Exodus during coronavirus outbreak and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

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The lockdown to deal with the coronavirus outbreak in India triggered exodus to their home towns.Thousands of migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand began their journey back home on foot in view of the lockdown that has brought all vehicular and rail traffic to a grinding halt.

The country has been under lockdown for 21 days The lockdown resulted in large-scale migration of daily wagers due to lack of employment.

No body pre-empted it, including central and state governments. Why do you think it is happening ?

Aren’t these people aware of Covid-19 or coronavirus . I think government has done enough for the awareness. If yes, it surprises more. They are aware and still they have not isolated themselves. They have not observed social distancing. They are not coronaidiots as trending, neither they are not worried about their lives. Maslow Hierarchy of needs is the answer.

Maslow Hierarchy of needs

The five levels of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy (2) of needs are listed below from lowest to the highest:

Physiological Needs

The physiological needs includes the basic needs for the survival of his body which food, clothing, air, shelter etc.

Safety Needs

Once the physiological need is fulfilled, the need to feel safe takes priority. Personal safety which is the need to feel free from physical harm such as war and domestic violence is one form of safety needs.


Once a person feels safe, the need to feel loved and accepted by others comes into play.


People seek self-respect and esteem at this point. It is more than just being loved.


Once these four needs are satisfied , the need to become what one is capable of being is the need.

Lockdown in India to deal with coronavirus outbreak triggers exodus to rural areas and to their native places. Aren’t people worried about their safety ?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs answers it.

You can only think of a higher need, once the lower need has been met. A person would not think of security, if he does not have food to survive. This is why deers move out in jungle, which has lions.

Now, the tailspin is that the people are from the lower most stratum i.e. the base of the pyramid. Their physiological needs have not been met. They were in this cities and were trying to meet their physiological and basic needs.

With the lockdown, they are deprived of the food and shelter. They are not worried about their security, because security only comes after food i.e. physiological needs.

Their behaviour is absolutely in accordance with the motivation theory given by Maslow. Higher needs only come into focus only once lower has been met.

Maslow presents an intuitive and potentially useful theory of human motivation. After all, you cannot philosophise on an empty stomach.

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