By Abida Begum
Senior Instructor, Aga Khan University,
Professional Development Center North (PDCN), Gilgit
Humans have historically strived hard to explore the world through different sources to fulfill their necessities during the challenging period of their lives. Uncertainty and stress have been part of human life. But God has blessed humans with the potential to positively encounter every kind of expected and unexpected disasters.
Similarly, this year the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the whole world which has badly affected the humans’ lives and livelihood. The state of fear and despair has been strongly felt by the people of Gilgit-Baltistan as a large number of people are infected increasingly with each passing day, and it harms economical, educational, and psychological aspects of human life. . In view of this unpredictable and exceptional situation, where one has no choice to normalize his/ her dealings, demands an optimistic attitude and paradigm shift in our minds to normalize the situations for better survival in the world. As the coronavirus pandemic proceeds its deadly path, we need to make dramatic changes in our living style and need to adopt and adapt new and extraordinary measures to secure lives from the pandemic situation which is prevailing in the country.
Hence, to all of us, this is indeed a worrying situation as lock-down has reduced activities across all the public and private sectors of the region. But having the natural ability courage and bravery, we don’t need to be hopeless and despair, but with strong hopes and determination make the best of what the crises are offering us. Being a 21st-century human being we can take this challenge as an opportunity and try to abrupt shift our behaviors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Being optimistic, we see every day as a blessed day with new chances and opportunities to learn from every experience. It is being observed that this pandemic has also provided us unique opportunities to bring major changes in our behaviors.
Like, other regions of the country, this pandemic has also changed the circumstances of Gilgit- Baltistan radically. Traditionally, agriculture remains the major source of livelihood in almost all people of GB, where they were raising cattle, trading orchards, and harvesting crops and vegetables, and fulfilling their necessities. They were giving more importance to their fields and their natural resources. Hence, farm-based activity has declined over the last three decades. Now, after the pandemic, there seems a reverses gear to our primitive local traditions and living styles. Currently, at a time when the strict lockdown is following to contain the spread of Covid-19, people are preferring more on healthy diets from their homes and orchards and having children’s limited access to junk foods from markets. Now people are realizing the importance of nutrition for their strong immune system to fight against such types of viruses. This difficult time has made us realize that external sources should not be taken for granted, and thus we should remain grateful for our local productions.
Another major paradigm shift that Covid-19 has on the human lives of Gilgit- Baltistan is reminding us to conceptualize the traditional perspectives of parenting and nurturing practices for their children rearing and development. Gilgit-Baltistan has rich, beautiful, and unique cultural norms, values, and beliefs for their children’s positive guidance. Traditionally, a parent was giving special attention to the teaching of culturally prescribed roles, attitudes, and behavior. They were giving quality time through discussions, sharing personal events, and local stories for the strong foundation of their child development. Where children were internalizing the lessons conveyed by parents through modeling or exhortation. Thus, the present prevailing situation demands certain attitudes that seem to emanate from the family members that are both profound and enduring. While the ongoing crisis has reduced our normal movement and other necessary engagements, it is offering us an ideal time to keep longing for our family members and give them quality time for their happiness and development. In this critical time parent can help their children discover and engage in learning activities that they love and enjoy. A parent can develop a daily routine with the help of their children that needs to be flexible, but consistent, such a routine should contain the time for sharing stories, new learning, physical activities, and leisure time for playing games, family time and rest. Children can be encouraged to share their creativity by writing, drawing, and by innovating any new thing from their surroundings. These moments can help them to celebrate, love, and enjoy one another during this difficult time. Apart from that, this time compels parents to be punctual and regular in their practices and keep strong and committed connections with God to remain hopeful and resilient during these hardships. Family members can utilize this excellent opportunity to achieve the targets of their own and their children that were kept desired.
Hence, like the other nations of the world, fortunately, the COVID -19 has further boosted up the attitude of kindness and generosity among the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. People share solidarity with doctors and nurses through slogans and solutes. Everyone is trying to beat this pandemic and prepare the ground to get rid of this situation. Many individuals paying their salaries and donations to put their contribution with the workers and patients. Most of the people have provided hand sanitizers and masks to the needy ones and deploy maximum resources to combat the spread of the disease and protect lives. Several public and private institutions are sending educational materials and home works to parents and teachers to meaningfully engage their children at homes. Most of the professionals and doctors are sharing academic papers and talk shows on different media to give awareness to people about this pandemic.
Surprisingly, the pandemic has pushed the people of the region into a new horizon of shifting from direct communications to online approaches. To minimize the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, this revolution has opened a new window of opportunity to bring the tasks in a new model of various online platforms and free online courses for students and faculty in various settings. Hence, computer literacy has become the necessary need than ever before with the advancement in technology over the years. Now, it has become a crucial part of our everyday lives and children’s access to media seems inevitable. Therefore, every individual have to work pretty hard to keep them up-to-date with this modern knowledge and skills to be relevant for their dealings
Thus, the paradigm shift has changed the perception of mankind that we are not living in a vacuum, globalization affects all of us. Therefore, we need to be mentally and technically prepare for any kind of change and hardships for better survival in the world.