Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Indo-Nepal Relationship - History & Way Forward

I will begin with a question. Why did British never conquer Nepal? At its peak, the British Empire spread from Afghanistan to Thailand with only Nepal and Bhutan out of its ambit which is all the more surprising because of their strategic location. Occupying Nepal and Bhutan would have given a huge strategic advantage in containing China during the decade long Anglo-China wars (also known as Opium War). The theories about inhospitable terrain, Gurkha valor are peddled to create an image of invincibility etc which doesn't hold water. The reality is Nepal and Bhutan were not buffer states. Tibet was the buffer state between China and the British India and that fact changed after Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet in 1949-50. India turning a blind eye to this aggression was a blunder more Himalayan than the mistakes made in Kashmir. Tibet acting as a buffer state, Northern side of Himalaya being less porous than the southern side were the factors why British left Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan to themselves and were content with having a Resident in these capitals.

The idea of India as an ancient civilization and the boundaries of modern Indian state are two different things. The former dates couple of millennia and has boundaries that kept shrinking and expanding with varying frequency where as the latter is what the British handed over while exiting the subcontinent. Interesting fact is that there are territories and land parcels that were never part of the "idea of India" through the ages but were conjoined with the Indian state in 1947. For example much of North East was acquired by East India company from Burma and through British got added to India. Apart from references to Kamakhya, our ancient texts have no mention of any place or events in the North East, none of our literature has any characters from North East and so on. We don't even have to go too far in the past to figure out what India considers its territories. As late as 1911, when our national anthem was composed, it references all territories Indian (including Sindh which after partition is in Pakistan) but nonesoever in North East (not even Assam by the way). We can give benefit of doubt that Assam and Tripura were a part of the Bengal province, so they are kind of covered. But thats not true of other North Eastern states. The reason why I am belaboring this point is, that the 8 km tract of land that is currently disputed by Nepal is one such land parcel that was not a part of India historically. British won it in the Anglo-Nepal war and ever since it has remained in India.

The "1950 Indo-Nepal Treat of Peace and Friendship" Article 8 "invalidates and cancels all previous Treaties, agreements, and engagements entered into on behalf of India between the British Government and the Government of Nepal". This was a landmark treaty and is the basic framework in Indo-Nepal cooperation and multiple smaller agreements on river water sharing, financial packages, arms supply agreements have branched out from here. This treaty envisaged reciprocal open border (compared with Indians need a domestic visa called Inner Line Permit while visiting 4 north eastern states), property rights, participational in economic activity to the citizen of both the states (something that Indians don't have in multiple places within the country by the way - Andaman, Lakshadweep, Uttarakhand, Ladhak, Kashmir, Nort East). Among other details, this treaty magnaminously created provison for settling boundary disputes amicably. This clause is very likely to be quoted by Nepal during negotiations or international arbitration when it comes to that.

Cultural ties with Nepal run very deep, primarily due to its Hindu roots which remained largely unaffected (I wanted to use the word uncontaminated :-) during the seven centuries of Muslim rule in India. Broadly speaking the Shaivaite influence and tradition in Nepal is stronger than the Vaishnavite tradition. The Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu has preserved some of the older Shaivaite practices which have been diluted over the years in other parts of India. That explains the fact that why till date the Purohits in a majority of Jyotirlingas, Shakteepeths as well as of princely states that follow Shaivaite tradition (Gwalior, Holkar, Baroda etc) come from Kathmandu. As a reciprocal gesture, the coronation of the Nepalse kings were done by priests from Mahakal (Ujjain). Many Indian princely states have family ties to the royal Nepal family till date through marriage alliances.

Geographically Nepal has two broad entities. The northern part of the country is mountainous and is home to indigenous Nepalese. The southern part, called Terai has a large influx of people from Indian mainland (called Madhesis). The general hardship of life is lesser in Terai which allowed for profitable farming, enterprise and financial activity leading to relative prosperity of the Madhesi group, which over a period of time lead to economic and political dominance. The Madhesi politicians and political parties that enjoyed power had a definite pro-India tilt and the titular head, the Kind of Nepal, was anyways dependent on priests from India for divine sanction.

