India’s aam aadmi culturally prepared to be a Parasite
In either of the case, under the lockdown or when it is lifted, the Indian Kim’s are forced to remain outdoors, homeless, penniless, starving, and most of all psychologically traumatized. The Kim family from the celebrated and award-winning movie Parasite is a representation of the poor in a capitalist society. We can relate to them as the case of India’s aam aadmi isn’t any different.
In Parasite, Kim Ki-woo (acted by Choi Woo-shik) the son of the Kim family represents the dreamer who wants to make a plan and change things for the better. Therefore, although shy and awkwardly inferior, he and his family work for a company to fold boxes living in the basement of an apartment. Their living conditions represent the class they belong to, so much so, the sewage water and the floods can engulf them. The only sight they can see is the sight of the forever drunk man littering at their window. Their rooms and the house are not perfect just like their lives. They live and walk through the subway and smells like it, along with the smell of radish and as if their old clothes are washed in warm water. Time and again they are reminded of their state in the society; Kim Ki-taek (acted by Song Kang-ho) the father of the Kim family is hinted that he is not required to dream of the transition from poor to rich.
Kim Ki-taek opines that there should not be any plan because if there isn’t any plan there is no failure. He is contented with the family staying in the basement and eating meagre food that they can afford to eat. The Parks on the other end are the privileged middle class who have everything at their disposal because of their financial security. Unlike the Kim family, the Parks live in apartments from which one can see the lush gardens or the beautiful scenery.
When our Prime Minister announced a three-week total lockdown with just four hours’ notice India’s aam aadmi was forgotten, the government had no plans as to how it will take the migrants and the homeless to their safe shelters. Like the Kim family left with no option but be parasites the Indian common man was stranded uncared for.
The parasite is an organism that survives on another organism benefitting from it exponentially. Whether we believe it or not the Indian middle class has been the parasites for years depending on the common man for their labour. The absence of the labourers torments them and their profit. The middle class is handicapped when they do not have the support of the common man. But when the lockdown was declared some of them left their workers unattended asking them to return to their homes miles away. The government, on the other hand, knowing that the estimated 4 million-plus homeless and migrants are stranded and without any shelter, assumed that everyone has a balcony, asked to support and encourage the frontline workers from our balconies with our claps, sound of bells, and conches for their continuous sacrifice. Assuming that one can afford to do a PCR test, everyone is encouraged to do the test without any concession. Assuming that everyone stocks essential supplies in their homes, on short notice, the lockdown was imposed immediately after a full day curfew.
From the middle class being dependent on the common man as a parasite, we are culturally prepared to see the common man turn a parasite to the middle class. India’s aam aadmi is forced to take drastic steps of burglary, assault, and violence. Like the Kim family who turns parasites from forging a diploma for Kim Ki-woo to the whole family infiltrating into the lives of the Parks. The Indian poor have still gone ahead and committed suicide just because they couldn’t handle the whole lockdown. As per April 13, 2020, 195 people in total died and committed suicide for various reasons other than the virus i.e. 53 died of exhaustion, hunger, lack of livelihood, and because they were denied medical assistance. 7 were killed in heinous crimes due to a fight caused related to the virus. 35 and more migrants were run over when they were walking back home on foot. 40 alcoholics died and committed suicide due to delirium tremens and withdrawal symptoms. 39 committed suicide because they feared the contraction of the virus. And the rest 21 died due to miscellaneous reasons.
With no savings in hand, the common man who depended on daily wages has to look towards a kind heart that will come towards him or her offering some provisions. They have to look from their basements or slums towards the sky-scraping self-sufficient Ambanis. But the skyscraper Ambani will continue making deals with Facebook technology giant Mark Zuckerberg and others. It was easier for the self-sustained Bollywood stars or sports stars to remain where they are due to the lockdown; it is not the same for the Indian common man. We are undeniably prepared culturally to subjugate the less privileged but we hope the pandemic dawns a new attitude facilitating the transvaluation of the common man. Many contributions for their cause have taken place from different people across the country, may the sacrifices make us sensitive towards the common man; our brethren and wipe off the hypocrisy of capitalism.
First published on The Goan Everyday Newspaper