As people in India and the world become the victims of boredom caused by the coronavirus lockdown. This article analyses the way our lives have and will change post one of the largest lockdowns in modern human history. 

The Industrial Revolution changed a lot of things for humanity. And the postindustrial world not only gave us every amenity within the reach of our hands but also took away our most prized resource, time. As we finished the 20th century and moved into the 21st century numerous technological advancements took place. Even though the world is closer than it ever has been but communication between humans isn’t at an all-time high.

Thus more people today are socially awkward as they just can’t put their thoughts into fluent communicative expressions. The only reason to blame, lack of communication. People avoid any effort to communicate with their peers and choose to delve into their virtual realities, just because it’s easy and as humans, we always want to do activities which require minimum efforts.

This pandemic has shown us how unprepared the whole was to deal with this pandemic. However, on the positive side, this pandemic will be a life lesson for many nations about the importance of medical readiness when the global focus was only on military readiness.

The Broken Myths

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Image Captions: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation in a televised speech about the coronavirus outbreak on March 19, 2020. 

Image Source: Ajit Solanki/AP

Not only communication but this lockdown has also changed many other perspectives that we had built up in our minds.

Eating out had not only become a part of our daily lives but also was thought to be inseparable. I used to think in this manner but since the beginning of March, I had to desist from doing so and so far so good. Most of us had some kind of domestic help for daily chores. But this lockdown has let people understand the importance of labour as now when we are doing all the household chores. This has led many to understand the importance of labour.

Indians themselves assumed that we just can’t abide by the rules and that we do not care about punctuality that much. But this lockdown and various activities related to it suggests otherwise. Not only are the people understanding the importance of rules but abiding by them. People have become so responsible that they are not even shying away from reporting of their family members of misconduct.

For instance, a man in New Delhi’s Preet Vihar recently reported about his son. When he learned that his son had evaded medical screening at the Delhi airport he took immediate action and called in the authorities.

Furthermore, Indians are now more sensitive to public hygiene. People now are conscious of their cleanliness not just at their houses but also on their streets. Hopefully, we see lesser incidents of people spitting, littering and urinating in open public spaces. Thus understanding the importance of hygiene.

NEW DELHI, INDIA - MARCH 27: Delhi Police personnel offers hand sanitizer to a homeless man on the third day of the national lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to curb the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19  near Akshardham temple foot over Bridge, on March 27, 2020 in New Delhi, India. They also distributed food to the workers and the homeless on the road. (Photo by Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times/Sipa USA) (Newscom TagID: sipaphotosten686356.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

Image Caption: New Delhi police officers provide hand sanitizer to a homeless man on the third day of India’s national lockdown.


The Indian Police has had a history tarnished with doings like third-degree torture, lack of readiness, corruption, etc. However, the police around the country have been doing a tremendous job. Going as far as entertaining people in different ways to motivate them to stay at home. Additionally, the medical profession which till some back was seen as a money-making field but now people are understanding the courage it takes be a medical professional in times like these.

Mrinalika, a DU graduate and civil services aspirant, on the issue says, “I have now started socializing with more people. I am connecting with my school friends with whom I had not spoken for years. Not to forget about increased family times. I am trying new dishes and personally have started liking home-cooked food more.”

While the lockdown is helping us to reconnect it also puts a huge strain on us mentally. Psychiatrists around the world have pointed out that mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, are spiking among patients as well as those who have never faced any such issue.

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Image Caption: Health officials check temperatures of drivers at the Tamil Nadu-Andra Pradesh interstate border on the outskirts of Chennai, on March 24, 2020. 

Image Source: Arun Sankar/AFP via Getty Images

With uncertainty on the future events related to the lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic, this situation keeps getting worse. In most of these situations, doctors say, the prime problem is the absence of socializing by the patient.

Numerous people who were mostly on the move before the lockdown are facing obsessive anxiety and fear which has led to acute stress reactions.

The Classic Reruns

The rerun of famous daily soaps by the state broadcaster, Doordarshan has seemingly brought back the 90s. After seeing Indian sitcoms like Dekh Bhai Dekh, Office Office, Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai, etc. I cannot help but think about how versatile and unique the Indian television was before it was invaded by rather senseless ‘saas-bahu’ shows that not only lacked depth but also were short of creativity. These Indian classics also showcase about how original their concepts were.

