The recovery rate is so high, the mortality rate is so low. Statistics are marshalled to desensitise us, make us look away from 1,66,000 plus Indians who have lost their lives to Covid.
The number is too small. The death per million ratio is too little. It’s so much less than the worst affected countries. Let us not look at the least affected countries. Let us debate which data to cherry pick. Let us reduce all lives to charts, graphs, ratios, percentages.
1.66 lakh Indians dead and counting don’t deserve our empathy, their families don’t get the condolences of politicians. If only they had died in communal riots we would argue about them. If only they were film stars committing suicide we’d care.
There is a shocking national consensus in India to not empathise with Covid victims, to not think about the medical suffering, the human cost of a pandemic.
Yes we need to move on and build the economy but what if the virus doesn’t agree? What if the bloody virus mutates and comes back to cock a snook at our normalcy?
We’ll again take recourse to data to not look at human suffering: the grief of families, the anxieties of hospitalisation and so on.
As we deal with Covid second wave, India needs to shed its ‘let them die, everybody has to die anyway’ attitude. Our lives matter even if the government that donates away our vaccines doesn’t think so.
The first policy change we need to deal with Covid second, third, fourth, fifth and fifty-fifth wave to agree that we don’t deserve this. We deserve better.
And fuck data. It is data that lulled us into thinking it was all over.

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More from @DilliDurAst

6 Apr
% population vaccinated (at least one dose) as of today

Israel 59%
Bhutan 62%
Chile 37%
UK 47%
USA 32%
Morocco 12%
Barbados 22%
Turkey 12%
Brazil 7.9%
Mexico 6.3%

India 5.1% — For a country with not one but three vaccines being made locally, this is a failure.
Of course when India isn’t shining on performance we must look at absolute numbers not percentages. But when we have to look at Covid cases or deaths we must look at percentages and not absolute numbers. Lies, damned lies and statistics.
Read 4 tweets
18 Jun 20
Modi’s idea of foreign policy is #ModiFirstIndiaSecond. Knowing that Modi only wants to produce good images for domestic audience, foreign leaders are happy to indulge his megalomania. This is how a Xi Jinpimg has managed to take Modi for a ride.
India needs a leader whose foreign policy objective is the Indian national interest and not a cynical use of foreign policy for domestic positioning. I don’t want Modi to wear a veshti before a foreign leader in Tamil Nadu just because BJP wants to make a point before TN election
I want Modi to sit in Delhi and find ways of saving Indian territory and soldiers from China, to find a way of making Indian manufacturing strong enough that we need to import less and less from China. But all this man wants is a photo-op to circulate on BJP’s WhatsApp university
Read 6 tweets
17 May 20
Some people believe that Narendra Modi won in 2014 and 2019, and his party wins many state elections, because 99.9% Hindus are communal, and that they vote for Islamophobia over everything else -- including their own economic interests. Thread on why that's BS.
The BJP-led NDA's combined voteshare in 2019 general elections was 45%. The Hindu population is 79%. Thus, the idea that almost all Hindus are Islamophobes, or vote for Islamophobia over all else, is statistically untrue.

Now let's see the 45%.
The idea that everybody's a Hindutva bigot has gained ground because many of us see the widespread prevalence of majoritarian bigotry among our family and friends. Facebook and Whatsapp have particularly made us confront what are family and friends are like.
Read 19 tweets
27 Apr 20
The Director General of Medical Education in Uttar Pradesh wrote a letter to the state's 24 medical colleges, saying the PPE they were given is so substandard they should not use them. This letter leaked to the media. Guess what the great democrat Yogi Adityanath did next?
Great democrat Yogi has asked the UP Police's elite STF to investigate how the letter leaked to media. timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/u…
The STF usually chases organised crime. This is apt, because journalism for Yogi is organised crime. And commentary is terrorism.
If there was a state-wise ranking of press freedom in India, I bet UP would emerge as the second worst, the worst being Jammu & Kashmir. The harassment of journalists, FIRs against them have become so rampant that the media in UP is afraid to do any story that may displease Yogi.
Read 5 tweets
25 Apr 20
The 1919 equivalent of smartphone cameras -- sketching. "Sketch everything worth sketching," said this ad in The Times of India, 25 October 1919.
In old newspapers, the ads are often more fascinating than the news reports. Like this one, for accounting books.
Ever heard of insurance for eyeglasses? Times of India, January 1918
Read 6 tweets
24 Feb 20
Government-supported mobs will clash with democratic, non-violent anti-CAA protestors. This will be spun as “CAA protests turn violent”. Such violence shall then be used to clamp down on all anti-CAA protests, delegitimise them.
CJI Bobde will say he won’t listen to violent protestors. Hate-mongering misinformation machines will say jihad, jihad. The path to making millions stateless is laden through diabolical spin-doctoring, misinformation, manufacturing a fake consensus.
The only reason why this hasn’t happened so far (outside UP, maybe Karnataka) is because BJP thought it would benefit from protesting Muslims, using them to manufacture ‘Hindus threatened’ narrative. For example:
m.timesofindia.com/india/shaheen-…
Read 8 tweets

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