“I tend to use the word ‘afterlife’ rather than ‘the past’, because I think that things that have happened in history have a life in the present. It’s ongoing.”
Since the state of India has shirked its responsibilities toward managing our public health, ordinary people have been picking up the slack by doing voluntary relief work, acting as first responders, and searching for medical equipment to make up for shortages. Our volunteer efforts feel like the only way to ensure the survival of our communities.
A hilly, snowcapped terrain leads to the village, which has witnessed one of the harshest winters in the Kashmir Valley in decades. The Forest Department managed to cut the trees before anyone could protest, as people had been braving subzero temperatures inside their homes.
The pandemic’s second wave in India was merciless. In the first week of May, 2.7 million people were infected and 26,000 died. India’s metropolises became open memorials of death and anguish, the suffering belying cracks in the invincible and messianic image of Modi, who became diminished in his darkest hour.
For the Mughal rulers, whose control covered much of the subcontinent, India could be imagined as something close to a unified state. However, for the millions of people beneath their rule, no sense of a “nation” or being part of “India” is evident.
India's prime minister Modi once said he would bring development and unity to his country, eradicate poverty, and end corruption. But the issues he once campaigned on could lead to his own undoing.