It is the time to remember the great personalities like Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, who is the architect of the Indian constitution on his 129th birth anniversary. Hailed from the bottom of society and risen above the society, Dr. Ambedkar is the spirit of the nation. Dalit leaders like Jyotiba Phule, BR Ambedkar, Periyar, and Kanshi Ram, to unveil the atrocities of casteism. In this context, we must realize that language shapes cultures and societies and leaves an imprint on history. Words and phrases for fighting COVID-19 should not leave a legacy whose reversal will require a similar struggle. “Social distancing” has a caste connotation. It must urgently be replaced by “physical distancing.”
Viruses and bacteria do not discriminate, but society does. Societal structures shaped by oppressive structural forces of casteism, classism, communalism, elitism, and patriarchy render a certain section vulnerable. HIV disproportionately afflicts the socially marginalized injection drug users, commercial sex workers, and homosexual men. Similarly, malaria kills geographically marginalized Adivasis and forest dwellers, and tuberculosis excessively plagues the economically marginalized. The spread of COVID-19 will be no different, but we have an opportunity to change this. If we want to avoid this pattern with COVID-19, the time to act is now.
Balraj Nune BJP Central Coordinator, New Delhi (Telangana State)