There was an under current of resentment among the indigenous Nepalese for long which has started to find expression in the last two decades. The assassination of the last king and eventual abandonment of constitutional monarchy in favour of constitutional democracy need to be seen as a part of this cycle. This further accelerated the revival of nationalistic sentiments. Marginalised communities and political parties started capturing power on the nationalistic anti-India agenda (lead by Prachanda, Dhumal etc). They didn't last long as the Old Guard wasn't ready to throw in the towel and managed to topple these governments (of course with help from India).

Concurrently in the last two decades, India has been witnessing revival of nationalistic sentiment. That has found expression in a more assertive and aggressive foreign policy moves which are a significant deviation from the past. Some of these moves backfired and are major disasters. A charitable explanation of these moves can be that the hawkish ministers misread the ground realities and committed errors of judgement. A more critical interpretation is that foreign policy setbacks were part of the cost to be offset by consolidation of nationalist votebank, a time tested ploy which many conservative governments around the world deploy from time to time.

The 3 month long blockade of Nepal was one such disaster. Nepal's dependency on India for even basic needs is almost absolute. When the Madhesis saw the power slipping away from their hands decisively and irreversibly, for self preservation they had no option but to send SOS to Delhi. Delhi obliged by bringing not only the Nepalse government but the entire nation to its knees. Extremely short sighted move with short term benefits with long term costs and far reaching consequences. As soon as Nepal got up, it went straight into the arms of an obliging China which has been lying in wait for so long. China played its cards deftly and channelized and consolidated all anti-India sentiment, and diverted it towards the Nepalese Communist Party which won a landslide and is now headed by Oli who has a vitriolic hatred for India. Within months billion dollar agreements have been signed between Nepal and China, most important among them being building motorable roads connecting Nepal and China which will eliminate the connectivity handicap that Nepal has. The terrain is tough as it will pass through the mighty Himalayas. But China is no stranger to construction miracles and it is a matter of months not years when the routes will be operational.

India has a problem on its borders - actually a problem with a country with whom it doesn't even have a regulated border. With China's incursion in Nepal a given, a huge chunk of our resources will be required to man another 800 km long border to keep our country secure. With the stakes high, India can't even back down and revert to status quo and having a friendly relation with Nepal. That would mean toning down the aggressive rhetoric which is something the current government is not known for. The script is far too similar with what hapenned with Bangladesh (Teen Bigha Corridor discussion was the catalyst), Sri Lanka (India demanding rights to fish in Sri Lankan waters) and Maldives (when we started dictating how they should run the country). With an exception of Maldives, where a counter coup helped pull things backs to an extent, we are now surrounded by neighbours who have moved from friendly (Nepal) to passive (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh) to actively hostile.

Nepal is only a decoy in the game played by China. It is finally achieving its foreign policy objectives through two doctrines  - Five Fingers and String of Pearls. Looks like China had identified India's potential long before India itself. As early as in the 50s, Chairman Mao came up with these two doctrines, one territorial the other maritime to contain and destabilize India. He referred to Chine being the fist with the five fingers being Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal which would be used to "finger" India for the lack of better word. String of Pearls is the maritime version which has its objective of establishing pockets of influence dotting the Indian Ocean like a necklace which would be used to strangle India's neck. China setting up bases on unclaimed Islands in the Indian Ocean along with increasing influence in Sri Lanka, Maldives etc is the implementation of this doctrine.

What response options does India have? It would not serve much purpose treating the symptoms (engaging with Nepal, Sri Lanka etc). India has to locate and needle China's underbelly, its vulnerable spots. India hasn't invested anything in influencing the discourse in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan which are hot spots for China. India doesn't even rake up the Tibet issue fearing China upping the ante on Ladakh or Kashmir. Currently where China is most vulnerable is the Xinjiang province where the Uigur issue is escalating. But due to domestic political compulsions India cannot be seen to espousing a Muslim cause which is at the root of Xinjiang problem. Indian polity has a long way to go before it can graduate from a sentiment and identity based polity to "Realpolitik" where hard nosed realities dictate your choices.

Unheard Voice of Kulsum Sayani

She was just 17 when she left home and started marching with Gandhiji. She not only made the English bow down to her will, she also brought the conservative Muslim League to its knees. She was fighting simultaneously on two fronts - one against the British Colonialism and the second against Muslim separatism. She got patronage and support from Gandhi but she did not join mainstream politics and preferred to work at a grassroots level.

