Showing posts from May, 2020

Reboot and Recovery: Surviving the Virus Attack

For the last two months all our systems have been under a terrible virus attack. Various malwares and spywares have invaded our systems. Many of us have been looking at the ‘blue screen of death’ wondering how to recover our systems. The system administrators are promising to release an upgraded OS in a few days. Are there any steps that we could take to keep our systems safe and prevent another crash? One class of malwares that has spread rampantly during these last two months are the ‘stigma and discrimination’ worms. In our anxiety to keep our own systems safe we have stopped trusting everyone else. While the broadband network can run without wires and can be contact-free, the network of relationships requires one to be constant touch and express feelings. A common sign that this malware has spread across our cities is the fear of the domestic household support worker or the maid. While maids were paid for the month of March, many were not been paid for the months of April. With t

Covid Sutra : Dignity, Respect and Co-existence

When the second phase of lockdown was relaxed early this month the number of infections spiked and on the 10 th of May the number of new infections exceeded 4000. Now that the 3 rd phase of lockdown is over and 4 th begins from the 18 th of May the infection rates in India have now exceeded that of China. While our eyes are glued to the Covid 19 related statistics and dashboards, we probably need a little more clarity about Covid and how to live with it otherwise we may be paralysed with uncertainty and fear a situation death like in Italy or Spain or UK where the death rates were very high not so long ago. Has Covid 19 Virus Contributed to Excess Mortality in India? The fear of death is a primal fear and Covid 19 has been compared to the deadly scourges like Black Death in the middle ages and the Spanish Flu in the early twentieth century. The Black Death or bubonic plague laid waste to Europe, killing a large proportion of the population in middle of the 14 th Century

Coexisting with Covid: Time for a Bottom Up Approach

It is a good time to remember that Indians have lived for decades, if not centuries, with highly contagious and extremely lethal diseases like small-pox and cholera, and others less lethal, like tuberculosis or malaria. From the little that we know about this virus it is unpredictable, highly contagious but not extremely lethal. It can be fatal, but then it has been asymptomatic for many. We cannot wait till we achieve herd immunity or find a cure or vaccinate the entire population as none of these are likely to happen soon. Our best bet is probably that the virus ‘disappears’ on its own as happened with the Spanish flu. But a better bet is to evolve a model of co-existence based on caution while we wait for a ‘flattening of the curve’. Now that the central government has issued its top-down ‘restriction and permission’ based directives we probably need to balance these with some ‘bottom-up’ actions to reclaim some of the normalcy we have lost. Communities have survived with contagi

Covid Lessons: A Time for Masculinities to Change

The two news items that caught the eye on the first day of colour-coded lockdown were about the long queues in front of liquor shop s across the country and that of an Instagram group of young boys. In some places the line was long and orderly, in others all caution and distancing was thrown into the winds as people jostled for space. There were ‘lathi-charges’ and there were record sales. State governments saw a quick opportunity to make up for their depleted tax collections by announcing tax hikes. The other news was less dramatic but more shocking. It was about an Instagram group of young high-school students called ‘ Bois LockerRoom ’. Adolescent boys from relatively well-off families in Delhi were using this social media group to discuss rape, gang-rape, girls’ bodies, and other sexually degrading topics. Young men keep coming back into the news cycle for different reasons. Violence is one of the most common reasons. There is news of different kinds of ‘hate-crimes’ based on