Living with the new normal and normalising aberrations

The world community has by now learned how to adjust to lockdowns and associated difficulties. The changing facets of day-to-day existence are not going to be the same anymore.

Nations across the globe are making efforts to learn, live, and adjust their daily lives to the new normal in the post-COVID-19 phase. The world community has by now learned how to adjust to lockdowns and associated difficulties. The changing facets of day-to-day existence are not going to be the same anymore.

Observers have noted that even if the lockdown opens up in most parts of the world, one would think twice in scheduling a journey by a flight, train or surface transport. One’s social outlook is also bound to change as the new normal settles. Some spheres of life will no longer be the same. For instance, one will now resort to lower consumption; children will be now used to home-schooling; office goers will continue to work from home; business will now see the acceleration of digital transformation; governments will deliver its services using online media. The list can go on and on.

Before the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, most informed citizens were also familiar with the traumatic experience of normalizing aberrations, albeit in a different way. In some sense, one had been inadvertently preparing how to live with abnormal times and situations. When one closely scrutinizes the contours of recent history, there are adequate pieces of evidence to suggest that the ruling class had been made to learn the intricacies of governing the ungovernable through acquired values rather than inculcated practices. In the post-COVID-19 phase, the experience will stay but may acquire a different outlook.     

Earlier, while making efforts to fulfill certain visions necessitated by choosing the correct path to development, envisioned objectives were rarely achieved despite the adoption of ideal techniques of implementing policy related programmes by the governments.

In the process of executing the set agenda of the states, societies in transition are often caught in a kind of dilemma mistaking the means as the end, putting to shame staunch proponents of the efficacy of the legislature, the executive and even the judiciary, the three organs of the state. The situation may remain the same while living with the new normal given the fact that it has become the norm for not only India but also developing nations in the post-colonial period to attach certain values to the organs of the state.  

While underplaying the value of the legislature by distancing oneself from politics of contemporary times, sections of the citizens subjectively overvalue the role of the executive or the judiciary. In India for instance, a person who aspires to become a bureaucrat after overcoming the grueling exercise of passing the annual civil services examinations fetches accolades from the society he or she belongs to. The value attached to becoming a bureaucrat at times has been so much overemphasized as if bureaucracy is an end in itself.

The outlook may remain but its manifestation may change. Thus, the raison d'être of playing a role as the means to an end diminishes. When the citizens are made to see the means as an end and there are no efforts to correct the lopsided vision, aberrations of the worst kind are spawned. This leads to further distortion of the procedural approach and as a result, one can easily bypass norms of governance by adopting practices considered anathema to all types of visions. Here, one should be reminded that desiring a radical change will have less impact if the practices of normalizing aberrations continue to afflict society in transition. However, will learning to live with the new normal be as traumatic or as easy as normalizing aberrations? Time will tell.

 
 
 

 

First Published: July 15, 2020, 12:04 a.m.