She was the first woman who opened schools for women all over Gujarat and worked for expanding footprint of educational institutions. She fought for women's education so hard that Congress offices started holding special classes for women. She was instrumental in making the "Jan Jagaran" movement of congress and founded "Rahbar" which was the first adult education program in British India. She wrote umpteen books on this topic, none of them are available now.

The light of education and empowerment that she lit in her state proved very effective in countering Muslim League propaganda. It can be gauged from the fact that there was negligible migration by Gujarati Muslim communities like Bohras, Ismailies, Kathiwaris etc even though Gujarat shares a border with Pakistan and the Kucchis share historical ties with Sindh. (compare this with far flung states like UP and Bihar which had a massive exodus). Jinnah himself was a Kathiawari Muslim yet his personal appeal was negated in Gujarat. Post independence she refused to be a part of the power structure and continued to work for upliftment of women through education. She is one of the million frontline soldiers who has punched much above her weight and lies buried unsung and forgotten.

The lady is Kulsum Sayani and it is her death anniversary today. We need to dig deep to feel the hands that shaped the foundations of our country in a self less manner. You may not have heard of Kulsum aapa, as he was fondly called, ever. But you would undoubtedly know the most recognizable radio voice of yesteryears, Amin Sayani, who is her son.

Nirmal Verma's "Ve Din"

निर्मल वर्मा का उपन्यास " वे दिन"! अधिकांश भारतीयों के मन में यूरोप की को छवि है वो ब्रिटेन के इर्द गिर्द केंद्रित है। कुछ बोहेमियन avantgardist प्रकृति के लोग फ्रेंच संस्कृति से परिचित हैं। और कुछेक लोग जर्मन, स्पेनिश या इटालियन परंपराओं की जानकारी रखते हैं। निर्मल वर्मा अपने यूरोप प्रवास के दौरान अधिकतर प्राग मे रहे ( कुछ समय आइसलैंड में भी)। ये यूरोप कि तथाकथित underbelly है जिसे देखने के लिए एक आम भारतीय पाठक को श्रम करना पड़ता है, यूरोप को पलटना और टटोलना पड़ता है। यूरोप के इस रूप को पढ़ना, समझना एवं उससे अभिभूत होने का मेरा ये पहला अनुभव था।

हिंदी साहित्य में उस समय "नई कहानी" के पौधे लग रहा थे और निर्मल वर्मा उसके एक प्रमुख बागबान थे। “वे दिन” में यूरोप को परंपरागत तरीके से दर्शाया गया है, पर हिंदी उपन्यास की दृष्टिकोण से ये एक " परंपरा विरोधी" उपन्यास था। वायक्तिवाद, प्रवासी होने की संवेदना, अकेलेपन की वेदना जैसे पहलू उस समय के हिंदी उपन्यासों में देखने को नहीं मिलते हैं। आधुनिक मनुष्य की अस्तित्वगत भय (existential dread) का पहला स्पर्श मुझे इसी उपन्यास के माध्यम से हुआ। इसके बावजूद ये एक भारतीय उपन्यास है, हर अर्थ में। परिधि यूरोप के अनेक नगरों में फैली हुई है पर उपन्यास के केंद्र में भारतीय मान्यताएं और आस्थाएं ही हैं।

निर्मल वर्मा की शैली ने अभिव्यक्ति कि नई परंपरा शुरू की जो आज स्थापित हो चुकी है। भाषा शैली और शब्द चयन पश्चादृष्टी से देखें तो प्रयोगात्मक है और अपने समय से आगे भी। सामाजिक परिवेश एवं परिपेक्ष को समेटे हुए एक कोरी निजी अभिव्यक्ति। नए प्रतीक और बिम्ब, जो निर्मल वर्मा को अलग बनाती है, इसका पदार्पण इन्हीं उपन्यासों से हुआ। एक ओर व्यक्तिगत अनुभूति और सामाजिक विवरण में समन्वय है तो दूसरी ओर संघर्ष और संतोष के बीच सामंजस्य भी। सीमित संसाधनों से जूझते हुए अभाव की गरिमा है तो आकांक्षाओं कि संपन्नता भी है। प्राग स्प्रिंग से पहले का प्राग है तो इसमें इतिहास जगह जगह झांकता रहता है, पर अदर्श्य रहकर, और हस्तक्षेप तो बिल्कुल भी नहीं करता।

Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart"

"Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe and is touted as the first modern African novel - the one that started African renaissance. Published in 1958 when colonialism was coming to an end in Africa, the story is based in mid-19th century when the race for Africa had begun with the missionaries proving more effective than the mercenaries.

