Has the family gained during corona times? The good, bad and the ugly of being quarantined at home

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There goes a renowned Burmese proverb “In times of test, family is the best”.

Social distancing and isolation has cornered people to their homes. Many public places are a sight of queer silence. Rebuke the Chinese virus!!Covid-19 pandemic has led to a paradigm shift in the work culture of people from working in public places, government offices, private companies etc. to working at home.

From ancient civilisations to the modern society, a family is considered as a unit of community and families all together create a nation. Family is a place where there is love and harmony among its members. Due to the corona crisis, the government had to nudge the people to stay in their homes in an effort to contain the virus. This has led to an apparent flagging of the economy.

“Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten”

                                                                                              -Stitch in Lilo and Stitch

On the boon side, the pandemic has resulted in quality family time. It has become fruitful to many working professionals, students who missed eating their mother’s cooked food at home while living in another city. People who were stressed due to work and depressed have become relieved and happy due to family bonding. It has ushered eradication of loneliness of the elderly and their grandchildren by daily chit-chats. Many unresolved disputes over petty issues in the family have resolved by mutual understanding and created a sense of unity.

Family bonding has made the citizens more unflappable and emotionally strong to fight off the ongoing crisis and emerge as a victor.

“In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony”

                                                                                -Friedrich Nietzsche

The bad part is the rise in unemployment and the looming threat of hunger due to the pandemic. There has been loss of many lives; many people lost their near ones. Due to the lockdown, many private firms had to lay off its employees. Unemployment rate reached an all-time peak high at 23.50 percent in April, 2020. The Chinese virus has hit the pockets of the poor and the middle class families. Firstly, the financial burden of many families has risen due to online education of their kids. Families had to buy laptops and phones for their school kids to assist continuation of their education. Secondly, due to the sudden lockdown imposed by the government many parents and their children are forced to live separately. Many tourists across the globe are left stranded in foreign nations due to travel restrictions. Thirdly, within the family, if a person gets infected, there is a risk of whole family getting infected with the disease which has led to cutting of many joint families into nuclear families. It is being assumed that in post pandemic world many more joint families will segregate into nuclear families.

“To empower a woman is to empower her children, her family and her community. The smartest investment we can make is in women. Women must have the freedom and the possibility to decide who they are”

                                                                                                    -Barbara Bush

The ugly side of quarantining is being seen apparently as the exacerbated violence against women. The National Commission for Women reported a twofold rise in domestic violence reporting by victims. The evils of the idea of patriarchy and superiority complex in men has always haunted progress in our society and made women vulnerable leading to gender inequity. Domestic violence is an outcome of regressive mindset, which mirrors our society, on the basis of gender.

The much spoken line ‘Stay home, stay safe’ is in itself a paradox for women who have been abused by their intimate partners at home. Due to the ongoing crisis, women are locked in with their abusers 24×7 and in many cases are unable to escape and find shelter due to the strict restrictions of lockdown.

The government, non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), women leaders and religious group leaders should instigate proper steps to safeguard the rights of women.

The government should strive to take out a policy to tackle the situation and ensure family strengthening. Employment generation, cash assistance by banks, feeding the poor, consolidating healthcare systems by government can aid families in this time of crisis. We can also consider the concept of ‘support bubble’ which started first in New Zealand and has been implemented by other nations like the UK and Canada.

“Families are like fudge -mostly sweet with a few nuts”

-Palak Nayar

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