In the present time, social distancing has become a buzzword in India for the last 2 months because of the outbreak of Coronavirus even before the Indian Govt declared lockdown in the entire country up to 14th April which has been extended up to 3rd May. Keeping because of the overconfidence of western countries on their acquisition of technology, which helped in the fast spread of infection, the Indian response was quite timely and opportune where all population was locked down in their homes. How far this shall be effective, only time will tell, but its ramifications shall be equally serious if not more.
Indian and Western Life
There is a stark difference in the attitude of life in Indian and Western life. How?. While Indians search for the opportunity of social gatherings on all occasions right from birth to death. These social gatherings are generally in the form of celebration and Indians always look for the celebration which is held at the drop of hat, from large and huge arrangements to simple celebration based on the economic power of that Indian. This tendency is found in all Indians irrespective of religion, caste, language, age, creed, state and colour.
In Western culture, this tendency is having a different colour altogether with the motives of self-promotion with commercial interests. Social gatherings in the form of Luncheons and Dinners are arranged with the condition that each attendee has to pay for the arrangements made by host plus extra margin if this arrangement is for fundraising which is quite common in western culture but alien to Indian ethos.
In India, various festivals are celebrated which starts from January itself and run throughout the year in the form of religious occasions and each festival more often than not turns into a celebration. Therefore, it would not be wrong to state that an average Indian is in celebrative mood always throughout the years which appears on the calendar for full years besides, marriages, birthdays, marriage anniversaries and the arrival of newly born babies. Even in the death of an elderly, his death is celebrated with a brass band and usual festivities. A typical Indian host invites his relatives, friends and family circle to that celebration to share his happiness without any payment. The host considers himself obliged by a guest, by gracing the occasion and follows, in general, the well-known principles of “ATITHI DEVO BHAVO” which equates a guest as God. The invitation card is not checked nor his credentials and if somebody attends the celebration, even an unknown and uninvited face, he is not questioned and nobody bothers about uninvited guests unlikely of western culture. The mood is typical of grace, laughter and happiness among the guests and host.
What a host gets from these celebrations. To answer this question, we have to examine the religious background of Hinduism where the force of synthesis is echoed from birth to death from its origin which remains largely unknown. The Hinduism is not religion per se as per modern definition but it is Sanatan Dharma. Modern psychologist and sociologist equate Dharma as a religion at par with Islam and Christianity. Here they do commit a grave error which may be the result of 800 years of Muslim rule and modern education system specially designed for India by Lord Macauley. The Dharma is what are the divine duties
without any references to religious practices. These duties were prescribed always society centric which means what are the effects of particular person acts on society in which society and near and dear ones are invited with respect and they are used to be a request to become witness to such acts, for example, the mutual commitments between boy and girl throughout their lives are stated in the presence of society as a witness which shows the effects of the commitments making the Hindu Marriage system as most stable. Similarly, on all occasions, the role of a society is of paramount in India in which all social gathering used to provide social and moral support to an individual Indian.
When such social support for moral and psychological support is withdrawn from Indian life, the sense of aloofness increases with horrendous proportion which results in the increased feeling of loneliness in an individual life. The involvement of Information technology has already created a large psychological vacuum involving loneliness missing the importance of physical interaction and replacing this physical interaction by a dead Laptop/computer.
Effects of Lockdown
What shall be the effects of lockdown that already a cut off youth from society, shall be further alienated from society which shall create social distress and social aloofness which shall reflect in unknown behaviour pattern in people which may become in the social breakdown and its damaging consequences? The effects shall be of nearly permanent which means that even after lockdown is taken off, there shall be an apparent and marked change in behaviour pattern in an individual and society as a whole.
The fear of death in CORONA infection shall play a very vital role so much so that life a momentary perception shall be strengthened. The idea of the ephemeral nature of life shall gain a large ground. There is no treatment of CORONA, the feeling shall increase the loneliness and life being temporary. Though in the Hindu belief system the death is always considered an unwelcome guest at any time which remains the greatest mystery of life. How and when death will come to an individual remains always unknown. But for leading the useful life to self and society, a certain amount of certitude of life is considered essential and a foremost condition. When this certificate fall, everything including life edifice crumbles down which result in melancholy and other psychological problems.
This lockdown and the consequent change in perception of life shall result in bizarre social and individual behavioural pattern and practically all youth may need the psychologist and psychiatric help in post CORONA period. It may be possible that a large percentage of people may exhibit suicidal tendencies. Pray to God to grant psychological strength to Indian society.