Responses to Covid–19
New Paradigms of Exclusion and Inclusion in Indian Society
Keywords:Covid–19 and social divisions, political consequences, religious ‘solutions’
This article will give a few examples of how the Covid–19 pandemic in India has sharpened pre-existing patterns. Religion was used for the purpose of a political argument during the course of the pandemic, and the resultant creation of ‘us’ and ‘them’ leaves a definite mark. The focus will be twofold: Firstly, I show how the government and the BJP are promoting themselves as the protectors of Hindu India against ‘intruders’ who are identified as the Muslims who live in the country. The popular viewpoint of Muslims being anti-national very quickly fed into the national narrative of Muslims being responsible for India’s first super-spreader events in early 2020. Secondly, I show how this point of view had repercussions on other aspects of social life and the very fabric of India. An interesting consequence of the religious angle is the creation of a new goddess or Shakti representation named Corona Devi (corona goddess), who some Hindus believe will be appeased by their worship. Thus, the article will highlight how, in the light of Covid–19, social, religious and political divides gain centre-stage.
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