DailyPost 1653

Gunnar Myrdal in his book the Asian Drama came with the political concept of the Soft State, where the governance of the countries did have the guts and gumption to decide on issues in the real interest of the nation and its population. A very dangerous trend one would say. We in South Asia have been living through the Soft State for the last five decades or more, to slowly reach another watershed moment in history, where we visibly see the withering of the state. State means state power, to decide on anything it is mandated to, inclusive of war. It taking hard decisions has not been the destiny of our governments, taking decisions and not having the will implement or to keep watching while everything withers away, can only be called a curse we have to live with.

The degeneration is so conspicuous that it would not be missed by even a totally non-political eye. The sad irony is that the withering away of the real State would be preceded by the decimation of the welfare of the electorate, the supreme power and for whom the State exists. While India records the highest one tally of COVID-19 infections, crossing one lakh mark, the biggest of the politicians are busy campaigning in the poll bound states. No government has also reacted. Not a word from any of them, even when restricting to political executives only. Everything has become a data. How much more unfortunate can it be?

After 13/14 months of misery, we remain where we are! The withering away of the state cannot be more apparent when first we kept on opening up everything in the fond hope that things would unfold as we desire and dream. Then the people also opened up way beyond what the governments had opened up for them. The governments and people thought these to be administrative decisions. Viruses don’t respect administrative decisions. When lockdowns can be implemented for months, does the State not have the wherewithal to implement COVID-19 appropriate behavior? If it can’t, it can’t run the State. State does not run on fake goodwill. It runs only on the capability to decide, plan, execute and deliver.

After having the fun of the COVID-19 inappropriate behavior, the Vaccine arrived. Everything seemed hunky dory as we were launching the world’s most ambitious vaccination program; supplies, logistics, spread and expertise at the State’s command. Had this progressed as we dreamt or desired, we could have declared our earlier failures as successes. That is another great trait which emerges when the State gets into the process of withering away. Instead of the vaccine drive gaining unstoppable steam, Vaccine Hesitancy seems to have become the fad. We are lost in the Virus Wilderness. The State still watches on. The courage of the State to behave like a State, is the power of the State.


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