Tuesday, March 21, 2023
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An Indian teenager’s guide to the pandemic, politics and other issues

Campus Voice is an initiative by ThePrint where young Indians get an opportunity to express their opinions on a prevalent issue.

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How does humanity cope with unforeseen situations? It changes.

This principle has been true for almost all of human history. There’s a saying that “change is the only constant” and I too have changed. I’m certainly not who I was a year ago, and a big part of it has to do with the mechanisms I employed to cope with the pandemic.

This mainly consisted of a terrible sleep schedule, which, in hindsight, is not what I should have been doing.

Ignoring the pandemic isn’t as unhealthy as one might think, at least not to me. I prefer online classes since I get to play video games on a new computer I got in July. For a 13-14-year-old, life is rather good, other than the fair share of daily problems.

Impact on career choices, relationships

As for an impact on my career, I certainly could focus on my studies a lot more and try to use my free time to learn more useful skills, which I have certainly not been doing.

I have more resources available to me than most people, as my father likes to point out, not that I’m complaining.

But when one combines that with the almost fanatical amount of reading I do, whether it be published or ramblings on the internet, it has perhaps not had the best impact on me.

The pandemic has affected relationships as well. The people I interact with in real life, are mainly my family members, I moved schools right before lockdown, and as I’ve said before, I prefer online classes to physical ones.

The friends I have are all online and as a result, I can play with them on most days. Relationship-wise, things can’t get better with my friends.

Government response

In the early days, when almost nothing was known about the virus, even more so in India, everyone was rife with speculation that India would come out without experiencing the worst of Covid-19.

A supposed in-built immunity and the high summer temperatures on the subcontinent would all help the country escape relatively unaffected, and magically throw the invaders out.

These unverified expectations led not only to a neglect of early precautionary measures like contact tracing (and not just screening) of travellers returning from abroad, but also to the expression of pseudo-scientific opinions on containing the virus by religious leaders who marketed ‘cures’ to the more uneducated and unknowing.

India’s neighbours, job and climate change

I am of the opinion that clashes with neighbouring countries could be handled better by India, but were ultimately inevitable, with neither side giving up their stance.

Many advocate for a more extreme policy towards China, others a more forgiving policy. If one side is taken, the other side will obviously be displeased, but a more forgiving policy, would only encourage neighbours to make higher demands.

Meanwhile, the government can possibly tackle unemployment in India by encouraging more innovative private sectors and foreign investment by major technological companies to improve Indian industries and in turn, increase hiring of local workers.

Compulsory education should also be raised from 6-14 to 6-18, so that more students can pursue college degrees or higher.

More investments need to be made in the education sector, including granting scholarships to underprivileged members of society and partnering with ed-tech companies to promote education.

Finally, climate change is obviously a major problem in today’s world, and I believe that the enactment of new policies to limit carbon emissions as well as promotion of more energy positive items, such as electric cars by foreign companies such as Tesla could help with this.

Perhaps my views are a bit naïve, but which teenager’s views are not.

Anirudh Vijayaraman is a student of Arsha Vidya Mandir, Chennai

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