Guest post by MAYA JOHN
This essay is the second part of a two-part series on Society in the Time of Covid 19. The first part appeared in Kafila on 5 April and can be read here.
The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas…Karl Marx, The German Ideology (1845)
The Bolshevik slogans and ideas on the whole have been confirmed by history; but concretely things have worked out differently; they are more original, more peculiar, more variated than anyone could have expected. – V.I. Lenin, Letters on Tactics (1918)
रहिमन विपदा हू भली, जो थोरे दिन होय / हित अनहित या जगत में, जान परत सब कोय
Crisis of a few days is better/ For it reveals who is friend and who is foe. – Khanzada Mirza Khan Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana, ‘Rahim’ (1556 – 1627)
Looking at what transpires each day of this epidemic coupled with lock-down, people appear to be plucked out of heterogeneous circumstances and placed in the homogenous time of “Corona”, putting all things in abeyance. The battered housewife whose alcoholic husband grows restless with every day; mourning relatives who’ve lost a loved one and struggle to make it to the last rites; the live-in ‘maids’ whose workday begins at the crack of dawn; the municipal worker who continues to de-clog our sewer lines to prevent the chance of reverse flow in our commodes; the young, newly-wed construction worker who’s anxious about his wife in the village; the tired nurse who fears she’s contracted the wretched infection; among many other circumstances of life are part of this moment, the epidemic-cum-lock-down. The coupling of epidemic and lock-down has created confusion for some people in terms of which of the two is deadlier. For many this is an unprecedented, exceptional time. But for others this moment is not new but rather a repetition of the similar course of life, with the addition of just another fear. Many are puzzled by how, among all the life-threatening contagious diseases and illnesses in circulation, “Corona” gained prominence.
Continue reading Agony of COVID-19 and the Lockdown – Who is Afraid of ‘Class’? Maya John