Admittedly, life has been tough for Indians ever since the coronavirus pandemic struck the world’s 2nd-most populous nation.
Already, more than 13,000 people have died on account of the virus in India, as per federal government data. Job losses, even in the absence of any definitive study on the subject, could be higher, with a nationwide lockdown to reduce community spread of the novel coronavirus shuttering almost all business establishments, except for those operating in critical healthcare or in the essential goods and services categories, from March 25 till earlier this month.
Despite these negatives, however, and even after factoring in the recent spike in the number of COVID-19 infections in the country, it is not all gloom and doom in India.
Indians continue to be cautiously optimistic about a better future because they realize that even a complete economic washout of one year owing to the contagion would not be able to take away the long-term strengths that a nation with a population of more than 1.3 billion and an economy worth over $2 trillion possesses in terms of market size and headroom for growth. As also the fact that the pandemic may likely lead to a quicker introduction of game-changing social and economic policy measures, that, going forward, could markedly improve the quality of living in India, where authorities recently announced a stimulus package valued at almost 10% of the country’s GDP to get all engines of the economy back into top gear.
The alacrity with which citizens have adapted to the requirements of the ‘new normal’ world, that we inhabit today, has mirrored this positivity. And, at the same time, demonstrated their willingness to embrace change, and play a proactive role in creating the tomorrow which they would like to see instead of needlessly obsessing over what further upheaval the virus may cause.
The question that one may naturally ask reading this is whether the manifest confidence displayed by Indians during this trying period could be put down to their either not entirely grasping the dangers posed by the virus or them deliberately turning a blind eye to reality.
Far from it. People in India have comprehended, just as others elsewhere (including in the developed world), how serious the coronavirus problem is. However, they have, simultaneously, recognized that wallowing in despondency is not going to help, when, in the absence of a vaccine, the need of the hour is to be more resolute in our collective will to do everything possible to mitigate the damage that the virus may cause.
Indians, across socio-economic profiles and irrespective of what they do or where they stay, have clearly understood that the battle against COVID-19 is going to be long and hard, and one in which all of them need to stand up and be counted. But, like true soldiers fighting the good fight, they are giving it their all, convinced that their efforts would eventually bear fruit, and, also lead to the emergence of a more robust and economically self-reliant India showing the way to other nations on how people-power, combined with the zeal to succeed, can overcome the toughest of challenges.