Having lost one more grand aunt yesterday, i am at a loss for any conception of meaning of progress or productivity. Watsapp pings are dreaded, at the fag end of the semester when submissions are due. What is the meaning of ‘digital’ or ‘finance’ or ‘innovation’ or citations for academics in this era.
May be we can remember the pain of the current impulse and have more empathy, and bin the cv mindset.
Public Health is a state subject in India and we are aware that each state in India has a few hospitals (in industrial towns and state capitals in particular) that have the facilities. These hospitals are not built for 1000 percent surge, and for pandemic times. Healthcare is a sociotechnical construction; it needs skilled doctors and nurses, ventilators and oxygen cylinders as well as a caring institutional culture. Each hospital will have its own unique actor network, and during the pandemic the map mutates each hour.
Public health prior to the pandemic was a backburner issue for India. As a state subject, some states have done better than others. We preferred to spend border conflicts rather than prepare for the war within. India, has faced multiple epidemic in our history including the Surat Plague in the 1990’s. Clearly, Gujarat as a state has not learnt lessons from its contemporary medical history. Maharashtra, as a site for the 1897 Bombay Plague seemed to have forgotten the past. The risk of forgetting lessons from history, leads to repeating them at severe costs as the cliché goes.
Our social media feeds for the first time in recent memory have turned into buffering obituaries. Just look at a Twitter feed and all that one can sense is helplessness. I have lost many Aunts and Uncles over the past few months including a health scare in the immediate family this week. Sitting far away from home is a case study for anxiety and stress in the midst of submissions.
There is another migrant crisis underway, however as the last episode they will return as home is is where the work is. The silver lining is the preparedness of non profits and community actors to deliver services and support at the level of the micro everyday. There is a palpable anger against the powers of the day and it is legitimate. But, we need a cohesive response as polity. Please leave the politics for later, we need to save lives now.
And let us build hospitals, and the medical infrastructure on a war mode. Do not forget the priorities in pandemic peace time for Big Boss.
So good tor connect with fellow researchers who do work on migration histories of the Gulf. These serendipitous interactions happen when folks read up my work online and reach out. Grateful, as we need to write our own histories of the Gulf.
My article for The Tilak Chronicle has been cited by the esteemed public intellectual and former media advisor to the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, Mr. Sanjaya Baru in his book India’s Power Elite. A shoutout to Kunal Tilak ji for the opportunity!
Nasi Biryani in Singapore and Malaysia has a different configuration of separate coloured rice and the choice of protein, either floating in a gravy or is a chewy fried texture. It is very different from the ‘dum’ variety in South Asia from Dhaka to Karachi via Malabar, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Lucknow. It is rather similar to Yemeni Mandi or Arabic Biryani found in the southern Gulf. It is may be the Hadrami influence on the food refracted through the local spice palate.
A Indian Muslim or Mamak place here in Clementi Sunset Way has a chef from Pattukottai in Tamil Nadu in India who has introduced the southern Tamil Nadu variant of Dum Biryani at the restaurant on a trial basis. The mutton biryani has the meat falling off the bone which is a delight to the culinary fan in me. The stocky man with a pot belly, speaking in fluent Singlish has been chatting up with me to ask about the quality of biryani being cooked as it is really not the staple in a Mamak place. He has worked as a cook in a restaurant in Malaysia for 12 years where his boss taught him the dum technique. He was pleased to bring in the Indian version here, atleast at the experimental level.
Biryani can be an Indian Ocean World metaphor for diversity from Mukalla to Nagercoil to Singapore.