By Namrata Das
We all are aware of how the Covid-19 pandemic struck a huge blow to the economy but, if we try to take a closer look at it, we might be able to see that even the disease has become a platform for the manifestation of class conflict. Are we really in this “together”? Isn’t this also about the “survival of the fittest”, especially in a country like India? What makes India fascinating, apart from its cultural diversity, is its mixed economy. The country, as an emerging superpower, has a current $3 trillion dollar economy, with one of the world’s top billionaires as a citizen, along with a 20% poverty rate. The pandemic has caused Indian local businesses to shut down permanently, while, as expected, multi-million-dollar start-ups, such as Flipkart, Paytm and Big Basket, survived.
To cater to the needs of the customers, start-ups like Zomato and Myntra—one delivers cooked food from restaurants, the other delivers fashion at your doorstep—started enabling deliveries of essentials like groceries and medical supplies during the nation-wide lockdown. Even the country’s favourite, the American multinational brand, Domino’s, stepped up to fulfil the needs of the bourgeoisie Indians by adding the option of ‘grocery delivery’ to their app. Therefore, the ones with money at their disposal did not have to worry much about keeping themselves fed in this times of quarantine and social distancing, for long. With all this technology and luxury around them, they did not have the need to step out of their houses in search of ration.
Like always, it is the underprivileged and the deprived communities in the society that can feel the actual intensity of the massive blow. They do not have the luxury to pay other people to bring them their supplies. They cannot afford to choose social distancing over their “rozi-roti” or daily livelihood. For them, their hunger comes before their lives. Where sanitizing hands every hour is now the rich people’s priority, risking lives with no protection has become the necessity for the poor. Reality check says that they do not have any choice. After all, it’s a rich man’s world.
Nevertheless, the capitalist approach during the Coronavirus era can also be studied as a turning point for India, since the country’s economic expansion still managed to stay on the ‘Top 5’ list of world’s largest economies. Such procurement would have been quite a struggle for the nation a decade ago. Perhaps, Covid-19 has shown us how far India has come along as a rising global market. Therefore, whether it’s a global epidemic or a world war, capitalism is inevitable. Here we are, 7 months into the raging pandemic, but even with the latest 21st century technologies and robot sciences, we are yet to find a cure. Rather than serving science, invention and innovation kept capitalism alive. Hence, it is safe to say that the future of mankind might not be shaped by the impact of science, but by its dependence on the market economy.
Namrata is an undergraduate student of Sociology, with a keen interest in Gender and Sexuality Studies for further research. When not indulged in reading or writing, she keeps herself busy taking care of stray dogs.
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