In the past year, the novel coronavirus Covid-19 has affected every single part of the world. Over 1.5 million people have died; the global economy has contracted the deepest since the Second World War; and the gains over the decades in poverty eradication may have been erased. Amidst this, how did India fare in coping with Covid-19 in 2020?
India and the Pandemic? looks back at the historical, social, cultural, economic and political aspects of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country. The 24 essays in this volume, written by astute political and social commentators, offer rich insights into the impact of the pandemic, and the response of state and society. The essays tell us what we should have done early on, and what we should have done differently in dealing with this health and humanitarian disaster. They place the current pandemic within the broader history of infectious diseases. They provide valuable lessons for the future, telling us how we should think of organising human society differently if we are to prevent future pandemics.
Written in 2020, these incisive essays offer a real-time window into the spread of the novel coronavirus disease in India. They make for a thought-provoking read for anyone interested in what happened during the first year of the pandemic.
Faizi Ahmad, C. J. Kuncheria and C. Rammanohar Reddy
Section I—Early Stages of Covid-19 in India
1. Covid-19 in India: The Chronicle of a Pandemic Foretold
2. Coping with the Coronavirus Pandemic: Are Indians Safe?
K. Sujatha Rao
Section II—Dealing with Pandemics in India’s History
3. Covid-19 and the Spectres of Colonialism
4. Manufacturing Epidemics: Pathogens, Poverty and Public Health Crises in India
5. ‘The Government Will Come to Its Senses’: Calcutta’s Workers and the Plague of 1898
6. Past and Present: Can India Beat Corona the Way it Beat Smallpox?
Section III—Covid-19: The Initial Impact
7. India's Tryst with Covid-19
8. The Twin Crises of Covid-19 and How to Resolve Them
Ananda Lal Roy and Maitreesh Ghatak
Section IV—The Law, the Judiciary and Covid-19
9. Exodus Constitutionalism: Mass Migration in Covid-19 Lockdown Times
10. Gendering the Pandemic in the Prison
Pratiksha Baxi and Navsharan Singh
11. Migrant Workers, the Lockdown and the Judiciary
Section V—The Lockdown and After
12. India’s Lockdown
Debraj Ray, S. Subramanian and Lore Vandewalle
13. Hunger Grows as India’s Lockdown Kills Jobs: Results of a Survey from 12 States
Rahul Lahoti, Amit Basole, Rosa Abraham, Surbhi Kesar and Paaritosh Nath
14. How Many Casual Workers in the Cities Have Sought To Go Home?
15. The Gig Economy in the Pandemic: Outsourcing Risk, Privatising Gain?
Section VI—Impact on the Economy
16. Understanding India’s Economic Slowdown: Need for Concerted Action
17. The Unequal Effects of the Covid-19 Crisis on the Labour Market
18. States’ Loss of Fiscal Autonomy in a Centralised Federal System
M. Govinda Rao
19. Knowns and Unknowns in the Covid-19–triggered Global Economic Crisis
C. P. Chandrasekhar
Section VII—Impact on Society
20. Psychosocial Challenges in the Midst of the Coronavirus
Honey Oberoi Vahali
21. A Novel Virus, a New Racial Slur
Naorem Pushparani Chanu and Gorky Chakraborty
Section VIII—The Future
22. Extreme Events in Nature: An Ecological History of the Present
23. Four Future Scenarios, or, What’s Different about the Covid-19 Crisis?
24. Seven Lessons for the Future: For the World after Covid-19