By Arré Bench Jul. 23, 2020
Covid-19 has held up a mirror to the level of economic disparity in India. In Gummer village in Himachal Pradesh, a poor man was forced to sell his cow (his only source of income) for ₹6,000 so he could buy a smartphone for the online studies of his two children.
The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a severe blow to people’s economic prospects. Things fundamental to life, like food, education and healthcare have also seen compromises. People have walked hundreds of kilometres to get home, been desperate in search of food and have done whatever they possibly can to ensure their kids get education and proper healthcare. In an incident that has come to light from Gummer village in Jwalamukhi, a poor man was forced to sell his cow (his only source of income) for ₹6,000 so he could buy a smartphone for the online studies of his two children.
— The Tribune (@thetribunechd) July 23, 2020
Kuldip Kumar’s children Annu and Dippu study in class IV and class II respectively. Since the lockdown in March, schools have been shut and online classes are the norm. To keep up, there was pressure on Kuldip to arrange for a smartphone for his children. He approached banks and private lenders, but no one would lend him ₹6,000 because of his poor financial condition.
Teachers told Kuldip that he would need a smartphone for the children to continue their studies. He said he didn’t even have ₹500 and that arranging ₹6,000 would be quite a task. When all efforts to arrange money failed, he sold his cow for ₹6,000 and bought a smartphone for his children.
Cry, the Beloved Country pic.twitter.com/rkYgl5CEHu
— amit baruah (@abaruah64) July 23, 2020
MLA from Jwalamukhi, Ramesh Dhawala said he found it shocking that a man had to sell his cow to buy a phone for the sake of online studies of his children. He said he has directed the BDO and SDM to provide him financial help immediately.
Social media users expressed both their anger, and grief over this tragic story. Some people asked for contact details so they could personally help with donations or courier a smartphone. At least social media has been at the forefront of helping those in need, when these cases make it to the news.
Can we start some sort of crowdfund for him?
— Corona Pyaar Hai (@corona_hai) July 23, 2020
If you have his contact details I can courier a phone to him.
— Akshay Shah (@AR_Shah) July 23, 2020
Some asked the pertinent question of whether policy makers had factored in families without smartphones?
Wonder whether policy makers factor in families without smart phones. Do they talk to people working on the ground ?
— PatralekhaChatterjee পত্রলেখা চ্যাটার্জী (@patralekha2011) July 23, 2020
Are we just leaving some people behind?
I was just debating with my brother, for the sake of country(the rhetoric) we have forgotten its people, Kashmirs, poor n marginalized. “Asgard is not a place, Asgard is where our people stand”
— Manish Ranjan (@manishranjan) July 23, 2020
The bitter truth is that the pandemic has exposed our systems and infrastructures around education and healthcare.
Pathetic situation 😕🙆😢 covid has showed us how bad Indian systems are and how brutal our infrastructures are 😱
— VK ⋈ (@vamsiexplores) July 23, 2020
Spokesperson for the Congress, Nivedith Alva pointed out how many people didn’t have jobs during lockdown and yet are being expected to pay full fees for education. How will they afford it?
The current online schooling system during #COVID19 is built around the assumption that neither / one parent doesn’t work while schools are closed.
So you should be jobless to supervise kids & yet be able to pay the fees. Govt/courts silent.
Is it a nexus with pvt schools?
— Nivedith Alva (@nivedithalva) July 23, 2020
If there’s something we’ve learnt from the pandemic, it is that our systems have failed to take care of the most vulnerable in society. Whether it is in relation to jobs, education, or healthcare, as a society, we must ensure that nobody is left behind.