NationalVOLUME 15 ISSUE # 17

Positives of lockdown

As the ravages of the coronavirus continue in Pakistan and the world and the almost entire globe is in lockdown, there are positive vibes of the situation, particularly for countries like Pakistan.

In the prevailing situation triggered by the continued spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, there has been a lockdown in the length and breadth of the country. Although the lockdown has negatively impacted the economy of Pakistan, yet it has put quite wholesome effects on society, social etiquettes and the thinking process despite certain miniscule negative impacts. On the other hand, the wholesome effects which the lockdown has put on the environment are ineffable and for the first time people have come to realise how beautiful is their environment and country. Therefore, the experiences of the people during the lockdown period would have an extensive positive impact on social norms and the environment.

Insofar as the positive impact of the COVID-19-triggered lockdown is concerned, there are multiple effects of the situation. The foremost is that people have reluctantly developed a habit of staying at home. Otherwise, in general it has been a long-standing habit of Pakistanis that most of them do not spend time at home. This has been primarily due to the environment prevailing at homes and squeezed social space available to the households, whether for males or females. However, as only males are at liberty to go outside, they have been spending a considerable amount of their time outside home. The negative impact of the practice has been that males have not been taking much interest in improving the environment and settings of their respective homes whereas females, who are quite powerless, could not have the wherewithal to contribute positively to improving the environment at homes. Now when for the first time males have been compelled to stay at home for long periods of time, they are coming to realize the issues and problems of their homes and even unwillingly are ready to address them.

The aimless wandering of a large number of males outside their homes has been the cause of many problems. The problems range from overcrowding in bazaars and roads to harassing of women to environmental degradation. The aimless wandering of a huge number of boys and men outside their homes and their forced stay at home has made one feel that even roads, markets and streets could be very serene places if the situation continues. Devoid of any skill and enterprising spirit, many males have opted to establish shops as an easy way to earn little income and largely to spend their daytime outside. Thus, the basic aim of a huge number of shopkeepers in Pakistan’s every province has not been to have a business and source of income but to have an escapist abode to kill time.

The situation has given rise to small and medium-sized shops instead of properly-managed malls and shopping centres and it has made entire society and the country look like a marketplace. The situation has its own negative repercussions for society and people. The biggest impact of it is extensive and voracious consumerism. This consumerism has made most people downright materialist, devoid of human sensibilities like love, compassion and consideration for fellow humans. In a society where most of the people immersed themselves or the environment compels them to become ultra-materialist, it is not at all conducive to human habitation. Now when all shops around the country are closed, save which sell staples, the people have started and should realize that their lives could very much be good without all these unnecessary items. Although one could criticize the statement on the basis that a large number of people’s livelihoods are linked to closed-down businesses, yet human lives and welfare is far more important than businesses and livelihoods. When all these businesses of unnecessary items were not there, the world was a far more secure, safe and clean place.

In Pakistan, a very important social, economic and even political problem is the huge population of the country. Apart from other key reasons, one very important cause of the population explosion is that men have near-total control over reproductive health and females have been quite powerless while the latter have to bear the burden of rearing several children without having the capacity to do so. So when for the first time, men are compelled to stay at time for an extended time period, they must come to realize that how difficult it is to spend time with many children. This must convince them of the benefits of a few children and a small family. In other words, men must share the feelings and problems of their wives with regard to children’s upbringing, which may make many men not to have several children.

A small family and a home with social space for all members, which could only be possible with a lesser number of households, could be the cause of multiple positive trends in society. These include children in such households to be more intuitive, inquisitive and inventive. A society having such children in a large number could only expect to have development in various sectors. On the other hand, in Pakistan society where most children are reared in homes where they do not have social space so as to be inventive and instead they are struck by multiple deprivations, develop multiple frustrations which not only distort their personalities but also are a source of many social conflicts.

The lockdown against our will has made almost all of us quite disciplined in every way, right from personal hygiene to social distancing to participation in unnecessary social activities. Such a disciplined life was much-needed and long-required. As a people, Pakistanis could not develop disciplined habits despite it is one of the main pillars of the national motto, Unity, Faith, Discipline, because of total lack of direction and control from above. Now when the direction and control from the state authorities is making the people develop and the fear of contagions is also playing a role in it, one hopes the discipline would go along with many people in the rest of their lives which would have wholesome effects on society. God-created nature has a splendid balance and when human actions disturb the balance, the nature responds to restore the equilibrium, so the coronavirus may be the result of irreparable damage inflicted by humans on nature.