Pandemic tropes: How are disease and sickness treated in Assamese short stories? - ALL Jobs News

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Friday, 11 September 2020

Pandemic tropes: How are disease and sickness treated in Assamese short stories?

The coronavirus pandemic is a tremendous challenge for the people of Assam, and its publishing industry is no exception. As an interview with Assam’s oldest and largest bookseller-publisher reveals, the challenges posed by the pandemic are the latest in a long series of social unrest, including decades of insurgency and the violence in the wake of the anti-CAA protests.

The miseries of the pandemic unfurled during the annual floods in an especially horrific combination this year. It has not only thrown up the paradox of implementing public health measures such as social distancing during an environmental emergency but also leads us to ask if the vocabulary and modes of the pandemic are drastically new: the NRC detention camps, after all, stand as sites of isolation and embody the limits of care and empathy in the quest to build a sanitised, wholesome citizenship database.

The Coronavirus pandemic is a reminder like no other of our global interconnectedness, but regional literature serves as important archives of loss and despair. Fiction is a means to explore the social conditions of the communities affected by a medical issue. Dhruba Jyoti Borah’s novel, Azar, for example, deals with the suffering of the common people under the British Raj at the...

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