WEBINAR: Exploring the Political Ecologies of COVID-19 in India. Environmental Lunchtime Discussion

How does a pandemic reveal inherent socioeconomic and ecological inequalities in an already vulnerable and polarised society? Anwesha Dutta, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute, presents notions on the social and political effects of COVID-19 and the lockdown in India.

Women outdoor wearing masks. Photo.

Tribal women in Chhattisgarh using masks made of locally available tree leaves.

Global biomedical recommendations to manage and contain a pandemic cannot be accepted as universals, especially in the context of a developing country like India where over 90% of the population work in the unorganised sector and over 65% dwell in rural areas.

India started its battle against COVID-19 early, by the Prime Minister calling for a 14 hour public curfew. This was soon followed by a complete 21 days lockdown starting on the 24th of March. However, the consequences of the lockdown was disastrous for hundred thousand migrant workers who started on foot to reach their home in villages hundreds of kilometers away.

The most vulnerable ones

The pandemic has exposed the inherent socioeconomic and ecological inequalities in an already vulnerable and polarised society. This presentation is a reflective at understanding of what an unprecedented lockdown and a pandemic means for the most vulnerable, the state's capacity at managing it and the broader social protection while situating the current COVID-19 crisis in India within a larger political ecological discourse.

About Anwescha Dutta

Anwesha Dutta is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway. She has a PhD in Conflict and Development Studies from Ghent University, Belgium. Her PhD research focused on political ecology of resource extraction, conservation and livelihoods in the reserved forests on the India-Bhutan borderlands in Assam, Northeast India. She is currently involved in an USAID funded project on corruption in natural resource management which will examine revenue sharing mechanisms between park and local communities in Kenya. She will also be starting her work as part of an NFR funded project on illegal river-bed sand mining in South Asia.

About the event series

The OSEH Environmental Lunchtime Discussion series consists of short, 10-15 minute presentations by invited guests, followed by a discussion. We invite speakers from a wide variety of fields, both academic and beyond. The presentations are accessible and are aimed at anyone with an interest in environmental issues. All are welcome.

Tags: Environmental Humanities, HF, IKOS, OSEH, Covid-19, Politics, India, Asia
Published Apr. 7, 2020 12:28 PM - Last modified Apr. 8, 2020 11:31 AM