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  • Home | The Stephanian Forum

    The Stephanian Forum IDEAS Stephania View Culture View Politics View Society View Allen Mathew 2 days ago Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: What is it and how you probably have it. It’s pretty darn dark outside, and raining; I’m in my room, with the fan running and the tube light switched on... Jane Eliza Cyriac Sep 15 The Impact of COVID-19: Refugees. According to reports from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 1 person is forcibly displaced every 2 seconds. Drona Sharma Sep 7 We are Grateful Dear Corona Warriors, greetings on behalf of your anxious yet grateful human family. Team Culture (2020-21) May 2 Gender Constructs In India Team Culture (2020-21) : Amy Alexander, Anoushka Dominic, Aryan Kathuria, Prashasti Sarraf, Reva Chhabra, Sahil Kumar and Ujjwal Kumar... Team Stephania (2020-21) Apr 25 The trials and triumphs of virtual college: A Stephanian Experience As COVID strikes again, the fear of spending yet another year at home was creeping in. Stephen's still remains a mystery to a majority of th Shilpa Mariam Joseph Apr 18 India’s Political Landscape is Ideologically Bereft Around the world, right-wing populism is on the rise. Since the mid-2010s, we’ve seen one election after another ending in the victory of... Nanditha Elizabeth Roy Nov 29, 2020 The Recipes of Life It was like any other morning- I woke up to the sound of my dog barking and reluctantly got out of bed to let him out. The sun was... Mariam George Nov 18, 2020 Surface-Level Activism When the very same people who chose to stay quiet during Sushant Singh Rajput’s unfortunate death become overnight ambassadors of mental... Renee Jose Nov 8, 2020 We Need To Talk! The increasing dialogues on mental wellness, in lieu of the rising numbers of suicide cases among the youth, has urged many of us to... Diya Maria Abraham Oct 4, 2020 Dissent, But Make It 2020 Taking dissent online is not a new phenomenon. It has been used by activists in countries where governments are ‘repressitarian’- meaning Jasjeev Singh Sahni Sep 30, 2020 From Desks to Desktops: The Virus’s Undoing of Education The biography of education in India foretells a constant state of flux in the medium of teaching. From the slate-chalk, the blackboard-chalk The Stephanian Forum Feb 13, 2020 Bon Appetit It was just another day when First Years were rushing to make it to the Morning Assembly on time, birds were chirping and 8;30 a.m.... The Stephanian Forum Jan 19, 2020 Protests: A Plea for Justice or an opposition propaganda? The Stephanian Forum delves into the significance of protests through a cogitative analysis of history. It is a widely held belief that... Debanjan Das Oct 22, 2019 Over-efficiency of Parliament: A dangerous precedent? By Debanjan Das, 1st History. The recently concluded parliamentary session was indeed an eventful one. It was for the first time that the... Abhishri Swarup Sep 30, 2019 Paperboat By Abhishri Swarup, I History Dear Ammu, I will meet you soon. I set my letters afloat as paper boats for you to find wherever you are.... Who We Are The Stephanian Forum is an initiative by a few students of St. Stephen’s College who aim to create a platform to voice their opinions without a filter. It is an open space where ideas, perspectives and experiences about everything, from a grain of rice to the dire situations we face today, coexist. If you’re wondering who we are and what we do, know this, YOU are us— you define The Stephanian Forum. From the articles you read, to the ones you ponder over and finally those you contribute to this space, all that we are capable of, starts with you. DISCLAIMER The Stephanian Forum is an independent initiative taken up by a group of students of St. Stephen’s college. It is necessary to note that this is not the official website of the college and has no correlation with it whatsoever. The content published on this site is entirely based on the independent and subjective opinion of the writers. ​ ​

