believes that the Pandemic, apart from being an unfortunate and cruel challenge, has also brought an excellent opportunity to review our existing models of so-called development, the life styles and approach to ecology. Here, Bharat is eminently placed to play a significant role that would lead humanity to sustainable development, progress with a humane face, and durable peace based on cooperation and mutual respect. We need to accept this challenge and work patiently and consistently to realise a harmonious and integrated world where every ‘local’ will be equally important in the ‘global’. Therefore, A human centric holistic coalition is the pre requisite for the emergence of a new world order.