IntroductionThere are many things that we always do. Most of the things that we do are good things. We often do some bad or undesirable things, and even without our knowledge. Nevertheless, the positive and good things always have a multiplier effect on society. These good and simple tasks that we all need to do, for healthy social harmony and relationships, are a) Apologizing for our mistakes b) Always sincerely helping others c) Giving support to the unorganized sector d) Helping the distracted get back to normal lives and e) Guiding the youth in constructive ways.
Apologizing for our mistakesThis is one big lesson that I learned some two decades ago. The organization I worked for had sponsored me to a sensitivity training program. It is still called T-group training. A group of people, who are all strangers sit together and keep discussing what happens to them in a "here and now" situation. There is no set agenda. The facilitator chips in with some guidance, only if required. The sessions are very intense and they bring out the best in people in terms of making them aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Nor apologizing for mistakes was clearly identified as my weaknesses. Over a period of time, I perfected this task, not only at home but with my subordinates in many organizations. To this day, this simple task has often helped me to tide over some problem or the other.
Always sincerely helping othersAfter COVID-10 is seen to be taking a big toll on our lives, we need to really help others. Particularly, the poor and the weak. When people have no means of survival, social consequences are bound to be really tough. One cannot blame anyone for stealing now. The best option is to do whatever we can to alleviate the suffering of the poor. One of the simple methods that I and a few close friends follow is to not bargain with anyone who sells on a retail basis. It can be fruits, or groceries, or vegetables. The poor traders, most of whom are simply starving now, have taken to selling something door to door. Even if the prices are high since I belong to an upper-middle-class family with adequate resources, I buy from them. My friends also do so.
Giving support to the unorganized sectorSix wives of workers, who are now facing a wage freeze in the company they are working for, have formed a self-help group. They have been trained to seek some support from the local branch of a nationalized branch. One of the husbands of the woman has taken a big risk to mortgage his house and help set up the business. My task is to motivate them. One of the things that we have now done is to identify all the bachelor boys who are now suffering for food to have food, only in the small eatery that the self-help group women have started. They have started also manufacturing sweets and ready-made powders. Door-to-door marketing with the executives and the supervisors of the local organizations has already started. The self-help women also double in in certain other activities. They also sell flowers in the evening to households.
My role has been to simply act as a catalyst. Once the virus scare is removed, the Chennai trainers have promised to give fresh ideas for related businesses. The workmen are happy that something is being attempted. It is just twenty days now, and the bachelors are hooked to the quality of the food. Some attempts are being made to bring in more customers. Apart from this, the self-help group is also helping the local police in drawing up the big circles in front of many public places, for social distancing, as the restrictions on the shops being open is likely to be eased in mid-May.
Yes, today it is a crisis situation. However, women have now realized that there is no more free lunch. Only one of the six is a graduate. After the restrictions are lifted, a similar group functioning elsewhere has promised to help them understand how they can scale up and also get some technical training help. However, we need hundreds of such self-help groups. The women are habituated to just watching TV serials. When they have now realized the tough times are likely to last for another two years, they have started to see reason. In the years to come, only such help to the informal sector can make a difference. They will at least earn more than survival profits and when they scale up, their profits are likely to be decent.
Helping the distracted get back to normal livesThe illicit liquor trade is back in action. The television images are very disturbing. Domestic violence has also increased. Fortunately, there are several social-minded psychologists and trained counselors who are ready to offer free advice, now over a cell phone. Even video calls are being done to counsel the distracted. Whatever help that we can do to such families is always welcome.
Even in the post-COVID phase, these social ills are likely to continue. The only difference is that the booze will be from the Government-sponsored shops. It is virtually impossible to stop this menace. What can be done is to minimize the magnitude of the problem and ensure that they distracted are brought back to normal life, as far as possible. The hundreds of simple ways to make money on their own have to be taught to them, as the contract employment and even casual employment, will be totally gone.
For decades, I have been helping such people. I always refer them only to experts. I do not have much experience in direct counseling, though I have been trained to some extent. However, the other HR tasks consumed more than the available time and I had to endure the 18-hour work schedules. Now that I have some free time on my hands, I am trying to do a bit more, in a few more cases and also enlist the support of fellow professionals. It is always a big challenge. There are no ready-made answers, The one size fits all approaches that do not work at all.
Guiding the youth in constructive waysThere is a highly fragmented society today in India. We have a big narrative that is appreciated ( very, unfortunately, that is) by many belonging to the majority community. The youth, who will be very vulnerable to even take to crime to satisfy their hunger, would need to be guided properly. The only wise thing to be done is to identify any slot that they can get in the troubled phase -- that is, the post-COVID phase, starting November 2020, when there will be restrictions, but more freedom to get jobs in sectors that will open up. This could even be agriculture, as the reverse migration process is likely to begin. Let us guide the youth that every job is worth its salt and there is no scope for egos in this environment. Another area is the marriage market, which will be open up. Ye, only one hundred guests may be allowed and the police will come calling. Even the bride and the bridegroom may wear masks. Yet, the restrictions can only ease after Jan 2021, by which time our own traditional medicine would have found its way to hospitals all over the country. Already, there are encouraging reports that traditional Indian medicine has even worked in many pockets. These trends are likely to continue.
ConclusionBased on real-world observations and experiences, a few good and simple tasks for social harmony and relationships have been discussed above. It should be noted that the list is only indicative. However, the most important ones, given the current situation, have been discussed above.
Very good write up from the author. I agree with the ideas of the author. One should always try to do good things and helping others. When we help the needy, the blessing we get from them will make us overcome many difficulties in our lives. If we are harming somebody and if they are cursing us, we will definitely experience the effect of such thought. As a human being, we know we have desires and we have to get them fulfilled. As long as those desires are good and will not disturb anybody else, we need not worry and we will get good results out of it.