Prepare for Robust Future Defence from Pandemics- Kulpati Prof PB Sharma

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By Kulpati Prof PB Sharma

Prof P B Sharma

As India and the nations around the globe hope for the slowdown of the third wave of Covid-19, the voices in the background are already alerting us for the fourth wave! They will then say the fifth is coming and so on. So the mute question is should we continue to live in fear and uncertainty or prepare for the ‘Robust Future Defence’ from pandemics of any kind? My considered opinion is that we as a nation and people of a great vibrant republic must prepare ourselves for the robust Self Defence for guarding our nation and ourselves against any future pandemics. In short, as we celebrate the 72nd Republic Day of our great nation, let ‘Be Future Ready’ be the mantra of self defence both at the individual as well as organizational and national levels.

What does this mean in real terms? We need to learn from the experiences of the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic and apply willingly the corrective actions on several fronts.

First and foremost, we need to recognize that the business as usual can not be allowed to continue anymore unless we are prepared to pay a heavy price for our acts or omissions and gross neglect of our responsibilities that demand sincerely of purpose in all aspects of human endeavors. Take of example that despite daily reciting the Vedic Mantra of Sarve Bhabantu Sukhina Sarve Santu Niramaya, we continue to mindlessly cultivate heaps of inequality and economic disparity by flowing along the mainstream of mass production cum massive consumption growth and development models that are now more than ever before prompted by lucrative digital marketing gimmicks that prompt us to possess plenty irrespective of the need or care and concern for those in need. So the first corrective action that I propose and that in my opinion is absolutely essential is that we need to now as rapidly as possible adopt ‘ Sustainable Consumption ‘ that is to possess only as much as required and consume only as much as needed. This will enable us, we the Indians to pay great reverence to the wisdom of our Vedic Sages and Seers who prescribed Aparigriha as the way of living a blissfully happy, and healthy life for one and all. It is doable and must be achieved by mass awakening and through education at all levels, I submit.

Second, the most important lesson learned from the Covid-19 pandemic is that Nature would heal itself by forcing brakes on our mindless growth and developmental strategies that grossly undermine the importance of a clean and healthy environment. So the second action urgently needed for future-readiness is to pay the most sincere attention to plan and practicing the Circular Economy pathways for growth and development. This will ensure Net Zero Emission compliance as also make our society, governance, industry, and businesses care for the people and the environment a lot better than ever before. This will also put in place greater responsibility for adopting recycling, Reuse, and Remanufacturing using the most advanced tools of scientific management. After all, who would know better than us, the Indians that the interest of man can not be better protected without protecting the interest of Mother Nature?

Make no mistake that a civilized society tomorrow will be judged not by its per capita income or per capita GDP but by its success to minimize waste and minimize the penalties that the development and growth awards to the environment. We need to now pay great attention to the quality of air, quality of water, quality of food, quality and safety of our workplace, quality of our neighborhood environment, and quality at all levels of our activities and services.

This would also mean that we need to apply a brake to moving fast in slow lanes, implement a great traffic sense and nurture a great civic sense, become more caring and compassionate, and in true sense the responsible citizenship of the New World that the post- Covid-19 world demanded.

Thirdly, to achieve the goal of effective implementation of the Circular Economy, we need to invest in future sciences and technologies that will empower us with great capabilities of growth and development without tears and with great success in Net Zero Emission assured Sustainable development. The government of the day and the corporates and industry must therefore seriously accelerate investments in future Science and future and rather miraculous technologies that shall emerge from research pathways of Integrative Sciences, and Convergence technologies that require a major shift in our investments in S&T for the future-ready self-reliance and self defence from future pandemics. Large data analytics, integrated AI, and a more profound understanding of blockchain and supply chain logistics management on one hand and aqua-agro-and microtechnologies of future need massive investment on outcome-based R&D in the universities and in R&D organisations. This would also necessitate aligning the purpose of Science and Technology to the purpose and goals of life. We need to ask ourselves whether the purpose of Science is to prove the superiority of man over all others or it is to live a life of bliss and happiness ensuring that no one is left behind. Those engaged in Science and technology pursuits must ask themselves this question and do a lot of introspection to discover the spiritual strength of science and the human face of technology that shall make Science and technology align themselves to the meaning and purpose of life.

Fourthly, education, including higher education has all along been considered as the most powerful weapon to solve and resolve all problems and wipe out ignorance and vices. Now that the power of knowledge has been better understood than ever before, much greater attention is required to be paid to fostering an educational environment that makes us future-ready to live a life free of ailments and disease and engage with selfless motive to build the world we wish to live with happiness and sustain this beautiful world for millions of years by paying out utmost attention to maintaining a healthy environment all around. India should invoke its age-old spiritual tenets of learning, working, and living in harmony with nature.

The Fifth and the last is to realise that the human life is the most precious gift of God Almighty and thus we need to utilise this unique opportunity to live a life full of Divine Bliss and blissful engagement for a good 100 years and more to make the Vedic proclamation of Jivem Sarada Satam, Pashyem Sarada Satam, and Bhuvem Sarada Satam become a reality for the 7 billion-plus people on the planet Mother Earth. India and Indian people with their deep-rooted commitment to ‘ Sarve Bhawantu Sukhina Sarve Santu Niramaya ‘ and their firm faith in the world as one family, as in Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam have the golden opportunity to make India heaven on earth and then lead the world by example and then make Mother India a real Viswa Guru of the New Age. Make no mistake in this new age you have to lead by example and not by just relishing the old glories and accomplishments of the ancient past.
The time has come when we need to echo the urgency of the practice of self-discipline, aatmasanyam, and self restrains and invests in creating individually and socially responsible behaviour in our society. As ultimately it is the people who matter, their integrity matters, and their work ethics and professional morals matter for sustaining a blissful world. We have for a long time let it be free for all and have paid a heavy price for the neglect of civic sense and integrity in public life. We can not afford to do so in India need to rebuild its society to the highest standards of human excellence. Now that we have submitted to the digital age, this aspect of human integrity can not be kept on the back burners anymore.

I leave you with these thoughts to prepare to celebrate the 72nd Republic Day of our great nation that awoke to freedom from foreign rule to redeem its tryst and resolve to be the world leader for creating a happy, blissful, and compassionate peaceful world that its founding fathers of Vedic Civilization have once created for the global humanity.

* Kulpati Prof PB Sharma is an eminent academician, Past President of the Association of Indian Universities AIU, Founder Vice-Chancellor of DTU and RGPV, and a former Professor of IIT Delhi currently Vice-Chancellor of Amity University Gurugram.