  • Society | The Stephanian Forum

    The Stephanian Forum SOCIETY "Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both" -C. Wright Mills Drona Sharma 19 hours ago We are Grateful Dear Corona Warriors, Greetings on behalf of your anxious yet grateful human family. Across continents, you form a single team, serving a... Renee Jose Nov 8, 2020 We Need To Talk! The increasing dialogues on mental wellness, in lieu of the rising numbers of suicide cases among the youth, has urged many of us to... Jasjeev Singh Sahni Sep 30, 2020 From Desks to Desktops: The Virus’s Undoing of Education The biography of education in India foretells a constant state of flux in the medium of teaching. From the slate-chalk, the blackboard-chalk Aishwarya Mukhopadhyay Sep 25, 2017 Surviving in a Post-Truth World: Shoma Chaudhury on the needs of the times Disclaimer: The Stephanian Forum does not take any institutional position on its content and would like to inform readers that the views,... Vrinda Sharma Aug 13, 2017 Freedom of Expression and Netiquette Disclaimer: The Stephanian Forum does not take any institutional position on its content and would like to inform readers that the views,... Shreemayi Samujjwala Jul 30, 2017 Unfetter those words now, shall we? Disclaimer: The Stephanian Forum does not take any institutional position on its content and would like to inform readers that the views,... The Stephanian Forum Sep 23, 2016 Comedy is a blood-sport I live to see times when a comedy show that means no harm to any individual, religion, god or the society as a whole, is crucified. To... Pragya Jat Oct 15, 2015 On Secularism and a Happy Co-Existence. Secularism, a term as intrinsic to my understanding of India as electoral competition. But, apparently for some in the current political... The Stephanian Forum Sep 19, 2015 Of gendered spaces and absolute equality. An interview of The SUS President for the year, Aina Singh. The interview team comprises Rishi Bryan (IInd English), Urvi Khaitan (IInd... Vikram Grewal Aug 17, 2015 FIFA 16: Snowballing Feminism into Football. Ignoring the ‘fratricidal’ FIFA wars over Sepp Blatter, the officials at EA Sports gave the masses something unprecedented earlier this... Soumyajit Kar Jul 28, 2015 How much of feminism do we understand? “She feels good when they split all expenses, but also when he buys her flowers. Inside the modern feminist lies an archaic desire.”... Prerna Geeta Manian Jan 10, 2015 Following a Religion- A Façade? “You are a black stain on Hinduism if you love a Muslim man.” “I won’t let you marry a Muslim.” “Muslims are terrorists.” While studying... Soumyajit Kar Dec 16, 2014 Gender and the Epics “Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.” — Joseph Conrad Hinduism is probably the...

