The C –Virus: Can India prove the World Wrong?
An authority on global economies made a derogatory remark about India when the C-Virus started in China. “Thank God, its not India” Why? Because, the chaotic, noisy democracy that we are, creates the impression that India cannot manage the situation from getting out of hand. That, the C-virus could affect millions of Indians.
But, this time, the story has unfolded differently. Advance warning was heeded. Advance initiatives and actions taken and the C-Virus spread grew slowly, steadily, rather than explosively. The 3-week Lockdown decision helped enormously, including getting the medical infrastructure more ready.
By numbers, India is still well behind many others. But, the density of population, especially in towns and cities makes social distancing a massive challenge. Shared shelters, homeless groups, migrant workers, poverty, urban slums – all pose a unique set of challenges, difficulties, problems of management and control. So, even more, the global expectation that India will not be able to cope, not be able to control the spread of this disease, not be able to save lives.
India is a soft country. Indians are a soft people. Not tough. Not strong. Not disciplined. This is the image of India and of Indians. The C-Virus can actually help Indians grow up. Become more disciplined. Become tougher. This is the way forward if India is to manage the C-Virus crisis.
Its 17 April 2020. The first milestone is 20 April when India moves to a different paradigm from the current national Lockdown. One month later, 20 May, will be a good second milestone to review the status. And, a great deal will depend on self-discipline and self-regulation to control the spread of the C-Virus. Can India rise to this challenge? This is wartime, a different kind of war but its not a 5-day war or a 21-day war. Its a long war. Maybe, 120 days. Maybe more.
Do Indians have the stamina to be marathon runners? Not sprinters. Can Indians play as a team? A disciplined, calm, collected, confident, football team? We have won the World Cup in Cricket but not yet in football. Nowhere near. Can we come out of the blue and win the C-Virus Football world cup 2020?
Its possible. Not impossible. We have made mistakes. We will make more because the rules of the C-Virus battle are new, unknown, different. But, we are doing many things right, so far. There is hope.
The Indian team-can it be strengthened? Who can we add to the team? Could the Armed Services, respected, admired, efficient, play a larger role in the team? What else can they do? They are the best.
And, there are many managerial challenges. Can the team also be strengthened by inducting public and private sector managers to lend their shoulders? They know HOW to get things done. That is the unique quality of managers.
A winning Indian team, multi-disciplined, multi-skilled, can match the best in the world. Time for some innovation? Time to pull in more talent? So as to reinforce the healthcare army.
The stakes are truly high. If India, unexpectedly, manages the C-Virus crisis without excessive number of cases and deaths, its credibility, globally, will move to a different level. And, that will have huge ramifications. Given more so, the self confidence that Indians will gain, will take the Nation to a new level.
Can this noisy, chaotic, indisciplined, diverse, democracy meet the test? Maybe, it can, Time will tell.