It is because of this, that classics like Ramayana could amass more than 546 million impressions, even though this was the daily soap’s rerun. It would be amazing if present Indian daily soap producers could understand the importance of originality and hence work towards achieving it. As is being done by various OTT series like Panchayat, The Family Man, Special Ops, Made in Heaven, etc.

Work and Studies from Home

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Image Credits: An empty road in Mumbai, Maharashtra state, the country’s financial hub. The state shut down nonessential businesses and trains until the end of March.
Image Source: Imtiyaz Shaikh/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

One of the biggest changes that we are witnessing, especially in India, is the surge in the popularity of work from culture. This practice has not only made it easy for the employees but is also proving to be beneficial for the employers. As Tata Consultancy Services’ COO NG Subramaniam, puts it, “We do not need more than 25% of our workforce in the office to be 100% productive.”

To add to this, Rajesh Gopinathan, the CEO of TCS, said, “We will now be following the model of 25/25 or 25% workforce will be in the office for 25% of the time. It can also be 25/50 but the matter of the fact is that now it will never be 100/100.”

Sweta, an HR employee based in Gurugram, says, “I have become more efficient while working from home. The amount of time is the same but the efforts are lesser and the results are better.”

Various universities including the Delhi University have been forced to notice lacklustre condition in using and operating electronic and internet-based mediums. Be it online classes or the talks of holding semester exams online, varsities have faced a lot of hurdles. However, it has also made way for better and more technology-based educative mediums in the future.

In a life so fast paces this lockdown has given us a lot of time reflect, reconnect and reinvent. Thus, even though the lockdown is a result of a horrific pandemic but still it has changed and will keep changing our lives in many drastic ways. Whether these would be beneficial or not is yet to be seen.

Featured Image Credits: Getty Images

Aniket Singh Chauhan

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A seven-member committee set up by the University Grants Commission (UGC) has deliberated that the new academic session is to experience a two-month delay, with a beginning in September instead of July, 2020.

As per the report submitted by the UGC committee on Friday, 24th April 2020, the Covid-19 lockdown has officially caused the academic session of 2020-21 to stand delayed, as reported by a government committee. This government committee has also recommended that the beginning of the session be postponed to September, instead of mid-July, as is traditionally.

This decision was taken by a seven member committee set up by the University Grants Commission (UGC), curated you deliberate on the examination and academic related issues that have arisen due to the world’s current situation. The panel was headed by Haryana Central University’s vice-chancellor R C Kuhad. Additionally, A C Pandey, director of Inter-University Accelerator Centre; Aditya Shastri, vice-chancellor of Banasthali Vidyapeeth; and Raj Kumar, head of Panjab University, are among its other members.

As the pandemic hit the globe and the Covid-19 lockdown was instated throughout the country, universities and colleges have been under lockdown since 16th March 2020. This was done in lieu of the order given by the Union government, announcing a countrywide lockdown in order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease.

The UGC committee has also proposed the re-scheduling of the universities’ end of the semester examinations. The examinations, which were to be held in May, have been proposed to be rescheduled for July. The UGC is set to frame the guidelines regarding examinations based on the report submitted by the committee. A source, under the condition of anonymity, told the Indian Express that, “The guidelines will not be binding on higher education institutions, but they will lay down the outer time limit by which the government expects them to start their new academic year.”

The decision to hold examinations, however, has been widely criticised by students and teachers across the country. Delhi University Teacher’s Association (DUTA) has urged the faculty to reject their varsity’s attempts to gather information for aiding the examination process, insisting that scheduling exams by taking only online classes into consideration, is discrimination against students with lesser means and lack of the availability of resources.

“The online classes aren’t enough. There’s either problems with connectivity, or a lack of extra reading material. You definitely can’t hope that online lectures would be able to suffice for class lectures. Many of us didn’t even take all of our textbooks back home because the Holi break was so short, and the lockdown news came with no warning. Plus, a lot of students don’t have a peaceful environment to attend these lectures either. I think it’s insensitive of DU to even consider examinations unless they plan to somehow compensate for the classes that we haven’t gotten to attend,” Pragya, a 2nd Year student from IPCW, told DU Beat.

