Subhash K Jha speaks to Vishal Dadlani

We have no way of knowing if the donations are going to the right place: Vishal Dadlani

Daily wage-earners who have lost their jobs in the cities and are trying to head back to their native homes, find themselves facing starvation because of the serpentine spread of the Coronavirus.

While stars and other denizens of the super-privileged classes have been donating generously into relief funds to fight the virus, the poor are out on the streets with nowhere to go.

Like many of us, musician singer Vishal Dadlani is very angry and upset at the plight of the underprivileged.

He says, “They, the poor, are us. It’s not a different society. The privileged have to understand that first. All our fates are interlinked. Sadly, for all its words, the Government has completely neglected to provide facilities, infrastructure, and relief for the daily-wagers and the poor, leaving them without basic necessities.”

Vishal isn’t overlooking the efforts of the state governments to help the financially bankrupted sections of people. “State Governments are doing what they can. But it will take a coordinated National effort, which is missing. Once again, we are facing a disaster that will arise from a lack of planning and understanding of the situation. Mere gestures are not solutions. Where Germany has put 20% of its GDP towards its Corona Relief package, India has not even allocated 1%. We need to fix this, and provide for the health of our country.”

Regarding the generous donations from the super-privileged, Vishal, like many of us wonders if the money is going to the right place.

Says Vishal, “We have no way of knowing. For this, we have no choice but to go on faith. India has a long and checkered history with misappropriated relief funds, and that’s clearly not going to be solved today. Personally, I never donate to any government charities. I donate via charities who I know are doing amazing work and are transparent about how the money they receive is deployed. But if people are enamored by the PM and his call to donate, that’s good too, and I’m all for it. Whatever helps the poor, and the country as a whole has my support.”

Confined to his home Vishal says he is working and exercising. “Naturally. These are two things that will keep us sane. Introspection, yes. I’m reading a lot more than watching films, yes. This period of confinement is also prodding me to realize the pointlessness of a lot of things that seem immediate and urgent in the world, and the importance of a lot of stuff we take for granted.”

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