May 1, 2020

May 1, 2020

The india forum

Past and Present

Can India Beat Corona the Way It Beat Smallpox?

Issue Articles

‘The Government Will Come To Its Senses’

Calcutta’s Workers and the Plague of 1898
The plague of 1898 brought Calcutta's workers out into the streets to strike against low pay & forced inoculation. The disorders during the epidemic gave the working class their first opportunity to organise themselves & to build up the city’s labour movement.

Justice and Rights In Viral Contexts In India

There are dimensions of justice, human rights and constitutionalism that need to guide governments when there is a public health emergency as with Covid-19. The focus has to be on the right to health, empathy for the working poor and ethical state practice.

Past and Present

Can India Beat Corona the Way It Beat Smallpox?
The eradication of smallpox in India in the 1970s may throw light on the evolving corona strategies. The attempts, then & now, operate against the backdrop of a destitute landscape, & increasingly a bigoted one, where some lives are more expendable than others

The Rise of the Populist State

A populist idea has developed that an entrenched elite is exploiting deprived people. This then drives populist anger that certain types of leaders take advantage of and exploit through rhetoric and a clever manipulation of facts.

The Twin Crises of Covid-19 and How to Resolve Them

The inter-dependence between public health & the economy in the Covid-19 crisis calls for solutions that address both together in the short & medium term. The long run demands a greater ecological balance in human activity if we are to prevent such pandemics.

Train 18 and Before

Indigenous High Technology Research in India
Train 18 is India’s first indigenously developed semi-high speed train set that was rolled out very quickly and at low cost. Yet, like many public R&D projects, Train 18 too has had to face obstacles that may yet prevent it from realising its full potential.

Four Future Scenarios, or, What’s Different about the Covid-19 crisis?

What should we expect, post the coronavirus pandemic? Four scenarios contain four very different futures. A better world is only possible if social actors seize this opportunity to overcome the inequalities this crisis has laid bare.

Locking out the Working Poor

India's Inadequate Response to Covid-19's Economic Crisis
With more than three-quarters of India’s workforce either self-employed or in casual work, and earning low incomes, the lockdown was bound to devastate their livelihoods. Conditions were poor before the lockdown because of the slowdown. They have now worsened.

'We are the True Inheritors of the Nationalist Legacy!'

Muslim Consciousness and National Politics after CAA
Shaheen Bagh, like other sites of protest against the CAA and NRC, was more a consciousness than a mere physical space. The protesters' ways of imagining religion and nationalism to meet progressive ends offer lessons for a new politics.

India’s Tryst With Covid-19

The lockdown will not eliminate the coronavirus. Instead it could harm the livelihood & health of many. We must repair broken lives with economic measures, use evidence-based strategies to slow the virus & strengthen hospital capacity to care for the very ill.

India's Lockdown

If the first option of dealing with Covid-19 by imposing a complete lockdown but accompanied by comprehensive State support is not possible, then we must think of alternatives. Here is an implementable option for India that would open a lifeline for the poor.

War metaphors used for COVID-19 are compelling but also dangerous

The use of war as a metaphor by politicians and media is appealing in a crisis like COVID-19. However, instead of a spirit of going into battle what we need now are a sense of civic duty, pan-national solidarity and a respect for fellow human beings.

‘What Covid-19 Means To Us’

Voices from the Indian Hinterland
Workers, cultivators, and small businesses have borne the brunt of India’s 21-day lockdown against the spread of the coronavirus. They narrate their experiences of the crisis, from early rumours of a ‘Chinese’ virus to the ongoing chaos and misery.

Revisiting Partition Debates

The Global Connections
Partition debates in India drew on the League of Nations’ discussions on minorities in the nation-states created after World War I. The League’s legacy persisted beyond Partition, even making a ghost appearance in the controversy over Assam's NRC.

Forum/Letters

Letters on May 1 Issue

On Populist Politics
This is with reference to Rudrangshu Mukherjee’s critical assessment of Partha Chatterjee’s reading of populist politics, with special emphasis on...

A Response to Soham Bhaduri and others

Some readers of my article “India’s Tryst with Covid19” have been concerned about the criticism there of India’s lockdown policy. [See...

A Tilted Discourse on Covid-19

A comment on 'India's Tryst with Covid-19'
The Covid-19 pandemic has ushered in desperate times for India. On the one hand, a seemingly unstoppable coronavirus threatens lives...
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