Survival of the unfittest?

                                  CORONAVIRUS INDIA MigrantWORKERS 1585123996

              Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.  Carl Sagan

Survival in the trying times becomes a matter of concern and ponderation both for the rich and the poor. The Corona pandemic has nudged the mind of the whole world about the question of survival. The entire population of the world is in a situation where the survival seems utterly difficult and impossible because of this novel pandemic: the pandemic that defies not only diagnosis but also medication.

Marx, as we know, divided the society into three economic classes, bourgeois, proletariat, and lumpen-proletariat. Among the three, lumpen-proletariat is the most precarious and disadvantageous class. Beggars, daily-wagers, prostitutes, criminals, and insane belong to this class.  The condition of this class can never change. Besides this, this class can never  change its social position because of their economic, physical, social and psychological precarity. This class is the part of our society. But do we accept this factual statement? Most of us don’t. But on humanitarian and ethical grounds we should accept it and at the same time we should take care of the people who belong to this Marxian economic class.

The pandemic that has put a kind of existential brake on the survival of the entire world population should alert us about the survival of the other people in our society, the people who are not in a position to feed themselves. We should help each other every time. But alas! We are insensitive to the plight and precarity of our fellow humans.

The whole world is in a lockdown situation. No one is allowed to move. Restrictions ring everywhere. The survival even for the rich people has become extremely difficult and utterly impossible despite the resources and victuals that the rich usually store beforehand in order to fend off themselves against any natural calamity or existential exigency. When the capitalists, rich, and bourgeois are in a way at a precarious and vulnerable position because of this pandemic, the question arises how are the proletariats (working class) and lumpen-proletariats  surviving in this lockdown?  It is a question that should give us creeps and should also compel us to think about them, if at all, we bother to care about humans. We do not care a fig about the poor and precarious people of our society. We do not bother to feed the hungry and nurse the wounded and sick. Every country has a large percentage of population that because of one reason or the other is economically disadvantageous.

The world we are living in is highly inequal and unjust in terms of economy.  We should try to end this inequality. The section of the people (beggars, handicaps, and insane) who mainly survive on the leftovers of the rich, the question arises how would they be surviving in this pandemic when the whole world is in lockdown? In addition to this, have we made a prior arrangement for them? Most of the countries have no time to think and care about them. We in India have a large percentage of people who depend on daily wages. From street vendors to rickshaw- pullers the list is long. What is the plight of these daily wagers in this lockdown? Is the government taking care of them? No doubt, the NGO’S and government machineries both at the central and state levels are working to reach out to these people but this temporary care for them won’t help. We should learn a lesson from this pandemic. We should find a permanent solution to the economic problems of these people. We cannot live our life happily and savor the beauty of the world until we take care of the people who are not in a position to eat; who do not have a home to sleep in. Let’s pledge to help the people in this pandemic. Let’s be sensitive to the woes of the people who are more vulnerable to this pandemic, who do not have money to buy medicine.

The government stresses about the precautions that people should stay indoors in order to stave off themselves against the virus. The medical advisories are being published day in and day out. This is done with extreme emphasis and force, because staying indoors and thereby maintaining a social distance is the only measure to contain this virus. On the order and advice of the government, people have self- quarantined themselves in their cozy and comfortable homes. The question that needs to be addressed at this critical juncture is: how are the homeless people coping with this problem? The homeless people sleep alfresco.  Where would they quarantine themselves? The answer to this serious question is: nowhere! We should build hospices for them so that they can have a place where they can live in. Plaster or bandage solution to any problem won’t do. How would they buy face- masks and hand- sanitizers, when they do not have the victuals to eat, and homes to live in! The establishment should be serious and concerned about the woes of these people. Rousseau opines that law is the invention of the rich; his statement is a veritable truth. The people sitting on the high profile seats make laws for their own ulterior motives and lucrative benefits. They can make laws also for the welfare and development of the homeless people but they dilly-dally.

The government machinery is the only force that can uplift and ameliorate the life of the precarious people in the society. But there is a deliberate inaction and inertia on the part of the establishment in doing so. The establishment or the state does not want to erase the binary/ dyad of the rich and poor, the binary of the raw and cooked as explained by Levi Strauss. The exclusionary ideology of the global establishment is behind the economic oppression of the global poor. The World Health Organization should announce the measures and means that can save the homeless in this pandemic.

We must think about the permanent solution to the problems of the economically precarious people. We must play human to save the humanity in this pandemic. We should think about the survival of the unfittest, not about the fittest, for the fittest are already surviving and the unfittest are at the verge of death. Humanity is precious. Let’s play our part in preserving it always.

Postscript: The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

The Writer is a Research Scholar at the Department of English, AMU and can be mailed at: [email protected]




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