Stories of Resilience and Strength

Leo Tolstoy remarked in War and Peace that “the two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” This statement stands true for all times, particularly in times of crisis. While time has its power, it can be equally destructive as well as healing; patience is the key to surviving time. Belonging to a family that witnessed the violence of the partition of India, followed by the 1984 anti-Sikh massacres and other situations of violence and war, COVID-19 has added a new experience – surviving during the pandemic. Thus, for the family, there have been phases of trauma and revival followed by repeated critical situations and revival from them. Every experience became a strength story, when the most stressful times were countered with hope and faith. It is true that distress is also the birth of undeterred hope and faith.

How is one expected to contemplate and make sense of the different times of turbulence and upheaval? What efforts can one make to recover from setbacks and adversity? How does one reconcile with loss?

The present paper focuses on answering these questions through various narratives and stories witnessed during the pandemic. The extraordinary strength that people showed in the worst of situations, as India witnessed poor labourers migrating to their homes at the outbreak of the pandemic; the widening gap of untouchability, not just in terms of caste but also in terms of social barriers and medical distances; breakdown of health care machinery; increase in suicides and mental stress; challenges met by students and educationists; and the farmers protest against the agriculture laws that turned into a full movement. At the same time, a lot of people and organisations came forward and made attempts to take charge of themselves and move on at individual levels that opened up different opportunities in the midst of the crisis. This paper focuses on how these experiences are case-studies of the invisible people who have created history of their own times.

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Posted by IAFOR