Dr. Priyaranjan Maral, University of Allahabad
“collectivist cultures may have evolved a suite of behaviours that are well adapted to epidemics”
Last eight months changed the entire world and gave a novel way or hope for seeing the role of collectivism culture and its positivity towards communities. Novel CoronaVirus (COVID-19) creates havoc in an entire world with millions of deaths, suicides, unemployment, economic crisis, migration and mental health challenges. We humans are not habitual to self-isolating inside the house for a long time but because of corona, people reluctantly stay inside and work from home. We base Indian culture on collectivism, in which people are living together and rely more on relationships or bonding with family, friends, and society. The Western culture promotes or puts impetus on ‘Individualism’, whereas Indian society is ‘Collectivistic’ which promotes social cohesion and interdependence. The major root of collectivist culture also originates from the traditional Indian joint family system which put cohesiveness at top priority for survival of the family for long run. For any country, collectivistic culture emphasizes or centered over the goals, needs and desires of the group or communities along with an improvement in the well-being, personal relationships, quality of life, and connectedness of society or communities.
Collectivistic cultural factors play a major role in Indian society for dealing or overcoming the disastrous impact of COVID-19 pandemic. During lockdown, lakhs of people migrated from one state to their hometown state after job loss/ non-availability of food/no earnings. Because of non-availability of transportation, people preferred to walk on foot to their hometown for their survival. In an unending journey, migrated people received help in terms of food or water and shelter from local’s people which shows the existence of empathy of Indian society. Collectivistic culture of Indian society, showed many helping hands that came forward for the help of COVID-19 victims. Those people who were living with their family/relatives/ friends during lockdown developed a sense of safety from disastrous situations. Collectivistic culture acts as a backbone for providing relief to the needy one in the pandemic. Entire world witnessed the evidence of a collectivistic culture of India during COVID-19 outbreak through selflessness act of people of different caste /religion /community /NGOs. People work as a group and do what is best for society in COVID-19 pandemic.
In research studies it shows that most of the people living in metro cities or smart cities have developed the individualistic perception towards their society. But it is visible in COVID-19 pandemic, people living in Indian metro cities or smart cities possess philanthropy or altruism to their country people or communities which shows collectivistic culture predominates the individualistic culture. Social communication and emotional bonding are the primary key to sane survival of collectivism culture in countries like India. For dealing any pandemic in near future, collectivism culture can be an apposite approach for survival and wellbeing of millions of people.
Short Bio– Dr. PriyaranjanMaral received his Graduation, Masters and D.Phil. from the University of Allahabad, India. His D.Phil. work was on understanding the cognitive and emotional impairments in earthquake-affected victims of Nepal. He worked with NGOs like CARITAS Nepal, CMC Nepal,KOSHISH organization during work in Nepal. He got an international fellowship at from Osnabrueck University Germany as well as a national fellowship from UGC India. He has expertise in different areas like Cognition, Emotion, PTSD, Loneliness, Aging, Resilience, Street Children, Disasters, Posttraumatic Growth, and Women Empowerment. At Present, he is ICSSR PostDoc Fellow at the University of Allahabad.