Published: 04th October 2020
Teachers, homemakers and others — the pandemic has indeed brought out the leader in many individuals
Teachers and institutions followed the new mantra known as ‘adapt’ and ‘accept’. Teaching through digital medium and nurturing future leaders by laying emphasis on students’ learning
Leading’ and ‘leadership’ are two identical words that emerged long ago. This concept may sound new however, our civilization has witnessed the origin of leadership starting from heroic tales of mythical, powerful kings and the birth of legends or freedom fighters to the current situation. Humankind has experienced leadership in each civilization with new concepts unique to the subject matter of leadership. Like other civilizations, the current COVID-19 situation has generated a new concept to leadership, by stating that anyone in society can be a leader by performing their compulsions responsibly and displaying unparalleled dedication and resilience.
Recent data projected that India stands at number two with regards to COVID cases around the world and similarly, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, data had projected 95,542 deaths from more than 60 lakhs infections by September 28, 2020. Out of which, more than 155 healthcare staff members, which included more than 64 doctors, have died due to Coronavirus and there is no actual data maintained by the government on these frontline warriors’ death. These figures are weighty in nature, however, our unsung forefront heroes, medical fraternity, hygiene and sanitation staff, high government officials, police personnel, IT sectors, and media houses, provide essential commodities by risking their lives. They even had to sustain public anger in terms of physical and emotional injury due to the narrow mindset of people. It was found in few cases that these frontline warriors were barred from entering their colonies, thrown out from rented homes and beaten up during this pandemic. Apart from this, they have been staying separately from their family, kids and with the risk of infections at hospitals.
Dr Biranchi Narayan P Panda is the Assistant Professor (Law), Xavier Law School, Xavier University Bhubaneswar and Isha Sharma is the English Language Teacher at The Aditya Birla Public School | (Pic: Dr Biranchi Narayan P Panda and Isha Sharma)
During the pandemic, few other venerable groups have also shown the same spirit at the same pace from the backend in spite of divergent challenges but nobody is speaking about them. Considering the education system of our country, teaching fraternity and educational intuitions are one such venerable groups that stand strong and came up with innovative ideas and shown forbearance, and supervision to continue the education and learning process. Despite incompatible conditions, the new digital platform of the classroom and technological challenges, teachers delivered their roles gracefully in the most promising way and stood as a strong pillar to keep the education system alive. Additionally, many states engaged teachers in distributing allowances, groceries to beneficiaries of the government schemes and collecting data in containment zones and during their service, many teachers got infected and few died. Similarly, in our family system, staying at home 24x7, surrounded by family members is not an easy task. In this pandemic, the forbearance shown by housewives and mothers, women at home fulfilling our multiple demands starting from cooking, gardening, childcare, senior citizen care, extra cleaning and so on deserve special regards for their resilience.
The unprecedented virus made these frontline warriors and backstage warriors new leaders who have devoted themselves in unexpected ways and converted these challenges into opportunities by developing new strategies, innovations and techniques of controlling the infections and safeguarding the society.
COVID proved that the past leadership theory of command, control and hierarchy model are irrelevant today and this theory is replaced by the leadership theory of compassion, dedication, courage and humanity. Let us stand united with our unique leadership qualities to fight against COVID, appreciate, applaud and admire each warrior.