India and the Pandemic

The First Year
The India Forum
Issue: March 5, 2021
A collection of 24 essays on how India dealt with Covid-19 in 2020, published by Orient BlackSwan. The essays, with a detailed Introduction, cover the history of pandemics, the early stages, the lockdown, the law, impact on economy & society, and the future.

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.

The volume has an extensive and new Introduction written for the volume 

Section I — Early Stages of Covid-19 in India

Section II — Dealing with Pandemics in India’s History

Section III — Covid-19: The Initial Impact

Section IV — The Law, the Judiciary and Covid-19

Section V — The Lockdown and After

Section VI — Impact on the Economy

Section VII — Impact on Society

Section VIII — The Future

Available online on these pages at:

1. Orient BlackSwan

2. Amazon

3. Flipkart

4. Kindle Edition


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