As of now, all colleges and other educational institutions remain at an indefinite hiatus.

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Shreya Juyal

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The global lockdown is particularly inconvenient for students considering the upcoming summer internship season.

2020 will turn out to be relatively hard for students because many companies have stopped campus recruitments till the pandemic subsides. Ideally, most summer internships begin in the month of April but amid the Coronavirus lockdown, many organisations have revoked offer letters, or have cut down on the duration of the internship from 8 weeks to 5 weeks depending on the duration of the lockdown. This is posing to be problematic for students from Business-schools (B-Schools) considering how internships are important for students.

Several companies have resorted to offering virtual internships. Many students have a postponed joining date. International internship projects have been cancelled until further notice. Many companies that usually offer summer internships are considering postponing the internships to autumn months.

Tejasvi, a student of Lady Shri Ram College said, “First year students have limited options in terms of internships opportunities, and with the ongoing lockdown, students may find it harder to find internships for a few months, but many colleges of Delhi University have Internship Cells that are actively working to bring forth opportunities for students.”

Students in first and second year are actively seeking internships but many companies are providing short term internships with extremely low stipends. Many students of B-schools as well as Delhi University reported a deferred joined date. Sectors like banking, insurance and financial services witnessed a delay in offers made to graduates.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has taken a step forward by requesting all branches of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to conduct special recruitment drives to assist students who may have lost their jobs or who may lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 breakout.

Students can seek internships or short-term projects on LinkedIn by connecting with representatives of various companies. Apart from LinkedIn, there are several platforms for students providing internship opportunities.  Many recruiters are stepping forward to help students to provide them with internships in these stressful times.

Feature Image Credits: Devdiscourse

Suhani Malhotra

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Read the words of our Editor-in-Chief for one last time, before she graduates, as she complains about her stolen sixth semester.

I remember last year, around this time, I was preparing for the farewell ceremony for my seniors at DU Beat- my phone would blow up with some 250 random messages on WhatsApp, endless calls discussing the venue, theme, gifts, and what not. At that time, I didn’t actually understand what the final semester meant to my seniors because I was too engrossed thinking about how life and work would be without them being around. But I also had the settling feeling that I would know when time comes.

Cut to 2020, the last semester of my college life as an undergraduate student, sitting at home, writing this article, and thinking about where my last semester went. I think of the stuff I would have been doing with my college friends and my team at this wonderful organisation.

However, I have always believed ‘expect the unexpected’ and I think that this is the only thing that is keeping me sane in such uncertain times. As kids, most of us might have experienced an unsettling feeling when somebody would snatch out a lollipop from our mouth. This is exactly what happened to our final semester.

Having said this, I would not talk only about the sad situation we are in. As a graduating student, a host of memories flash in front of me right now- the day I got admitted to the University of Delhi(DU), the day I met my college best friend, and the day I joined this organisation.

The three years of my college life have been the most challenging, yet the best years of my life. From being a student coming out of the protected cocoon of school life to graduating college with confidence and an identity, this is what these three years have made me. As college students, we are stuck with assignments, internals, submissions, deadlines, placements, societies, and endless preoccupations.

The nationwide lockdown gave me enough time to introspect and surprisingly, all that mattered to me during this difficult time were the people. I realised that my college life was not only defined by a degree or my friends, but also the security guard of my college who would wish ‘Good morning bacchon’ every morning, the canteen staff who would talk about their families, and the housekeeping staff of the college who would smile and wish me luck before every exam.

I wish I could get to relive all this one last time because I didn’t know that the chai I had on 6th March in my college canteen was the last cup I would have with my college friends while Ravi bhaiya (college canteen staff) talked about his Holi plans. You know something impacts you a great deal when you are unable to write about it without being cheesy and clichéd. It’s a faux-pas I’m willing to indulge in for the sake of honesty.

As much as I have talked about the final year students, I would also like to talk about the juniors. They are also the ones who hope to give their seniors the most memorable days of their college life. The end semester is also a reminder that they have become older, and are now themselves seniors. It’s a nostalgic time for the third-year students but what we often forget is how overwhelming it is for the juniors as well.

