A Pandemic and the Politics of Life
Over one hundred million infections, and two million deaths, worldwide, with more than ten million cases and a lakh-and-a-half deaths in India. A Pandemic and the Politics of Life unravels the specifics of the Indian experience of battling COVID-19, while adopting an international perspective, in order to analyse the why and how of this public health emergency; the neoliberal response by the state; the production of an unanticipated politics of life; and the dramatic desire for a new kind of public power. Written during an intense time, this monograph closely follows the progress of the virus, focusing on three themes: (i) the outbreak as an epidemiological crisis compounded by an economic crisis, a migrant crisis, and a political crisis; (ii) the presence of the marching migrant as the figure of this crisis; and (iii) the emergence of bio-politics from below as a reaction of the lower classes. Over twelve months into 'fighting' this deadly virus, we now have a remedy in the form of a vaccine—but is that all the remedy we need? The author raises and answers some critical questions around the way issues of life and death are negotiated in a neoliberal order, and on what we mean by care, protection and solidarity in a post-COVID-19 world.