A Horrid Year Went by and Worse Followed
Mohan Rao
INDIA AND THE PANDEMIC: THE FIRST YEAR—ESSAYS FROM THE INDIA FORUM by Faizi Ahmad, C.J. Kuncheria and C. Rammanohar Reddy Orient BlackSwan, 2021, 363 pp., price not stated.
June 2021, volume 45, No 6

As we live through an unprecedented number of new infections of Covid-19, and deaths, we can take pride in that in this one indicator  we have even overtaken the USA. We are reporting close to 400,000 new cases every day and close to 4000 deaths every day. We are haunted by the fact that there are not enough hospital beds, not enough oxygen, not enough ventilators. Images of funeral pyres, very stark, suffuse the media, here and abroad. Indeed, there are reports that there is a shortage of wood for funeral pyres, now being lit in parking lots in Delhi.

My friends are struggling for hospital beds, medicines, oxygen, and a retired professor from Jawaharlal Nehru University died in a prominent private hospital for lack of oxygen. I know of a family that has paid Rs 50,000 in Delhi for a private cremation.  A good friend, whose mother had died of Covid, agreed to a group cremation, since there was nothing else available. Another friend, whose mother died peacefully at home of old age, could not get a doctor to certify death. I have lost count of friends, colleagues and students who have contracted Covid. I cannot bear it but keep track of deaths alone. We are all relatively privileged people with contacts.  This IS apocalypse.

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