News By/Courtesy: Dhruv Agrawal | 02 Jul 2020 4:26am IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • There has been history of pandemics in earlier time's with many killed due to it
  • Our father of the nation Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi died of Spanish Flu
  • Spanish flu

A little over 100 years ago, the Spanish flu killed about 15 million people in India. Mahatma[i] Gandhi too came down with it but it failed to make a political impact in colonial times. Looking back from our current “coronial”, or post Covid-19, sensibilities, this is hard to explain. It is almost as if the Spanish flu crept in at night, killed people door to door, and left before sunrise.

Why is it so different today? The Covid-19 death toll in India has exceeded 16,000, which is every bit tragic, but these numbers are an evaporating droplet in comparison to 15 million fatalities in the Spanish flu. But at that time, a lockdown didn’t even figure as a distant possibility. The bubonic plague devastated the world for centuries and, at one point, killed a quarter of the population from the Caucasus to Carthage. Yet nobody, in all those years, ever thought of giving the silk route a miss or not setting off on ships with spices and calico.

If there is a single prime mover, then that has to be a democracy. Democracy has made a difference because its masthead says that all lives matter. Even, in theory, such a proclamation has consequences. So, when a pandemic happens, a modern democratic state cannot be seen sitting lazily on its hands, waiting for herd immunity. It must act fast, even if that action later turns out to be ill-advised. Inaction is worse than the wrong action!

This is why Western democracies chose lockdown when Covid-19 struck, and India, a democracy too, thought it best to take that path. The fact that every vote has the same weight, creates a different kind of tingle, unthinkable in the past. This explains why the administrative pulse never raced in earlier pandemics. Even the science behind contemporary quarantining developed first in 19th century Britain, the “cradle of democracy”.

THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT INTEND TO HURT THE SENTIMENTS OF ANY INDIVIDUAL, COMMUNITY, SECT, OR RELIGION ETCETERA. THIS ARTICLE IS BASED PURELY ON THE AUTHOR'S PERSONAL VIEWS AND OPINIONS IN THE EXERCISE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT GUARANTEED UNDER ARTICLE 19(1)(A) AND OTHER RELATED LAWS BEING FORCE IN INDIA, FOR THE TIME BEING.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 02 Jul 2020 10:11am IST


Tags : Blogs, Democracy, Quarantine, History

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