Behind the lives lost during the pandemic lie India’s failing public institutions

Demographic, India

Behind the lives lost during the pandemic lie India’s failing public institutions

The numbers keep rising. Daily counts of those afflicted and those dying are matched with images of horrifying suffering: of desperate scrambles for hospital beds, the dire need for oxygen, mass cremation without the rituals and respect for the dead, and soul-shattering public mourning by countless bereaved. As a nation, we watch with helplessness and consider the pandemic to be the culprit that has wrecked our celebration of having beaten it and is now despoiling our international reputation to be the next superpower.

In what should be a collective and mass grieving for the deaths of our citizens–deaths that were unwarranted, a result of the government’s malignant neglect–is also the time to reckon with some deeper truths; that these pandemic-marked deaths were in the making long before COVID-19 struck us in early 2020.

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