Dear Delhi University, the batch of 2020 will miss their last fest season, internals, college parties, night stays, bunks, submissions, and the last lectures and yes, they will miss you too- a place which gave them friendships, lessons, and lots of memories.

Feature Image Source: Anoushka Sharma for DU Beat

Anoushka Sharma

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Owing to the nationwide lockdown which has brought a halt to many activities, students are being asked to pay for the rented accommodations even though their rooms remain unoccupied.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an order according to which landlords cannot demand rent from students, workers and migrant labourers for a month. The order by MHA states, “Wherever the workers, including the migrants, are living in rented accommodation, the landlords of those properties shall not demand payment of rent for the period of one month.” The order further adds, “If any landlord is forcing labourers and students to vacate their premises, they will be liable for action under the Act.”

With the outbreak of Coronavirus, some students fled to their hometown and some remained stuck in their PGs or other rented occupancies. With stringent restrictions of going out or accessing banks among other things, students find it extremely difficult to arrange for rent in these times. Those who have left their PGs to go home are also asked to pay rent, and fearing evacuation in such uncertain times students are facing troubles in paying rents especially when the means to pay have become scarce.

Deya Kangnoo, a first-year B.A programme student at Kamala Nehru College who is currently in Jammu expressed her concerns to DU Beat and said, “My dad’s occupation is business and due to this lockdown people are unable to travel from one place to another, so it’s arduous for all of the business personnel to generate income.” She further added, “It’s really insensitive to ask for rent in such times when families are struggling to maintain livelihoods. I don’t even have a rental agreement which I am sure not every PG student has, so these guidelines by Ministries have no binding on us.”

Mannat, a first-year student of BA (Hons) Journalism expressed the plight of PG owners to DU Beat and said, “Landlords’ income also gets affected with this lockdown since many depend on it as their livelihood including my father, who I see every day getting stressed about his business. It’s only when he initiates dialogues with the student tenants, they agree to pay- so we have money to sustain ourselves for food and needs.” She further added, “the cooks and other workers at PG also deserve to be paid in a respectable manner so it’s only fair that students attempt to negotiate with their landlords.”

Vinitha another student at Kamla Nehru College who is in Mysore told DU Beat, “We have negotiated a deal with the owner and those who are staying in the PG pay the full amount and those who don’t- pay half the sum including myself.”

Students who are from well to do families afford to pay half or full amount of rent to their landlords, whereas others from small towns or villages with minimal access to online banking or even a bank itself face vulnerability and threat of evacuation. Despite the Ministry guidelines, students are asked to pay rent even for the unoccupied rooms, and once again the rich-poor and digital divide comes into the centre stage to give momentum to inequalities and vulnerabilities.


Feature Image Credits: DU Beat archives

Umaima Khanam

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Medical officers, scientists, even the World Health Organisation (WHO) refers to the current pandemic as Coronavirus, but not some powerful world leaders, who have used this opportunity to stigmatize a particular disease. We still have not learnt anything from history, Have we?

 Amidst the world combatting the Coronavirus pandemic, the infamous part-time President, full-time “Twitterati” Donald Trump took to Twitter to address COVID-19 as “The Chinese Virus”. While in the same tweet he also said, that the United States of America would continue supporting the worst hit industries, like Airline and Travel Industry, where he completely ignored the dearth of funds the US healthcare system has been facing, the worst part still remains him nationalizing Coronavirus. 


Image Credits: Talk Radio Image Caption: The tweet where Trump addressed Coronavirus as Chinese Virus
Image Credits: Talk Radio
Image Caption: The tweet where Trump addressed Coronavirus as Chinese Virus


The US has been struggling to deal with the pandemic since Day 1, and Trump’s blame game has only jeopardized the situation more. Earlier, Trump blamed ex-President Barack Obama for the rise in number of cases in the States (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?). Followed by Trump then blaming WHO, his own medical officers and ministers, and well now China. It is confirmed that the first case of Coronavirus was found in China, but does that make the virus Chinese? Trump’s own Secretary went on record to condemn Trump’s racist views as the virus is not propagated by any ethnicity or nationality, but Trump’s views do propagate Xenophobia.

