ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ethics of Naming the Sufferings


In the context of the havoc that COVID-19 is being ­allowed to play with the lives of lakhs of people, one witnesses two emergent responses, out of which one is interesting while the other is instructive. The response from the government is interesting in the sense that the grounds it chooses to avoid the question of responsibility appear to be unintelligible to a sensible person. The government seems to have advised its party functionaries to spread the message of positive work that the government has done with regard to controlling the pandemic. The government also expects common ­people to be positive in their attitude to life even during the pandemic. Thus, the government has put the language of hope before the language of despair.

However, we need to understand that the question of hope has moral validity only in the conditions where a person, agency or organisation has exhausted all their options to control or solve the problem such as the current health crisis. But can one say that, in the case of the current pandemic, the government has made adequate efforts to exhaust all the resources to offer relief and respite to the people from the health crisis that continues to loom large? Putting focus on hope, which, no doubt, has some emotional appeal, by implication, seeks to deflect the attention of people from an important question: Who should take the responsibility for an unprecedented surge of the virus? The question of taking responsibility is important but seems to have been rendered by some to be ambiguous, abstract and anonymous. A section of ­Indian media sought to attribute failure to control the virus to the system. While others reduced the whole suffering to the matter of fate wrapped in despair and, hence, advised common people to be hopeful.

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Updated On : 29th May, 2021
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