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India’s Second Wave: A Man-Made Disaster?
India, Covid-19, politics, misgovernance
In India, daily cases of infection due to Covid-19 have passed a record number of 350 000, the pandemic killing officially about 2,500 people every day, including young men and women. This humanitarian disaster is partly due to the way the Covid-19 virus has mutated: the new "Indian variant" appears to be both more contagious and more deadly. But this catastrophe is also man-made and reflects trends which had already been pointed out during the first wave, one year ago. On March 31, 2020, I had called the Covid-19 pandemic a "global time bomb". Issues I highlighted then need to be revisited again. The way the government of India dealt with the pandemic reflects three dimensions of India’s dysfunctional governance that were there before: the present crisis, like an acid test, accentuates existing features. It is revealing of the wandering of decision-makers and the grasp of Hindu nationalism over India’s politics and society, it shows that for the country’s rulers power can be pursued at any cost and that no institution can resist them, and finally, it highlights the crisis of federalism.