The world has just entered yet another year, 2021, with a lot of expectations for better time. The past year, 2020, was an unprecedented year of devastation and anxiety in human history. It was a pandemic year and will be remembered for coronavirus, Covid-19 to be specific, that swept the world. It was the year of 'lockdown', 'social-distancing', 'self-isolation' and 'quarantine'. It was also the year of face mask, hand wash and sanitation.
The spread of deadly virus and fight to contain it turned the whole world into an unknown place for the time being. It also made lives, educations and works very uncertain. The New Year or 2021 also starts on a note of uncertainty. Nevertheless, people across the globe learned some lessons during the pandemic. The main lesson of 2020 is that there is no alternative to discipline and care for human and nature. Careless and undisciplined lifestyles derived by boundless greed have already created a very discriminatory and chaotic world. It was taken for granted by many that accumulation of wealth by any means and consolidation of power at any cost will ensure their comfort forever. Covid proved this concept wrong.
Covid has shaken the process of distorted development and compelled all to think afresh. It has also driven people to go back to basic of healthcare, education and social cooperation. That's why many leading philosophers and social thinkers argued that society would change in the near future. Many, however, apprehended that a little change would take place in real terms. The apprehension seems valid, as signs of positive changes are still minimal. As efforts have been there to bring back normalcy, most bad habits and practices are also resurfacing. It isn't easy to believe that people have learned any lesson from Covid-19. Learning any lesson will be effective only when someone acts accordingly.
Again, it was assumed that Covid would act as an equaliser as it would not distinguish between the rich and the poor. In reality, pervasive inequality has extended further in different forms. Selfishness based on greed and power drives leaders and policymakers to design solutions biased towards the privileged ones.
Thus, there is little to cheer about in 2021 that the world will see a bright year. The proposition sounds disappointing and may not be desirable when people in different parts of the globe are fighting for creating better conditions for the wretched.
So, let's not be pessimist but keep faith in human civilisation. The New Year brings an opportunity to act on lessons learnt from Covid. Let it be a year to mend some of the damages and devastations of the past. This may be difficult but not impossible.