  • Gender Constructs In India | The Stephanian Forum

    Gender Constructs In India Team Culture (2020-21) Amy Alexander, Anoushka Dominic, Aryan Kathuria, Prashasti Sarraf, Reva Chhabra, Sahil Kumar and Ujjwal Kumar Our deep dive into India’s gender constructs requires a comprehensive understanding of the significance of the word ‘gender’. Gender, against contemporary belief, is beyond chromosomes, customs, or checkboxes. In itself, gender is a social construct and is a product of societal views, to put it simply, it is what society determines to be your identity through its preconceived notions of femininity, masculinity or anything in between. This is why gender is something that we as a society create and enforce. Often used interchangeably with the word ‘sex’ that points to a more biological definition, gender is not independent of social and cultural context. Gender refers to the personal and social characteristics but not the biological traits that we associate with different sexes. Human behaviour tends to create a system that keeps society structured and functioning by organising society into distinct roles that complement each other. Indeed gender influences how we organize all of society and how we distribute power, ergo our society is largely stratified by gender. PatriArchives: How Yesterday’s Wrongs became Today’s Incorrigible Human civilizations have been experiencing major transformations since the Early Ages. The Homo sapien is often seen as a social animal adapted to live in communities from the very beginning. These societies have defined certain laws and customs meant to be practised by all. Most scholars attribute the long-standing disparities between the two genders to the lack of education and awareness in ancient times, although that does not entirely explain why we continue to exist in an unequal patriarchal society​, which is defined as a male-centric community where men are considered superior and more influential than women; moreover, women are not accorded equal stature as of men​. This system has been known to operate at the core of every sphere of many nations like India since ancient times. It is important to understand the role of power dynamics in forming and maintaining gender constructs which thrive in a patriarchal society that manufactures collectively shared norms about women’s subordinate role in society in order to perpetuate the power imbalance through both positive and negative reinforcements. The prevalence of harmful cultural practices like sex selection, child marriage, dowry-deaths, and honour killings remains high in several developing countries, reflecting the rigidity of perverse beliefs and norms. The continuation of these practices is often times supported by both women and men due to the internalisation of this power imbalance, making violence acceptable for the victim, who may be afraid of challenging shared norms out of the fear of backlash. In modern society, these gender-based differences stand out in the form of discrepancies in the income tax laws​, inequitable dispense of remuneration​, fewer job opportunities for women​ and certain​ binding marital laws​ together with ​unjustified​ ​divorce protocols​. These societal prejudices and stereotypes have such a strong and deep-rooted foundation that they continue to influence mankind by allowing male members to assert their upper hand in family decisions, whereas females are expected to subdue their thoughts and opinions, and affirm with the male decision. The working women of the upper-middle-class society are often denied permission to continue their jobs after marriage. In the rural areas, a girl-child is still considered taboo; girls are denied education and are married away at an early age. Moreover, the dowry system has been able to maintain its prominence even now, both in urban and rural societies. “Boys will be boys”- this is the phrase used to justify the pushing, shoving and aggressive behaviour of certain men. This kind of behaviour is accepted from boys and men because this is the symbol of masculinity. Boys are taught instrumental qualities such as being competitive, physically strong and confident to prepare them for the labour force whereas girls are taught expressive qualities such as empathy and sensitivity which prepare them to care for children in society. Society has specific constructs in their minds which characterise certain attributes with one gender, and then expect men and women to behave according to their respective gender roles. In India, people generally associate masculinity with dominance, strength and aggression, while femininity is often associated with nurturing, emotions and passivity. These roles are encoded within the minds of children straight from birth. We have colour coded gender labels that suggest dressing male infants in blue and female infants in pink. Be it dolls for girls or trucks and car toys for boys, gender labels could be found in every aspect of parenting. Generally, fathers are more engaged with their sons in “gender-appropriate” activities like sports, while girls are encouraged to get involved in household work. Boys are given more independence, fewer restrictions on clothing or curfew. They are often free from performing household tasks like laundry, cleaning or cooking which are supposed to be feminine. Girls on the other hand are taught to be nurturing, considerate and obedient. These characterizations continue later in life. Men tend to outnumber women in professions such as law, military and politics. This is while women tend to outnumber men in care-related occupations such as healthcare, childcare and social work. The question is, “Is this all justified?” Should certain roles be linked to biological sex and power structures? ​ Is it Structural or Conscious? Answer: Yes Gender conflict theory is a social science perspective that holds that stratification is dysfunctional and harmful in society, with inequality perpetuated because it benefits men over women, transgenders, and other gender-non-conforming people. Gender conflict theory argues that gender is best understood as men attempting to maintain power and privilege to the detriment of women. Therefore, men can be seen as the dominant group and women as the subordinate group. While certain gender roles may have been appropriate in a hunter-gatherer society, the only reason these roles persist is that the dominant group naturally works to maintain their power and status. According to conflict theory, social problems are created when dominant groups exploit or oppress subordinate groups. Therefore, their approach is normative in that it prescribes changes to the power structure, advocating a balance of power between genders. When we think about stereotypes that exist in our society we can conclude that most of them have a historic context. For example- Dalits in India were stereotyped as unhygienic on a pretext that they had to do menial jobs. Even if legally our society no longer enforces any work on a particular individual owing to his caste, creed, gender, or ethnicity, these stereotypes are mere generalizations that we are carrying with ourselves. Women face stereotypes on the grounds of being physically weak, people assume that