THE OTHER SIDE
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the heightened differences that China is having with India and other other nations, the unnatural death of an actor in Mumbai, the economic challenges facing people in Uttarakhand and elsewhere, and most things that one gets to learn from the news have at least one element in common. At first glance, this contention might seem illogical but it is a fact quite simple to understand.
Ever since the novel coronavirus infection became known and then assumed pandemic proportions, there have been various theories floated by official and unofficial bodies. Many countries blame China for playing a dubious role in the pandemic. The global community is still trying to ascertain a sureshot treatment acceptable to all even as hundreds of different initiatives are underway in different countries to create a vaccine. One need not elaborate on the major effects the pandemic has had across the world. However, one can safely state that correct information about the virus and knowledge of its treatment would have prevented Covid-19 from assuming the form of a pandemic.
Communist China has been working in dubious ways for long but its machinations became all the more evident after the clash with Indian soldiers at Galwan in June. Much has happened since then with the government of India taking various measures to restrict the activities of Chinese companies in the Indian market. The USA and other nations too have taken actions to check Chinese activities. During a television debate on the clashes soon after the incident, a retired major general of the Indian army averred that a senior Chinese general had planned the violence as a birthday gift to the Chinese president Xi Jinping on June 15. Here again, one can understand that the situation would have been drastically different had this or other plans of the Chinese been known earlier.
The unnatural death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June has now become a favoured subject of some television channels which keep running dramatic news items, sensational ‘breaking news’ and debates on the incident. Evidently, the case is not yet closed and many are waiting for the truth to be ascertained. Since this issue has been covered excessively by various television channels, suffice it to say that correct information would have led to closure of the case and related controversies much earlier.
Then comes the issue of the economic problems being faced by the common people in Uttarakhand and in most other places around the nation and the world. In Uttarakhand, the government estimates that lakhs of natives have returned to the state from various regions where they were working before the Covid pandemic changed it all. Going by what the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said about turning the difficult situation into an opportunity, the state government has initiated some measures aimed at facilitating self-employment and assisting the people to strengthen them financially and in the process revive the state’s economy. To put it simply, answers to the questions of what will sell, who will buy it and how to produce it to optimise profits will help resolve the economic problems being faced. Knowing how to generate resources and utilise them in a sustainable manner in difficult circumstances will make the difference. Here again, the solution lies in correct information and knowledge.
For considerably different situations, the solution lies in correct information which is acted upon. That is why the experts have been pointing out for some years now that information is the real weapon in this era- the person or country which possesses correct, valuable and actionable information is powerful. Conventional weapons are common, expensive and have costlier and more damaging fallouts. Exploitation of information is not new- it has been going on for political, business, strategic and other purposes for a long time. However, if nothing else, the Covid pandemic should teach us to be particularly interested in empowerment through correct information and to use it for beneficial results. Given the general human proclivity to forget and ignore beneficial elements it remains to be seen whether all that 2020 has taught us so far will really make us wiser.
Saturday, 01 August 2020 | Paritosh Kimothi | Dehradun