The Financial Express

Looking to a new era after clouds are gone

Shihab Sarkar   | Published: April 23, 2020 21:37:26 | Updated: April 25, 2020 21:56:55

Looking to a new era after clouds are gone

A time spent without any fruitful work is considered sheer waste of time. Nature has never had a mechanism to bring back a certain period of lost time --- especially misspent time. Many a golden chunk in one's life is thus wasted in futilities. Although most of this wasted time is not the making of certain individuals, or communities, it is them who are made to pay the price. Never before in their lives in Bangladesh have they ever thought of this style of falling victim to such a barren period. Viewing universally, this happens to few people in their entire lifetime.

The predicament turns unbearably painful when one caught in it finds none to put blames on. When a contagious disease forces man into home isolation for an indefinite period, their conscience prevents them from raising any objection. It is for the welfare of the communities. The general people also belong to those. In most of the cases, the state authorities enforce the order for people to go into isolation. The express goal of this measure is the containment of a pandemic virus --- in the present context the novel coronavirus.

Now that exile into home has become a global phenomenon, the masses have few options except complying with it. Many have accepted the order grudgingly, while others blame their stars for being in existence at this juncture of the century. While passing time in sheer futilities, many of them weigh the losses they may have to count in the future. For many this time-waste may emerge as nightmares of missed opportunities. An entrepreneur or a business person might be found ruing the highly favourable period that had been lost in the abyss of stay-at-home order. The anguishes of the vulnerable business segments might keep increasing over the thought that these golden times they have missed may not return in the future.

The reality, however, is few sensible persons nurture the foolhardiness to defy the order of remaining shut at home. For defiance will result in myriad types of hazards, mainly health-related, for themselves and their families, and also communities. Humanity has not been caught in such a dilemmatic situation in the immediate past. There are few occupations which will not bear the brunt of this order of self-exile. One of the social segments which appear to emerge unscathed from this plight is the creative people. Traditionally, they are viewed as preferring solitude and seclusion to attachment with people --- be they family members or acquaintances outside. In fact, this is a mistaken notion and far from reality. A true creative person cannot remain engaged in his or her work for long without human company. Ranging from pre-Christian Greek and Roman poets Homer and Virgil to Valmiki or Kalidasa in ancient India, not a single poet could have composed their epics in states of seclusion.

Association with people and the knowledge of different human sagas are among the prerequisites for pursuing creative careers. The exception was the pre-historic artist who would spend his time drawing hunting scenes on the walls of a hidden cave. He did not need mentors and companions for encouragement. These cave artistes apparently had no idea that creations are meaningless unless they are appreciated by connoisseurs. Yet their productions could not escape the notice of admirers. They may have managed to keep themselves far from human presence while doing their art work; but their creations could not escape wonder-struck admirers later. In the process, the primitive artists' contributions to the culture of cave paintings could not remain far from the focus of researchers.

The fulcrum of the whole episode is creativity cannot reach the desired fruition if an artist is engaged in his or her work without the presence of humans. Short spells of self-spun desolation can help one to have glimpses of fantastic ideas. But mere ideas are not enough. They cannot lead a modern author or a painter to the cherished goal of producing a satisfying work. Human presence coupled with all the bustle of life is a sine qua non for creative activities. Against this backdrop, engaging in creative pursuits while in home confinement is feared to disillusion the people disposed to creativity. In reality, these people are more vulnerable to being hurt compared to those busy with mundane affairs. But this particular state of being stuck in a shutdown cannot be termed conclusive, as people involved in non-creative activities like business and employment are also likely to feel bruised. They may not feel the ecstasy of creation; but business losses, anxieties over reduced salaries and even joblessness continue to haunt them. The latter dominate the Bangladesh society.

Despite the bite of the ongoing shutdown cutting deeper into the lifestyle of the country's city residents, most of them have begun accepting the need for the order. Given the global nature of the coronavirus scourge, following the norms of the shutdowns is fast becoming a national imperative on the part of the citizens. The countrywide shutdown, coupled with social distancing, completes nearly a month today in Bangladesh. Due to the month-long closure of all socio-economic as well as cultural and literary activities, a mood of psychological deadlock has crept into every segment of the country's life. The forward-looking people do not fail to identify the rays of a fresh beginning for the nation after the fallout of the current ordeal settle down. The stringent measures put in place have one unwavering goal: weathering the crisis without going through the sufferings that normally accompany and, later, follow unexpected scourges.

People's staying indoors for weeks in a row has been necessitated by their dormant yearning for bathing in the glow of a fresh sun. The nation has passed through many an ordeal in the past. At times all its gains achieved through utilising its collective talent and putting to use its utmost efforts and drives threatened to come to naught. The country has learnt to cope with series of political turmoil and bouts of economic stagnation. Amid these crises, many have adopted a resigned stance. A lot of others took the resolve of not to give in without a fight. To the delight of the optimists, it's them who remained dominant. The surge of the global pandemic which came crashing down on the land filled with fragilities, will, hopefully, weaken before it assumes an apocalyptic character. People's unified stance against the scourge in cooperation with each other can make many impossible things possible.

What's badly needed in this situation is an unwaveringly united commitment to defeat the enemy --- no matter how formidable it is. In order to get rid of the now-unassailable scourge of a deadly virus, the nation should not waste time to join the global camaraderie. Unless it puts its name on the list of nations waging or about to wage a war on Covid-19, all its promises and pledges might go to waste.

The most critical issue that is now written in bold letters is 'sacrifice'. It is sacrifice for saving one's own self and also the selves of mankind. The people are suffering in silence, with worse times looming large. Midway through the global fight, the nation should be made aware of the better times unfolding in the mist of future. None can say happy times will not visit the world once again.  With creativity gone for the time being, even the most unlikely persons like the authors and painters are now prepared to sing the new International, "The world shall overcome …" Bad days visited the world many times in the past. But then new political systems evolved, and the economy adopted new rules. Most significantly, visionary generations have continued to emerge everywhere. This global trend has kept going without pause.




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