As is the case with colonial discourses, the book is about cultural arrogance, contestations, misunderstandings and their consequences. It is a story of the inadequately evolved "rudimentary souls" whom the white men had so charitably volunteered to civilize. Achebe's account of the Nigerian tribal life, customs, power dynamics, cultural sensitivities is less of a protest or resistance against the existing narrative; it is more of a retort and rebuke establishing the complexity of ethnosocial aspects of rural Nigerian life. It was an insider view that substantially and successfully challenged the "outsider accounts" of Africa, and with this book, Achebe won back one of the most fundamental rights for his people - the right to tell their own story.

Compared to other colonized cultures where the literary renaissance started with books in the vernacular languages (Gora for example), it is interesting that Achebe chose to tell the story in English. Achebe's native language was Igbo which was basically a mish-mash of multiple dialects and diction. Tribal languages do not follow the structure of more established languages. The contextualized vocabulary of these languages does the functional job of expressing local nuances, but it is a struggle to relay thoughts that are alien or agnostic to that culture. Do not mistake this for lack of evolution or complexity. On the contrary, the dogmatic retention of these complexities is what prevents the propagation and perpetuation of these languages. Languages that are easy to spread have had to cut the umbilical chord that tie them to the roots. Achebe’s intent was to reach a wider audience, many of whom were telling his people’s story without knowing enough about them.

Without being a linguistic chauvinist, it would be refreshing to have a similar attitude of respect if not awe for the vernacular languages. The more "evolved" languages can carry the content far and wide but are incompetent to absorb and disseminate the sentiments adequately (lost in translation).
In our context, English has displaced and relegated the Indian languages for sure. However the mainstream Indian languages have devastated localized languages much more. They have demonstrated a more disdainful attitude and either subsumed or stifled a number of smaller languages. For one Bhojpuri or Maithili that has withstood the onslaught, many others are marginalized, extinct or surviving as orphaned poor cousins.

Dara Shikoh's "Majma-ul-Bahrain"

The book "Majma-ul-Bahrain" (published 1654-55) by Prince Dara Shikoh, eldest son of Shahjahan and heir apparent. It has been translated as "The Mingling of the Oceans"/"Sagar Sangam". The book is a comparative treatise and aimed to identify the common threads and unifying aspects of Hinduism and Islam. An important disclaimer is that the book does not deal with Islam or Hinduism as whole, but is restricted to Sufi traditions within Islam and Vedantic/Upanishadic traditions within Hinduism. The comparative commentary between the central pillar of Islam "Tawwhid" (non-duality of God) and Advaitwaad of Upanishads on the one hand , and the concept of "Fanaa" (annihilation of self in the universal being) in Sufism and "Yog" (merging of Aatmaa with Paramaatma) on the other hand, makes for an interesting and enlightening reading.

Dara Shikhoh was known to have an artistic temperament and was tutored by some of the best scholars of his time most notable amongst them being Mian Mir, a Sufi saint of the Qadriya silisila (who by some accounts is said to have laid the foundation of The Golden Temple on the request of Guru Arjan Dev).

Dara’s quest for knowledge took him to different places and he spent significant time in Kashi and Braj interacting with local pundits on the topics of god, unity of soul. Unlike colonial Indophiles, who mastered Sanskrit so that they could condemn the texts credibly, Dara learned the language while in Kashi in order to understand and appreciate the texts adequately. Through him we have the earliest Persian translations of The Upanishads, “Sirri-i-Akbar” (The Great Secret), followed by his Persian renderings of The Bhagwad Gita and the Yoga Vasishta.

Dara composed 20 books dealing with Islamic Sufism, Muslim saints and Hindu religious sciences. “Risala-e-Haq Numa” (1647 AD) is his understanding of the yogic traditions, “Mukalama Baba Lal wa Dara Shukoh” is a compilation of the dialogue between him and Baba Lal on the history of Kashi, mythology and Panchabhuta. He is said to have written a book on in Sanskrit on Jyotish Vidya as well.

