Manav writes about a drastic change caused by Corona Virus to the human lifestyle. Minimalism was an option before but now it has become imperative for some and inevitable for many.
The world is undergoing tough times. The extremely infectious and transmissible Wuhan Coronavirus disease is widespread. The virus is responsible for the death of lakhs of people around the world. Unavailability of any vaccine and medicine has forced the governments all around the world to announce lockdowns. The main reason to impose a lockdown is to combat its spread. The lockdowns have been beneficial to contain the spread to some extent. But as we say every coin has two sides, they have affected the economies to a greater extent. The supply chains have been disrupted. Many local, small, large industries were forced to stop their production activities. The production activity of the country has dipped due to which many products that were locally available in markets before are now tough to find. The day when the lockdown was officially announced in India, there was a sense of panic among the citizens. The citizens were worried whether they will be able to go to various shops, departmental stores to find and buy goods of everyday use. Their worry was legitimate as after the lockdown, it was difficult to procure goods of daily use. It won’t be wrong to say that the lockdowns have promoted the idea of minimalism or a minimalistic way of life.
- Understanding Minimalism – Minimalism refers to a way of life. It means living with a limited amount of resources and services and leading a simple life. Living with only those resources and services that you actually need for your daily survival and not possessing any excess. A minimalistic person is a person who seeks satisfaction in what he has rather than what he wants. One must understand that minimalism is different from poverty. It is an intentional way of life that a person initiates to promote those things which he/she value the most by using the available resources sparingly. Minimalism or a minimalistic way of life follows the idea of leading a non-materialistic life. Nowadays people assume that happiness depends upon the amount of luxury a person enjoys. This is materialism that has taken a toll on humans. Materialism is a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values. We equate happiness with the number of assets we hold. We assume that if a person has all the riches and luxury he/she will lead a happy life and if a person is poor he/she will lead an unhappy life. Many studies have found out that materialistic individuals experience a very low level of well being. It promotes social isolation due to which a person cuts of his relations with others and gets more attached to the possessions he has. Minimalism has emerged as an appropriate antithesis of materialism which helps an individual to attain real happiness in life. Minimalism curbs all the evils of materialism. It helps a person to find happiness in other aspects of life. To understand this concept better one can look at the life of Mahatma Gandhi. He led a very simple and self-sufficient life. With very limited possessions, he, by wearing a simple dhoti and living a small house could manage to influence the masses. Even the holy books suggest that to attain real happiness and nirvana, a person must lead a simple and minimalistic life.
- Minimalism in Lockdown – Lockdowns have further promoted a minimalistic way of life. Lockdowns have affected the supply and transportation of goods and services. Lockdown has forced the people to live with those goods and services which are extremely necessary and crucial for their daily survival without doing any form of unnecessary expenditure. It made people create distinctions between those goods which are necessary and essential for their survival and those which might not be. Lockdowns have affected the economic activities which have affected the income of many people. Less purchasing power and a limited supply of goods in the market have forced people to adopt minimalism. Slowly people have started realizing that one can survive happily without having extraordinary needs and demands. Many indoor and outdoor entertainment venues are now closed. People have no option other than staying at home. The millennials who seldom interacted with their family members are spending complete 24hrs with them. This has improved relations between family members. People have realized that it is not necessary to have a great and lavish lifestyle to be happy in life. Many across the world are adopting a minimalistic lifestyle. People in Turkey are slowly adopting this lifestyle. A decline in consumption has been observed in that nation. In India, a media house highlighted that how people of Kozhikode have adopted minimalism and are appreciating finer aspects of life.
- Minimalistic Lifestyle in the future – A minimalistic lifestyle makes us appreciate the tiny aspects of our life. It makes us realize that one can be happy in life without possessing many assets or having an extraordinary lifestyle. It teaches an individual to survive with limited resources. Such a lifestyle can be really beneficial when any such catastrophic event occurs in the future. By adopting such a lifestyle, a human being learns how to survive in challenging times when there are limited resources available. It makes a person self-aware and self-conscious. But as we say each action has an equal and opposite reaction which has a consequence, a minimalistic lifestyle can be bad for the economy. It reduces the demand and supply of goods in the market which can make the economy stagnant. It can affect the economic growth and development of a country.
– Manav Asrani,
Writer, Bharat Bhagya Vidhata