While being asked to comment on his racist remarks of calling the virus Chinese, Trump refuted all accusations by saying, “The only reason I call the virus Chinese is because it originated from China. Whatever I said is not racist. Not racist at all.” Now, the question that persists is why the Coronavirus being called Chinese is extremely wrong?

There are two answers to that question, and both of which lie in power dynamics. Firstly, history has been the witness that whenever a disease or a pandemic has been stigmatized to particular ethnicity or nationality, it has led to catastrophic consequences. In the 14th Century, Jewish people were blamed for the outbreak of Black Death in Europe, and they were killed in great numbers. Again in 19th century Irish Catholic immigrants were blamed for spreading Cholera to the US, and thus were thrown in detention camps and faced mass killings. If you still don’t understand the relation of stigmatization of disease and its effect on people and national policy. In 1876, a group of Chinese people living in San Francisco became the scapegoat for smallpox outbreak which prompted the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act. 

While Trump may just be following the past narrative of naming diseases on the place of their origin, like Ebola, The Zika Virus, and more, what he doesn’t realize is that the world already has realized their mistake of stigmatizing diseases. Therefore, in 2015, WHO laid down the guidelines for naming a disease to avoid exactly what Trump is doing right now. Owing to the ideology that Trump preaches, the Asian-American, specially the Chinese-American community are facing tremendous violence, hate and daily racism. This phenomenon is also evident in India, where several harassment and racism cases have been reported against the North-Eastern citizens.

Secondly, calling the virus Chinese helps Trump to put the entire accountability of failure of the US health infrastructure on China. It also defers people from asking questions to Trump and his health policy, to hating China. Unfortunately, this has been proven true, with now the conspiracy debate around China using Coronavirus as a weapon being more surfaced than questions regarding the poor healthcare system, and how our politicians do not deem to invest in it but would spend all its budget on statues.

The Coronavirus sees no nationality, no ethnicity, no race, it just sees immediate health action plan. Whenever a disease has spread, shameful incidents of xenophobia and stigmatization have been written in history. Trump’s desperate efforts of playing the blame game, and nationalizing the suffrage of people, just shows the ideology of a capital-driven right-wing President.


Feature Image Credits: Bangalore Mirror


Chhavi Bahmba

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Amidst the complete erasure of street food, metro rides and our daily hustle to reach for classes on time, another thing which has not been completely vanished but has definitely got reduced, is people’s selective respectability, based on the social hierarchy.

The year 2020 with all its previous riots, social disorders and now COVID-19, revealed a bunch of realities. These realities apart from awakening some of our hidden talents have also pointed out towards some of the very serious flaws in our lifestyles as well as mindsets. One such major drawback which the lockdown period has made many of us figure is the judgment and treatment on the basis of one’s position in the social hierarchy.

India is known to have its roots in casteism and gender biasness. With the evolution in time and change in the structural management of the country, people have definitely changed but only in their public lives, their private lives are still governed by the primitive norms of discrimination. the aspect which has increased is not inclusion and liberality but hypocrisy and fineness. As time changed the sensitivity towards these issues did develop but yet due to the deep embedment of the exploitative policies in our minds we somewhere or the other tend to promote or act as per them.

One such manifestation is the consideration of the jobs of maids, house helpers, labourers and servants as trivial. The lockdown caused due to the advent of COVID-19 has made us realise their importance in our lives. At present when we see the dryness of our hands caused by washing utensils, or the scratches and cuts produced by mopping the floor, we intensely miss our ‘Shanta bais’. Their belongingness to a lower economic group than ours, or not sharing the same caste as us, doesn’t grant us the right to devalue their work and jobs. The quarantine season has made people realise the essentiality of their services thus, making them worthy of all the appreciation and respect.

Remember the times when the class division made you sniff your nose, when she entered to clean your room, or when you cribbed about switching off the fan when she swept the floor, now being in her shoes cleaning your house at your own has made people realise the worth of house helpers. By bringing the necessity to respect every person, irrespective of their caste, and every job irrespective of the salary given, under the limelight the quarantine period has contributed towards self-growth and development of a healthier prospective.