Dara, being a part of the ruling elite, making an attempt to understand the culture of the ruled was a progressive and rare trait in that milieu. Rarer still is the attitude of parity, even reverence, with which the approach was made. In his own words, Dara describes his treatises as a collection of the “wisdom of two Truth-knowing groups”. The metaphor of “confluence of oceans” is telling and apt points to the vastness of his thought horizon. It is much loftier than contemporary syncretistic discourses where the “oceans” are not only reduced to “rivers” (Gangi -Jamuni Tahzeeb) but can only flow parallel to each other with no appetite for any confluence.

He was also Governor of Gujarat and was much loved by all in the Court. But he was no match for his younger brother, Aurangzeb, on the field. While Dara was busy in his quest for knowledge, Aurangzeb was successfully leading military expeditions and building useful economic and military alliances which proved decisive in the struggle for power.

PS: According to Tawarikh-i-Punjab (1848), Mian Mir laid the foundation of the Sikh shrine Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), at the request of Guru Arjan. Report Sri Darbar Sahib (1929), published by the Harmandir Sahib temple authorities, has endorsed this account. However some Sikh records state that the foundation stone was laid by Guru Arjan himself. According to Sikh tradition, Guru Arjan Dev met Mian Mir during their stay in Lahore. It may be possible that this tradition is historically true, and may have been suppressed during the earlier period because of Mughal-Sikh conflict. On the other hand, “Sakinat al-Aulia”, a 17th-century biography of Mian Mir, does not mention this account. It appears only in the later accounts, and may have been invented to strengthen the Sikh-Muslim relationship.

A Budhist King of Pakistan

Pakistan is not known for affirmative action or even equitable action for its minorities. In fact, there are certain Muslim sects who are not considered Muslims adequately and face persecution (Ahmadiyas and Qadianis for example). With that as a context, how would you react if I tell you a Buddhist was offered Presidency of Pakistan? Well, here’s the story.

The Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh, which border Tripura and Mizoram, was inhabited primarily by a number of agrarian tribes. Most dominant among these tribes are the Chakmas who follow Theravada Buddhism and have residual animistic beliefs. They claim to be descendants of the Buddha and are said to have migrated from Magadh. The claim does appear credible as the Chakma language is Indo-Aryan in character prevalent in Gangetic plains and differs from the Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in North-East India.

The Chakmas have various clans and are presided by a Raja, who managed to have a fair degree of autonomy during the Mughal and British rule in lieu of tribute (mostly cotton produce). They did not retain sovereignty in the modern sense of the term but were more of tributaries than subjects as there was no interference in their internal arrangements.

Among the many contestable decisions of the Radcliffe Boundary Commission was the allocation of Chakmas to Pakistan, a tributary which had 97% non-Muslim population. The decision was protested but there were bigger battles to fight related to “more important” princely states like Kashmir, Hyderabad, Junagarh etc. and nothing much was done about it.

Raja Nalinaksha Roy was the Chakma king and he was left with no choice but to accept Pakistani sovereignty. He did manage to wrest some functional autonomy though. He was married to Benita Sen, the grand-daughter of Brahmo Samaj Keshub Chandra Sen. Post his death, his eldest son Tridev Roy became the 50th Chakma king in 1953.

Chakmas had to contend with a twin layered discrimination – one within East Pakistan and the larger discrimination that East Pakistan was facing from West Pakistan. This combined with the submergence of their villages on account of Kaptai Dam construction triggered a massive migration to Assam and is a friction point in the North-East till day. The Chakma Raja was aware of his precarious position in the overall set up and remained largely neutral. Gradually he started leaning towards West Pakistan, a move that defined the rest of his life.

In the 60s, Bangladeshi nationalism was on the rise in East Pakistan under the leadership of Mujib-ur-Rehman. For the 1970 elections, Mujib even offered the Raja an Awami League ticket, which the Raja declined and chose to contest as an independent. The League won all but two of the 169 seats in East Pakistan (one of them being the Raja) and became the biggest political party in undivided Pakistan. The Raja found himself on a sticky wicket and instead of mending fences with Mujib, he openly sided with Pakistan.

Despite the tally, Yahya Khan invited Bhutto (who had fewer seats than Mujib) to form the next government and that precipitated the eventual secession of East Pakistan and Bangladesh came into being in 1971. Sensing trouble, Raja Tridev abdicated and installed his 12-year-old son on the Chakma throne and fled to Pakistan. Since he was a prize catch, he was made Federal Minister for life by Bhutto, starting with Ministry for Minority Affairs and Tourism.

