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The Second Wave: Reflections on the Pandemic through Photography, Performance and Public Culture (The India List) (Paperback)
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Lessons in resilience in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India.
Focusing on the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India between April and December 2021, Rustom Bharucha’s timely essay reflects on four interconnected realities that haunted this ongoing crisis—death, grief, mourning, and extinction. How do we cope with multiple deaths and the dislocation of rituals when the act of mourning is either postponed or denied? What roles do political surveillance, censorship, the regulation of lockdowns, and the sheer indifference to the lives of people play in the containment of civil liberties? Through vivid examples of photography, theater, dance, visual arts, and the cultures of everyday life, this meditative essay illuminates both the horror of the pandemic as well as its unexpected intimacies and revelations of shared suffering. Against the destruction of nature and the disrespect for the nonhuman, The Second Wave offers lessons in resilience through its reflections on the ethos of waiting and the need to re-envision breath as a vital resource of self-renewal and resistance.
About the Author
Rustom Bharucha is a writer, cultural critic, and dramaturg based in Kolkata, India. He is the author of several books including Theatre and the World, The Question of Faith, In the Name of the Secular, The Politics of Cultural Practice, Rajasthan, Another Asia, and Terror and Performance.
"An extraordinarily thoughtful meditation on the depiction of illness, death and displacement, the expression of loss and grief, and the possible positive potential of the pandemic experience for the future."
"The Second Wave is an unsettling read, deeply personal yet universal, horrifying yet infusing hope in the many acts of self-renewal and resistance during the pandemic. It is a book that merits multiple readings."
"The Second Wave is an intellectual tour de force of contemplation on the depredations and consequences of the pandemic in India."
— The Statesman
"Rustom Bharucha brings a poet's attentiveness and a lapidarist’s precision to his analysis of an unforeseen time and India's response to the Covid-induced pandemic."
— Jerry Pinto, author of The Education of Yuri