Another category of people who are often devalued is the housewives, or better called the homemakers. The variation between the two terms and the amount of effort which is needed to switch the former ‘house’ to the latter ‘home’ is made clear by the complete closure of outdoor activities. Seeing them chop vegetables with eyes full of brine, perceiving their pain of rejection, despite cooking in front the stove for hours amidst the summer heat, people have actually put their work under consideration and have begun supporting them in their every day, holiday and salary deprived jobs.

This newly woven fabric of Corona crisis, wherein people are together contributing to carrying out the household chores, or are remembering the work of their house labourers,
evokes a feeling of positivity and delight in between the negativity which encircles the world.

Feature Image Credits: Proeves

Kriti Gupta 

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Pablo Neruda’s ‘Keeping Quiet’ was not just a Grade 12 CBSE poem, it was a warning of the times to come. A reminder to pause and look within. 

The silence today is eerie. Stranded lanes, empty bars, ghastly workplaces, and we will all keep still, we are indeed still, silent; locked inside our homes. What once bustled with gossiping, constant chatter and business deals, remain locked. Our words have found a new place to stay, Houseparty, Zoom, Google Duo, Google Meet, Whatsapp Video Calls, is this how we digitalise India? for once on the face of the earth, let’s not speak in any language; Restricted activity, inactivity, hibernation, let’s stop for a second, and not move our arms so much. A probable gigantic ‘World’ War III suppressed by the actions of a 120-nanometre virus. 

“Bengaluru Thinks COVID-19 Achieved the ‘Impossible’ as Streets Show no Sign of Traffic Jams” It would be an exotic moment, without rush, without engines; divided by the lines of religion, caste and class, today all of us struggle, one with their ‘mozzarella and cheddar,’ while the others drink off of the street. We would all be together? Just not in a sudden strangeness. The impending doom of mass unemployment, recession and hunger, who says we did not see it coming? A single catastrophe had to befall the world in order to expose its fallacies and inequality. 

International relations and global politics are at an all-time high, Trump’s threats of “retaliation” against India for not clearing exports of the drug to the States. Trump withdraws funding of the WHO amidst a global pandemic. Hinted to be a bio-weapon in the hands of the Chinese, those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, over 1,37,000 lives lost, victories with no survivors. 

Restlessness and inactivity dominate the larger part of our days, scrolling and scrolling, binge-watching and gorging, have we confused our lives with total inactivity? The futility of man takes the baton, what is life without social interaction, chaos, the hustle and bustle of Delhi Metro? What is our purpose beyond a degree and job? When was the last time you painted the old building visible from your terrace? Or baked the cake you so desperately want to devour? 

Our productivity, rat-race, the desire to achieve more in a time dedicated to silence, to inactivity; management books write, ‘how to utilise your free time,’ ‘how to be ahead of others,’ ‘how to fall into the hands of capitalism,’ If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence, might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death.

The earth today seems dead, New York dugs another mass burial as the numbers of lives lost climb the ladders. Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead, a time shall come, in the near future, when we would look back, think of the scary uncertain days, crawl in the corner of a room and be thankful that humanity survived; and later proves to be alive.

Global warming, climate change, brutal capitalism, exploitation of human right, wars, sheer injustices, is it time to introspect? Introspect the futility of falling prey to the norm of society? Introspect the futility of human relations, corporations, survival at the cost of nature? Now I’ll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go.

Featured Image Credits: Economic Times

Anandi Sen

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Picturing life after COVID-19 pandemic subsides, including the consequences of present-day actions on our future.

Three months ago, SARS-CoV-2 was a thought none of us were even familiar with. As individuals, communities and countries – we were battling too many other forces of disruption already, in India itself; widespread protests against Citizenship AA-NRC were being endowed nationwide to save the fabric of democracy. In hindsight, all of that seems like a prologue to what feels now is an apocalypse we only read and saw on cinema screens – as a form of entertainment. Oh, how the tables turn.

Covid-19 has crashed economies, broken healthcare systems, and devastated the lives of the working class. Modern society has been disrupted on a scale most of the living people today have never witnessed. We’re living in historic times – something that will so profoundly shape our future from now that we won’t even have time to process what our ‘normal’ past felt like.

According to The Atlantic, all children who’ll be born into a world forever altered by Covid-19 should henceforth be referred to as Generation C. In a post coronavirus world, which in itself is still a luxury to imagine (there is no cure or vaccine for the virus, as of today); our relationship with the digital world will be tremendously interrelated.