When Bangladesh applied for UN membership, Pakistan decided to oppose it. Bhutto chose the Chakma Raja Tridev Roy to lead the Pakistani delegation and in an interesting political riposte, Mujib chose none other than the Chakma Rajmata Benita Roy, who had stayed back in Bangladesh, to lead the Bangladeshi campaign. Mother and son were on opposite sides of the negotiation table. No one knows what transpired between them but eventually, Bangladesh was admitted to the UN in 1973.
Despite the setback, Bhutto stayed invested in the Raja and considered him to be a useful figure to be used in future tussles with the seceded part. He even offered the Presidency of Pakistan to the Raja. The catch was that the Raja had to convert to Islam as the Pakistani constitution cannot have a non-Muslim as its president. The Raja sahib declined the offer.

The incident didn’t sour the relationship between the two until Bhutto’s hanging in 1977. Zia-ul-Haq went after Bhutto’s loyalist but he couldn’t harm the Raja Sahib. But he managed to get the Raja out from the political scene in Pakistan and appointed him an ambassador of far-flung Latin American countries Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay where he remained till Zia’s death in a plane crash in 1988. After Zia’s death, Raja Tridev was appointed ambassador to a Theravada majority country Sri Lanka, a post which he discharged till 1995. He retired to his Islamabad home named “Chakma House” in 1995 and returned to Pakistan where he spent time on religious pursuits and was the president of Pakistan Buddhist Society.

The Buddhist King who gave up his throne and refused the presidency of an Islamic country, passed away alone and unnoticed in September 2012.

The Unlocked Dawn

Over forty days and counting. Counting our blessings while going through a multitude of emotions. Foremost of them being grateful that we are surviving to count days while the not-so-fortunate have perished due to the coronavirus.

Having being programmed on a heavy dose of positivity, we are relieved that our immediate relatives, our friends are not positive for Covid-19. We are concerned about the economic impact on a huge section of society whose livelihood has come to a halt – and its socio-political fallout. We are anxious if any of these fallouts would impact us directly – salary cuts, loss of jobs, inability to service loans, closure of the business. But what we think about the most is the return to normalcy and end of the lockdown.

Everyone is a corona expert by now. We all seem to have enough and more information about the origins of the malaise, the trajectory it followed in different countries, the mutations that the virus has undergone, various kinds of treatment – scientific as well as exotic. Needless to say, we also have our verdicts on how things should have been handled and would be very magnanimous in sharing the way forward; if only someone had the good sense of asking us.

I am reminded of a quote attributed to Arthur C Clarke albeit in a very different context, “The future isn’t what it used to be”. It rings so true of the post-lockdown world, specifically what we assume it would be. To start with, having seen two extensions, we can’t be sure of the date itself. The categorization into zones as per severity is another dimension where the level of freedom and restriction would vary – and this categorization is dynamic. What is green today, could be red tomorrow. Finally, the local governments are fully empowered to insert additional layers of measures depending upon the local nuances. So to start with, let’s get this right – post lockdown world will not be uniform or standardized – both in terms of timing and nature.

Some other levels of distinction and differentiation in terms of liberties and restrictions would be between urbanized and rural settings, industrialized and agricultural zones, business or service sectors. Despite an identical number of infections, the experiences would significantly vary by setting, zone and sector.

The government of the day has to grapple with the horns of a dilemma. At an ethical level, there is a choice to be made between mitigating the economic loss (which impacts lives) and containing the loss of lives (which impacts the economy). It is a modern-day variant of the social contract where the rulers need taxes to guarantee its citizen a certain quality of life. A Machiavellian version of the social contract is an unethical choice between revenue and life. Unfortunately, we have seen examples across the world and ages where unethical choices have been made – else why would the tobacco industry exist?  All we can hope is that the right trade-offs are made which might mean more short-term pain for long-term gains.

Some choices have been made and we would witness quantitative easing of restrictions. After weeks of longing, we do see a glimmer of hope of re-belonging to a normalized world. A world that we were part of a few weeks ago before someone hit a pause button. The long nights of lockdown have been necessary, painful, and nightmarish. Time to look forward to an ‘Unlocked Dawn’.