they cannot protect themselves from societal elements that again think that they should stick to a patriarchal framework while choosing how to dress, where to work, and how to talk. Let's first think about why men have evolved to be physically strong. We have all learned in our history lessons that as cavemen females had a lot of offspring they would stay in an impregnated state for most of their lives and therefore men had to go out and hunt this requirement of being physically strong is what has led to evolution like that. ​ Initially, women in society were considered legally subordinate to men. Men were given the right to education and were considered the head of the family. They used to be their sole- earners, raising their families single-handedly. At the same time, ‘inheritance of property and fortune’ used to be the right of the eldest son in the family. On the contrary, women were ill-treated, were denied education, and were deprived of any share in the property; which made them lose their individuality. Their role in society was constrained to taking care of the household and looking after children. Most of the time, they were exploited and subjected to domestic violence, which ultimately led to their subordination in society. ​Child marriage, sati, polygamy, dowry and purdah systems​ were other manifestations of this evident disparity. Girl-child was seen as a liability because of the prevalent dowry system. And hence, as the ages pass, this gender stratification ossifies itself in the skeleton of our society. Gender stratification refers to the unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege across genders. Economic and political power structures that reinforce traditional gender roles often cause more dysfunction than function. Like denying girls the right to quality education in India or keeping them from working outside has been one way that our society has kept power in the hands of men in terms of living a better life, seeking different opportunities and being financially independent. ​ Contemporary education in India is a relic of this gender stratification. According to the Census of India in 2011, the disparity in education due to gender inequality in India is easily visible through India's child literacy rates which is 65% for girls and which is far less than the literacy rate of 82% among boys. The reason for it can be comprehended from the fact that a lot of stereotypes and prejudices exist in Indian society against different genders. The benefits of a girl's education are generally seen as going to the family she marries into, thus providing little incentive to people to invest scarce resources, both human and monetary, into the education of their daughters. Also, given the relatively low educational attainment among people, especially in rural areas, the marriageability of an educated girl presents its problems. These factors combine to cement the attitude of inherently opposing education to females. However, if somehow some of them get a chance to attend the school in their foundational years, they often fail to continue their studies to the progressive years as the gender gap widens with progressive levels of education owing to greater barriers in education that girls face due to deeply ingrained social norms and gender stereotypes correlated with biological factors. Although India has witnessed substantial improvements in female literacy and enrollment rate since the 1990s, the quality of education for females remains to be heavily compromised and there is still a long way to go in ensuring that girls have the same access to quality education as boys. Due to the comparatively low literacy rate of females (59.3%) in our society, they have to be financially dependent on their male counterparts and this dependency is again exploited by them. Quite forlornly, gender stratification also manifests itself in the form of gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is a form of discrimination that seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedom on basis of equality with men. It includes all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse. Gender-based violence finds its roots in the dominant male psychology of a patriarchal society. In the social structure of a country like ours, if one is born male, he is bestowed upon with special rights which women do not have. A male child has fewer restrictions than a female one and that’s where the seeds of superiority are sown into him. That child, when he grows up to be an adult, looks down upon girls and considers them to be mentally and physically inferior. Historically, gender-based violence against women is also prevalent because of the widespread socio-economic dependency on women and fear of banishment. Why it’s not just Zeroes and Ones ​ It is believed that well-functioning families need people to have complementary skill sets and gender gives us a way of pairing off these skills. Society in turn encourages gender conformity by making people feel that they have to fit these moulds if they want to be accepted and desirable. And by also teaching people to reject those who do not conform to these gender norms. Boys and girls are socialised to take on traits that are complementary to help maintain stable productive families. But there are faults in this idea. As not all families today are nuclear units with one man, one woman and a gaggle of children. We need to expand the definition of family to include same-sex couples, single parents, multi-generational families, or childless adults. So, it's less obvious to assume that a man works outside the house and a woman works inside the house. Secondly, the idea of complementary gender rests on there being two distinct and opposite genders. This idea of gender as a binary isn’t universal and it ignores all those whose identities don’t conform to a two-gender system. Any discourse on a topic like gender constructs would be incomplete without a reference to intersectionality and its role in identifying the deeper often hidden layer behind many of these constructs. People experience discrimination differently depending on their overlapping identities. To look at any two parts of one’s identity in isolation would take away the ability to fully understand their experiences in society. A Dalit women’s experience of the world will differ from that of a woman of privilege. In the same way, a trans woman’s experience of the world will differ from that of others. Intersectionality allows us to understand the complexities of an individuals experiences of discrimination and prejudice by taking into account the different social categories an individual falls into. That is to say, intersectionality is a way of understanding the different types of overlapping discrimination that an individual may face depending on their race, gender, age, ethnicity, class or any other characteristic that places them in a minority class. Understanding this intersectionality in the fight against gender inequality means not only fighting gender constructs but identifying other forms of oppression and taking an equal stand against all instances of unequal power dynamics and cerebral opportunities. ​ Featured image credits : Rhea Rose Kappan

