Impacts of Historical Pandemics on India: Through the Lens of 20th Century Hindi Literature
Keywords:historical pandemics, 20th centrury Hindi Literature, pandemic literature, epidemics in India, cholera, smallpox, plague, influenza
India has been swept by pandemics of plague, influenza, smallpox, cholera and other diseases. The scale and impact of these events was often cataclysmic and writers offered a glimpse into the everyday life of ordinary people who lost their lives and livelihoods and suffered the angst and trauma of mental, physical and emotional loss. This paper focuses on the devastation caused by pandemics especially in the Ganges deltaic plains of India. Through selected texts of 20th century Hindi writers – Munshi Premchand, Phanishwar Nath Renu, Suryakant Tripathi Nirala, Bhagwan Das, Harishankar Parsai, Pandey Bechan Sharma – this paper aims to bring forth the suffering and struggles against violence, social injustices and public health crises in India during waves of epidemics and pandemics when millions died as they tried to combat the rampant diseases.
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