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Lessons from COVID-19

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COVID-19 pandemic has engulfed in its destructive logic many countries. The ravaging microscopic body – coronavirus behind this infection has posed extreme threat to the world that now seems helpless and at its wits’ end. This virus knows no discrimination. It affects whosoever comes in its way. It entered in palaces and at the same time into hovels and presently, around 596,725 positive cases are confirmed worldwide. This number continues to swell.
While corona is rapidly moving to victimize the population, it has undertones attached to it, which demands our attention. It nullified our assertion of being ‘superior’. It exposed much highlighted ‘capability of Human’. It deflated our inflated chests – a symbol of the ego. And it brought so far flaunting powerful countries to knees and reiterated that nature is much powerful than anyone else.
Not only this, but it also carries a message for the world rulers and invites them to check their report card to know, how they have ruled countries. What is their contribution to subjects? What have they done for people and their country, especially regarding their well-being, which involves health, happiness, and prosperity?
Truthfully, the lust of power and might have blinded us to the extent that we see progress in raising armory. Not only rulers the perspectives of subjects about the development have also changed. Most people now think like their rulers. For them, the strong defense system means progress. This concept has flourished in every country and resultantly entire world is engaged in an arms race. With this escalation of arms race, human development has been pushed aside.
Studies show world military budget grew to $1.8 trillion in 2018. US military spending spiked by 4.6 percent to reach $649 billion, followed by China that increased its military expenditure by 5.0 percent to $250 billion. Indian defense budget also witnesses year-on-year increase. Though this year’s (2020) military budget was termed as disappointing, yet it was about 4.71 trillion rupees.
Pakistan decided to announce austerity-driven defense budget but at the end of the day, there was no change as compared to previous year. The amount allocated was around 1.15 trillion rupees. This data explicitly indicates how the race for arms build-up is rising in the world. Such a huge amount is spent just for ambitions of power and the next reason is the rivalry between the nations.
Since lust for power is inherent to man, thus war has its history. In all times, wars have occurred. And, we cannot say future would be without war and in this background some experts legitimate the arms race. Some people believe that the arms race can help in prevention of war. So, the defense and war-prevention are two most used excuses to justify the arms race.
But, this again negates the fact that we are modern and civilized. Why do civilized and modern men follow the brute and atrocious rulers of the past? How a civilized man clings to the policy of ‘Iron and blood’. Does it suit a civilized people to make the life of others hell? It is not up to standard on the part of a man who talks much about social, cultural, and moral progression and their importance, to hold an imperialistic mindset. Our claim that education enlightens our life crumbles down when an ‘educated rulers’ prefer to rule with an iron fist. It also renders the concept of ‘Democracy’ meaningless.
One may argue if not war, security is still imperative for the country as fundamentalists and radical elements exist everywhere and this calls for military development. Agree, but in doing so we must not forget the basic essentialities of our life.
One can easily glean from the current situation how the rulers have worked for people’s quality of life and social progress to date. In the sub-continent especially Pakistan and India, reports about enfeebled and ill-equipped health systems are grabbing the headlines. One of the reports reads, UT Jammu and Kashmir have 180 ventilators for 1.25-cr population and it is no secret that in the same region around 7 lakh armed forces are residing, which consume big chunk of the budget.
This empirically suggests how militarily build-up affects the well-being of the population and this holds true for all other countries. A common man thinks how better it would have been if the armed race had been replaced by the ‘Human-development race’. If we had focused much on human welfare rather than on weaponry or even if our work would have been priority-based- more human less military-centric the world would not have been going through tragic times.
We cannot ignore the fact, that the current crisis is a bolt from the blue and it has beaten even the best healthcare systems. But, there are many countries where people are dying not by COVID-19 but by poor-health system and now poverty.
Hope this crisis would end soon and rulers would scratch their heads about the thorny question that the epidemic has raised?