The current pandemic has deeply and adversely affected the weaker and vulnerable populations and has further pushed them into uncertainty and poverty. It has exposed and increased the shortfalls in our socio-economic systems and revealed their level of fragility. However, it has also drawn our attention to how people and communities come together in solidarity while providing care.
In the age of global village, we are increasingly interconnected which brings varieties of unending opportunities but also brings multi-layered risks and complex challenges. We are badly in need of such political leaders who are willing to work together to protect common people, encourage community level resilience and take dynamic and drastic measures. We desperately need sincere, visionary and rational political intervention much before the acute crises in future start unravelling which may be related to the public health emergency at large or the crises in ecological setting and climate.
Our Government needs to ensure no state, community or class lags in responding to these exigencies. They need to implement economic measures without any further delay. They must build sustainable socio-ecological resilience keeping people’s needs and interests first before looking at the profit. These must especially include poor men, women and children, people with disabilities, the elderly and communities living in abject poverty who suffer the most when such pandemic strikes.
As this COVID-19 is destructively spreading now at a relatively faster speed, many of those who are the most at risk at the global level are also those who are the most vulnerable by the impact of climate and ecological change. It seems that this aspect somewhere has not caught the attention of the policymakers and planners as per the required degree. This ecological aspect needs to be kept high on the political agenda, the present and successive years as all nations prepare to protect and rebuild their communities. Providing social justice, care services to the communities, socio-economic equity and protecting people’s rights should be at the top priority of government actions to tackle both the issues of public health and socio-ecological crises. As a society in solidarity, we have to rise above all the divisions and remain united to work together so that we can build a resilient society we deserve.
Dr Syed Nadeem Fatmi is an Assistant Professor at Department of Sociology, Aligarh Muslim University.