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Blog Posts (63)

  • Indian Films – A Stereotypical World Sans Reality

    From the time the very first feature film “Raja Harishchandra” was produced in 1913, the Indian Film Industry has come a long way. The “Parallel Cinema” movement in the 1940s led by pioneers like Satyajit Ray gave way to the “Golden Age of Indian Cinema”, as described by many film historians. It was in the late 1970s that a criticism arose that the film body wasn’t doing enough to encourage Commercial Films. Then slowly came the rise of the Masala Films as we call it today. Unfortunately, as commercial films evolved, there came a time where content mattered less and viewership mattered more. To quote Walt Disney, a pioneer of the American animation industry: “Movies are powerful tools that have the ability to influence people. Therefore, it is important to use it in the right manner.” Films are powerful tools that have the potential to accentuate society’s most crucial and existing problems to a large mass of people. Unfortunately, not everyone in the film industry uses this powerful tool in the right manner. Many commercial films play a critical role in implanting and penetrating various stereotypes into people’s minds. “Movies are powerful tools that have the ability to influence people. Therefore, it is important to use it in the right manner.” The impossible beauty standards displayed in films and media has standardised beauty among the Indian public, the perfect body showcased in Indian films place some people under traumatic pressure to attain these standards. The age-old obsession with fair skin in India that mainly started during the colonial era persists in Indian society to date and is now mainly propagated by the Indian Film Industry. Despite Indians possessing a varied range of skin colours, most films only portray actors and actresses of fair complexion. A lot of us would have noticed the common convention of casting a dark-skinned person as a villain or a sidekick. What’s even more disheartening is that these stereotypes are depicted in kids cartoons as well, including popular ones such as ChhotaBheem. Indian cartoons rarely depict diversity, and consequently, we are teaching the young generation the same stereotypes instead of eliminating them. Indian Films vividly associates beauty, social status, personality and success with something so insignificant and trivial as skin colour. If you are dusky or don’t have the conventional body, people say it is a privilege to be cast as a lead actor or actress-but is it? One problem here is that being beautiful means being fair or having the conventional body type; the other is that it's high time that looks took a back-seat and talent became the parameter in the Indian film industry. Indian film industries cannot shy away from the fact that they have played a major role in normalising rape culture. From the 1970s to the 1990s, there was an obligatory inclusion of a rape scene, wherein the hero came to save the heroine. Nowadays, it’s a mandatory dance/item number in most Indian films. The dance sequences usually happen as a celebration; we are teaching the younger generation that commoditising a woman’s body is normal and an act of celebration. There is a dearth of representation of certain communities in Indian cinema. Moreover, sometimes the representation of certain communities is misleading to the public. From a country that boasts of diversity, we certainly have failed to showcase the diversity in our cinema. A lot of times there has been a misleading representation of certain communities in terms of ethnicity, religion, and even sexual orientation. For eg., the representation of the LGBTQ+ community in Indian cinema. There are very few, or none at all, to represent such minorities. Another question to be answered is: Should films depict violence? Violence has become an integral part of cinema that most of us couldn’t think about doing away with it. Yes, violence of all forms is present in society and we have to depict the reality in our films, but the question remains; is it portrayed in the right manner? There is a common practice to romanticise violence in films. Normalising the depiction of toxic relationships where the men are physically or verbally abusive and manipulating. Furthermore, justifying these actions as expressions of love is misleading society as a whole and several generations to come. These practices have normalised the idea of “toxic masculinity”. Additionally, actors who have called out such misogyny in films haven’t mustered any significant support. Recently I have noticed a huge rise in crime films that showcase disturbing crime scenes. Moreover, at times the film is depicted in such a manner the crime or murder is justified. The thought that it is alright to commit a crime if the purpose is right is a theory that has been attached to certain films. Consequently, what we are losing is the right and the ability to think for ourselves. In short, films should encourage people to be averse from practising any form of violence. But unfortunately, that isn’t always practised in films. People end up glorifying violence. Many actors responded by justifying that these are “R” rated films and the audience should know what to watch and what to follow as adults. Well, we have got to understand that we live in a country where a majority of the population worship and idolize heroes and heroines. We even elect them. We are inspired by the characters that the actors play on-screen and love to imitate them. Hence, these actors have a responsibility to fulfil. And I absolutely agree with the fact that there are a handful of people in the Indian film industry who are consistently working hard towards eliminating these practices and norms in the industry but they require tremendous support which we are indeed capable of providing. The film industry ought to realise the power they possess and channelise it in the right manner, I truly hope that they do realise that “with great power comes great responsibility”.

  • Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: What is it and how you probably have it.

