Coronavirus in the Global Village – Guest Author Sulekh Jain, Ph.D.
During the last 200 years, due to the advances in technology, travel, the internet, and instant communication, the world had already become flat and truly a Global village. In a Global village people, care and share with each other and live happily. The recent Coronavirus has brought us even closer.
The Covid-19 Pandemic does not see race, religion, color, caste, creed, language, or geographical border before striking and everyone is affected equally. It spares no one. It is a great equalizer amongst rich and poor, weak or mighty, and ordinary or VVIPs.
PM of U.K. Prince Charles, Hollywood Stars (Tom Hanks and his wife), famous Sports players TV newscasters ( to name just a few) and so many known and unknown people have been affected. It exacts a very heavy death toll too.
This Coronavirus outbreak continues to sow tragedy on countless scales. Many lives have been lost, the economies world over have been turned upside down, and life, as we have known has been dramatically altered.
For the first time, due to the threat from this common enemy, there is a realization that we all are inter-dependent, interconnected, in fact, entangled with each and have co-existence with each other, Truly we are inseparable and that we support each other. Our very survival is dependent on each other and on the rest of the world. In Jainism, this is called Pras-prop-graho-Jivaanaam
Unlike previous moments in history, when countries or societies faced off against each other, today we are together facing a common challenge. Hopefully, the future will be about togetherness and resilience.
In spite of the many untold and unimaginable tragedies and sufferings (which still continue), there is some silver lining; some temporary and many permanent. A new world and paradigm are emerging. Generally, all news stories are about the hardships, sufferings, and tragedies but there a few upcoming positive changes too. Let me share just a few.
- In these times of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, politicians are using digital and social media for campaigning to get their message out to the voters. Right now, big rallies, barbecues, shaking hands, and holding –let alone kissing –babies around are out.
- Drug trafficking has fallen significantly amid virus disruption. Along the 2000 –mile U.S –Mexico border through which the majority of illegal drugs cross, the normally bustling vehicle traffic that smugglers use for cover has slowed down to a trickle. Bars, nightclubs, and motels across the country that are the ordinarily fertile marketplace for drug dealers have shuttered. There are no takers for the drugs.
- There is a significant decrease in money laundering and online drug sales. The godfathers of the cartels are panicked.
- Once illegal, telemedicine has taken off during this crisis. The shift is advantageous in many ways. Telemedicine in many cases offers a viable and sometimes cheaper alternative. It can also help control potential shortages of hospital resources by giving patients options beyond the hospital and the emergency room, while also providing more choices for residents of rural and sparsely populated areas where access to doctors can be problematic. The virus crisis is rapidly accelerating the transition to telemedicine.
- As educational campuses closed, many also moved online. Online learning can also breakdown barriers for many who want to go to college but cannot afford it or live in remote locations. It can also level the playing field for students from all backgrounds and for those with disabilities.
- In India, many sweet (mithai) shops are closed and huge and mega wedding celebrations are out or down. The artificially adulterated milk market has come down significantly and so is the market for many other adulterated food items too.
- There is a sea change how people are spending their time and coping with this pandemic In-spite of the fear of the epidemic and economic hardships, tension, stress and worries, people are spending more quality time together with families, doing more creative cooking, eating at home (instead of going out which they cannot), doing more yoga, exercised, meditation, prayers, Poojas, swadhayayas, study, contemplation , watching several old TV Serial of Ramayana and Mahabharata, and calling near and dear one on the phone, social media such as WhatsApp face time, etc.
- Thousands of people have taken to webinars and conferences on ZOOM etc. and discussing myriads of topics of life and other subjects.
- Many domesticated animals are also enjoying a more peaceful life as meat and milk consumption have significantly come down.
- Since this pandemic is a worldwide disaster, millions of people world over are engaged in “People Helping People”. Many, truly feel karuna, compassion, daya empathy to their fellow human beings They are providing hot meals, medical help, clothing, transportation, care, and love to those in need. Many corporations are doing their best too in taking care of their employees and communities in which they live.
- The world right now seems to be a much calmer and quieter place. The number and intensity of wars, terrorism, and strifes have come down significantly. Enemies are cooperating with each other.
- The incidents of arson, theft, shooting, car accidents, etc. are down significantly.
- Since people are not shopping 24×7, they are realizing that life can be enjoyed nicely with fewer wants.
- Suddenly air, water, and earth are cleaner. In India, Ganges and Yamuna look much much cleaner.
- The sounds of birds chirping and singing are much more audible.
- According to some scientific measurement, there are less vibrations in the planet earth too.
- People appear to be much friendlier as everyone recognizes that we all are in this together and not alone.
- The Covid-19 crisis will change us. Many will work On-Line from home more often, will travel less, and probably ZOOM more.
- The scientists world over are working together as one team than before to find cure/cures for this virus and that too ASAP.
Tsai Ing- Wen, the President of Taiwan said “now more than ever, every link in this global network must be accounted for. We must set aside our differences and work together for the benefit of humankind. The fight against Covid -19 will require the collective efforts of people around the world.”
For centuries Indian sages preached Vasu Dhaiva Kutumbhakum meaning the whole world is one family. This coronavirus seems to have moved the world to this famous aphorism.
Dr. Sulekh C. Jain is the Past Secretary and President of the Federation of Jain Associations in North America (JAINA). Dr. Jain also authored a book An Ahimsa Crisis: You Decide, which can be accessed as an eBook free of charge at www.isjs.in Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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