Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Questions posed by Coronavirus

There is an alarming prevalence of the coronavirus(COVID-19) all over the world. On the one hand, it is important to take precautions. On the other hand, it is important to learn great lessons from it. What questions has Corona posed to the human world? What lessons a country like Nepal which is culturally diverse and economically backward, should learn? I will try to examine in this article. 

Questions posed to the world

Humans are the product of nature. We cannot go against nature. We are being infected with various diseases from time to time. What is a disease? How it is caused? According to Richard Lieban, "Health and diseases are measures of the effectiveness with which human groups, combings cultural and biological resources adapt to their environment." The more we adapt to nature, the healthier we become. The more adverse, the sicker we become. Disease indicates how we deal with nature. The more we destroy the environment, the more unhealthy we become. Disease is a measure of adaptability. 
The appearance of the corona is an indication that our relationship with nature is not harmonious. It is an indication of our deplorable demolition of the environment(nature). Why we are exploiting the environment? The answer is - for development. Are we really developed? Is it destruction or development? Corona has raised serious questions to the world. Currently, our scrambling behavior on development is facing serious questions.

There has never been such a fear in the world because of the virus. There is an unimaginable lockdown. Every house is turned into a prison as if we are prisoners suffering from the punishment of exploitation to nature. Science and technology have made a quantum leap. But we are not being safe. Corona has questioned our stereotypes about the development of science and technology. It seems we are being blind to welcome development, aren't we? Corona has shown explicitly we are ringing due to emptiness, not of holistic development. 

Millions of years ago, there was a stone age. In that age, there was no development of science and technology like today. Yet, humans were more healthier. Development is for survival. Has development not lost our health? Serious questions tend to stir. According to anthropologist Marshal Shallin, people were much affluent in the stone age than in industrial age. Has the world developed or destroyed? Corona raises the question.

What lessons should Nepal learn?

Nepal is a country with a different ethnic community. All community have their own culture. Culture bridges human and nature. According to Julien steward,-"Culture and environment are not separate spheres, but a kind of constant interplay exists between these." But we are eroding our culture for development. The impacts are severe. What happens when the culture is lost? It should be kept in mind that the loss of culture breaks down the harmonious relationship between humans and the environment. When harmony loses, it welcomes unwelcome crises and catastrophes. Culture should not be destroyed for so-called development.

In rural areas of Nepal, the roads are constructed haphazardly without proper design causing environmental destruction. We have no any calculation of how the dozer for road construction is affecting our environment in an unimagined way? How new technologies are destroying our culture? We have a diversity of culture. We should preserve diversity to prevent crises like the corona in the future. 

Reading this article may arise a question, how culture helps to maintain a harmonious relationship with the environment? I would like to present an example. Bhangra is the traditional dress of the Gurung community which is made up of the Himalayan giant nettle(Nai polo, in local language). It is found at a high altitude of 1500-3000 meters. Bhangra material, nettle, is of very distinctive characteristic. Every year the more we cut nettle, the more it grows well. The increase in population demands more bhangra. 

To fulfill those needs, gurungs do not exploit the environment. Once a year, they select a favorable day to cut nettle by their cosmological analysis while on other days, it is strictly prohibited. On one hand, they cut nettle for bhangra, and on the other hand, they allow nettle to grow well. This is how Gurung culture is playing a vital role to harmonize with the environment. They manage their increased population without disturbing the ecosystem. 


The above is just an example. Every culture of the ethnic group has art, knowledge, and skills of conserving the environment. We should investigate and utilize them to balance the ecosystem. Development cannot sustain by destructing nature. No nature, no human. The more we destroy nature, the more nature destroys us. Corona has taught us this lesson. This does not mean that development is not necessary. Development should be friendly with culture and environment. Let's preserve the culture. Let’s not exploit nature. Let's avoid crisis like Corona.


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