    It’s pretty darn dark outside, and raining; I’m in my room, with the fan running and the tube-light switched on; I take a quick glance at the bottom-right of my screen: “04:17”. After berating myself for such obviously unhealthy behaviour for the next 3-or-so minutes, I, with the memory span of a goldfish, then proceeded to jump right back to where I was, probably browsing YouTube, or watching some anime, or some TV series, or some movies, or listening to some music, or... Had it been a one-time thing, or a sparse occurrence, I wouldn’t be writing a 500+ worded article for ‘The Stephanian Forum’. And it’s highly probable that I’m writing this very piece quite late into the night too! (Oh, the irony!) Back a couple of years ago, I pushed the blame towards adolescence and teenage hormones, but now I am a full-fledged adult (no, not sarcasm), and have come to realise that this is a chronic issue. As someone who ‘successfully’ goes to bed post 3 AM every single day, and getting only 4-5 hours of sleep while at it, it is something that I recognise as a serious threat to my health and well-being, yet am unable to do something about it myself. So as any 21st Century human would do, I immediately went to the aid of the internet, and found out about the term ‘Revenge Bedtime Procrastination’. As defined by the ‘Sleep Foundation’, “bedtime procrastination or revenge bedtime procrastination is a psychological phenomenon, where people stay up later than they desire in an attempt to have control over the night, because they perceive themselves (perhaps subconsciously) to lack influence over events during the day. It describes the decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure time that is driven by a daily schedule lacking in free time.” It is something that stems from the lack of leisure and lack of control of my actions during the daytime, which I believe will resonate with a lot of people, especially teenagers. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” isn’t some offhanded comment that your grandpa made in your childhood days; when one loses leisure time in their life, they try to seek more ‘play’ by sacrificing their health, staying up for more hours, and sleeping for much less than the required minimum. And with the advent of the internet, it has become all the more easier to find newer ways to entertain yourself, with all the media in the world to consume right at your fingertips. And no, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t my intention to blame everything onto the internet (like a certain generation); far from it actually. Doing so would be factually incorrect - a false causality – and a classic case of whataboutism. The problem arises, as I stated earlier, from a lack of control over one’s life, living a life that one has no input on. And no, I don’t aim to provide a solution to this either; frankly, I’m not qualified to do so. Instead, the intention of writing this article was solely to raise and spread awareness about such a relatively unknown issue. Of course, with the magic of the internet, I shall provide sources to help people with similar conditions as that of mine. Hoping it comes in handy! https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/revenge-bedtime-procrastination

  • The Impact of COVID-19: Refugees.

    82.4 million people. Those were the statistics for the number of refugees and displaced people in the world at the end of 2020. According to reports from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 1 person is forcibly displaced every 2 seconds as an outcome of conflict and persecution. Refugees arise due to a myriad of reasons such as poverty, lawlessness, war or environmental disasters. Consequently, the definition of a refugee has been a subject of intense debate for decades. This raises the question - Who qualifies as a refugee? According to the 1951 refugee convention, a refugee is defined as an individual who has fled their country as a result of “a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”. However, this convention cedes a lot of vital decision-making to the nations. It does not compel its signatories to grant anybody refuge but rather only requires them to hear their case and not push them back to a country where they could face persecution. Even upon fortunately being granted refugee status, they encounter numerous challenges in socio-economic integration predominantly due to racism and xenophobia. Enter COVID-19. As though the issue wasn’t exacerbated enough, the pandemic drastically worsened the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. The refugee populace is deemed alarmingly vulnerable to the virus as a result of their questionable living conditions, which lack the facilities to support social distancing and ensure competent access to water, sanitation and healthcare. To add to their woes, ongoing welfare efforts have been thrown into disarray and limitations have risen in the provision of aid. Approximately 85% of the world’s refugees are hosted in low- and middle-income countries that are exceedingly burdened by their own financial hardships and fragile healthcare systems. The economic repercussions of COVID-19 are proving disastrous, forcing multitudes into starvation and homelessness. As struggles for aid and employment intensify, refugees are more susceptible to violence and discrimination. Meanwhile, well-heeled nations have cut back on humanitarian assistance in an attempt to redirect money into bolstering their own economies through the crisis. Pandemic-induced crises are driving nations to shift even the last of their attention and resources towards domestic relief, inevitably setting aside the refugee community as a low priority group. Although vaccines are being administered around the globe, countries are looking to immunize their citizens first, as a consequence of ‘vaccine nationalism’. How aid will reach these vulnerable communities is a matter of utmost concern as it is only further impeded by practical challenges with regard to accessibility and distribution. Regrettably, the pandemic has enabled governments to suppress civil liberties and extremists to push their propaganda. It has been increasingly observed that the virus is being utilized as a pretext to curb access to asylum. Deepening border restrictions and lock-down procedures have brought about a lamentable decline in mobility among the masses. The scale of this humanitarian crisis calls for us to re-examine and improvise our modus operandi. World leaders ought to press for shared accountability through the expansion of resettlement plans. This would greatly help to reduce the brunt of the refugee influx on the host countries. Nevertheless, the end of this crisis will scarcely be in sight, not unless we also tackle the root of the issue by advocating for the rehabilitation of their home countries. To read more about how COVID-19 has affected refugees: What is the legal definition of a "refugee"? 82.4 million people displaced in the year of the pandemic COVID-19 Brief: Impact on Conflict & Refugees How COVID-19 has affected refugees, asylum seekers, and migration

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