The acronym COVID-19 is derived from ‘Coronavirus Disease 2019’ was firstly reported in humans in Wuhan, China in late December, 2019 emerged as a rapidly spreading pandemic with its unprecedented outbreak.  Within 100 days of its birth, it has attacked 14,31,973 people, of which 82,096 were lost their lives.   Its unimaginable eruption reached 202 nations and every person in the world is susceptible to the disease in one way or the other.   Hitherto no medicine or vaccine was invented to heal it.  Entire world being made lockdown and is facing uncertainty, enigma and, of course, a big crisis never before seen in the human history.

It is pertinent to retrospect several aspects of this pandemic that how its outbreak is reached so rapidly? Why scientist did not invent drugs to cure? How many lives it takes away? How much we have to pay for it? and more importantly, whether science can deal with it or not?  The solutions for all the questions will be served by science only as science is an approach to explore truth in order to offer probable solutions and invent medicine.  Although the COVID-19 appears beyond the purview of science as of now, it could not run away from the paradigms of science eventually.  So far the capitalist inclined and market economy backed ‘postmodern science’ has not facilitated the ‘modern science’ to mitigate with problems alike SARS as so-called ‘Research and Development’ is being particularly taken place at MNC avenues with harness motives of utmost profit only.  More of, the project of postmodernism has been associated with an anti-science mindset, therefore, theoretical and methodological obstacles posed by the postmodernism might be responsible in not inventing the suitable vaccine, despite of having sophisticated technologies, artificial intelligence, advanced equipments and so forth.

Modernism, is a project of enlightenment, embodies within it the notion that a physical reality exists outside the human cranium and that this reality can be apprehended and understood by the human mind.  It fetches to possibility of science with its consequential ascendancy and believes that reality is external, fully defined, and subject to discovery through science.  The postmodern perspective on science was shaped in 21st century onwards and began reinterpreting scientific achievements of the past through the lens of the practitioners, often positing the influence of politics and economics in the development of scientific theories in addition to scientific observations.

Postmodernity argues science itself creates reality in the course of its practice, thereby, downgrading of science and the upgrading of technology in cultural rank have become routine. However, the realm of postmodernity is constituted by self-centric and transgressive individualism, rejection of metanarratives, fragmentation, end of ideology, denial of history, death of science and rise of technoscience, revival of God, deconstruction, multiple truths, relativism instead of realism and so on.  As a result, science is incurably corrupted by the forces that flourish in this mode of organisation: greed, over-ambition, branding, power politics, mass propaganda and intellectual mediocrity.  Finally, postmodernism represents as an intellectual boogeyman out to demolish truth, and the devastation of truth destructs the creativity, discovery and invention.

The same sort of situation is conditioned by Coronavirus pandemic.  Despite of searching a scientific vaccine, we all are depending upon the principles of science namely social distancing, quarantine, contact tracing and tracking and sensitizing the masses about precautions to prevent the spread of disease.  In other words, we are not absolutely depending on the chemical drugs but adding a set of social practices to the science in order to maintain public health.  This is nothing but merely a postmodern condition in terms of philosophical and scientific postulates.

With regard to socio-cultural and political-economy, the decisions of our Government also reflect the very postmodern stakes and tendencies.  Clapping the hands, kindling the lights, and telecasting Ramayan and Mahabharat do not have any scientific validity but those initiations are to boost up the spirit among the Indian populace.  Indeed, they were successful to a greater extent but cannot deal with the issues and challenges posed by the pandemic in a long run.

Since the postmodernism confines the philosophy of science for further development as it is subjective and skeptical but the philosophy of state must be objective, convinced and optimistic.   The decisions so far taken by our Government are not convincing the epidemiologists, public intellectuals and even common men as India as a country is prone to twin catastrophes of contagion and starvation simultaneously.  When the unplanned lockdown was imposed all of sudden, the migrant workers have started to their native places by leaving their squalid makeshift accommodation.  The reason is enough confidence about their care was never inculcated in them by the Governments throughout the history, even in the most disastrous times, they were forced to start when no bus is available.  They relied on their foot to walk hundreds of kilometers but did not believe the words of most potential and admired Prime Minister of India.  This latently implies a substantial divide of fragmentation existing between the public and parliament.

After watching heart-wrenching videos and pictures of people carrying their little ones on their backs and walking hundreds of miles to go back to their villages from cities, Modi, as PM, conveyed apology to the migrant labourers is not worth enough.  In fact, they never expect any confession.  Caring and guarding the needy in this crisis period is a prerequisite and an obligation of leaders, corporates and, perhaps, everyone of us.  We became self-centric, habituated to reject the metanarratives of equality and social justice, reviving the divinely temples and forgot to live in the temple of our fellow-human, well connected with technological networks and said an adieu to the human relations,  equipped with sophisticated machines and no more retrospection on the mission of human kind.  Postmodernity is already reached us and we all are conditioned by postmodern condition.  Coronavirus comes and goes as we will face it and fade it.  Let’s think of vulnerabilities of postmodern rationality of irrationality to come out from the world of illusion.

It is the time to stop all the rhetoric and witty statements to glorify oneself in the media and public domain, and cooperate each other to get rid of historic subject of crisis with the spirit of collective consciousness, science and universality.

Dr  Bheenaveni Ram Shepherd

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Osmania University, Hyderabad-07 (T.S.)

e-mail: bheenaveni@gmail.com


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One Comment

  1. Good evening sir,
    What you said ,postmodernity is really going in the way accepting the irrationality is rational thinking and that to blindly believing in branded person.