A Note From The Editor: The Hungry Tide
Amidst this tinderbox of pain, rage and fear, there are heroes who have risen from among us
The image of an infant, tugging at the shroud of his dead mother laid out on a railway platform, hoping she will respond, is the most searing reminder of the massive humanitarian crisis we are faced with, in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown. The 35-year-old woman was returning home from Gujarat to Bihar on a Shramik special train, but died upon reaching Muzaffarpur. The family says it’s hunger and dehydration; the police call it illness. Whatever the cause, clearly the four-day journey under unimaginably harsh conditions, precipitated it. And she is just one of more than 100 people who have died trying to return home, after the lockdown cut off their means of livelihood and food.
The lockdown has, no doubt, protected us—most of us, who had a decent home to remain safe within. However, it’s been catastrophic for the swell of people working in the unorganized sector (over 80 per cent of India’s workforce). For millions of Indians, the greatest fear is not the disease, but hunger.
Amidst this tinderbox of pain, rage and fear, there are heroes who have risen from among us. ‘Heroes in White Coats’ is a tribute to four (among the millions of) extraordinary health workers who have put their lives on the line to keep us safe.
We regret that we could not get our May issue to you—but you have been in our thoughts, and this double, wellness-special issue has a solid plan to keep you and your family healthy and protected. Do not miss the column by Yuval Noah Harari, the brilliant historian, who suggests that cooperation, not hatred or barriers, can help us tide over this pandemic.
Stay well. Stay safe.