If the current round of social distancing measures work, the pandemic may ebb enough for things to return to a semblance of normalcy. But as the status quo of chaos returns, so could the virus. Stephen Kissler of Harvard said, “We need to be prepared to do multiple periods of social distancing.” There’s a greater threat of recovered survivors of Covid-19 being stigmatized by society, a pattern familiar in history with survivors of Ebola, HIV and SARS. There is also a mental health pandemic running unchecked, one with increasing chances of proving fatal due to dearth of community mobilization in these times – isolation, especially in a toxic environment, is dangerous for those who suffer from mental illnesses.

Over the coming weeks, much will be at stake collectively, and for some of us also individually. Today, uncertainty about what the post-pandemic world will look like is rife, but we do know it will be built upon the words and deeds we choose now”, writes Javier Solana

Feature Image Credits: Joan Wong for The Atlantic

Paridhi Puri

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Shutting down of educational institutions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has necessitated the need for teachers to shift their lectures to the web.

“XYZ is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting” sliding into my mail whenever my professors wish to take a lecture is a notification that never fails to abruptly remind me of how much the world has changed and that I have been under quarantine, along with the whole country, for the past three weeks, something which I tend to forget from time to time having become so accustomed to it already, though in my defence, there is nothing very memorable about the quarantine or the “entity” that made it necessary, the coronavirus pandemic.

Infecting more than a million people across the world, and taking the lives of more than a hundred thousand, the coronavirus pandemic can be considered one of the most devastating and unfortunate events in human history. With lockdowns being announced, almost all corporate offices, private and public sector companies and educational institutions have been forced to pull down their shutters. 

Consequently, most official enterprises, be it meetings or seminars, have moved to online platforms, with teleconferencing applications like Skype and Zoom experiencing a swarm of new users. These new “migrants” also include university professors and school teachers, along with their students. 

While the idea of online teaching is not new, with many online educational platforms having been in existence for the past few years, the manner and the magnitude at which colleges and schools have unanimously adopted it recently is unprecedented. There are mainly two modes of transmission – sharing pre-recorded videos of the teacher with students or the teacher video-conferencing simultaneously with every student. The latter tends to get preferred over the former as it allows students to put forth their doubts there and then, along with the fact that the teacher can change the direction of teaching according to the prevailing line of thought going around his/her class.

Online teaching has its benefits. Since it allows the teacher and the student to be a part of the classroom from the comfort of their homes, it cuts the time and financial costs of house-to-school or house-to-college commute, as well as allowing sick students to attend their classes, which they otherwise wouldn’t have. “I was bedridden due to a minor surgery for a few days last week but I still didn’t miss any teaching as all my classes were being held online”, said a University Of Delhi student, on the condition of anonymity.

Commuting to one’s college or school everyday and staying there for 5-6 hours undoubtedly causes fatigue which hinders one’s attention during offline lectures, something which doesn’t happen in the case of online ones. 

“Zoom goes from conferencing app to the pandemic’s social network”, reads the headline of an article by Drake Bennett in the Bloomberg Business Week. The application is one of the biggest gainers of the sudden surge in online lectures, with downloads experiencing a boom from a mere 10 million to a whopping 200 million across devices. Being easy to operate and handle, it has even been patronized by the older not-so-tech-savvy generation of university professors.

But the problems of online lectures also start with Zoom. It has come under immense scrutiny for its relatively lax security systems, especially the absence of end-to-end encryption, which makes it prey to possible data theft. Since public zoom meetings can be accessed by merely opening the link for it, there have been numerous cases where hackers and mischief-mongers have hijacked meetings and lectures armed with offensive slogans, inappropriate images, abusive texts and racial slurs. “Zoombombing”, as this act is commonly known as, has forced many companies like Google and SpaceX to ban the usage of the application in its offices. Schools in Singapore and Taiwan have followed suit.

In fact, the application has been accused of spying on and recording personal user data, as well as tinkering with the in-built software of computers. Brian Feldman, in an article for the New York Magazine rubbished these claims and claimed that the problems were “sloppy rather than malicious”, though he sharply criticized the application, writing “..a billion dollar company seems to be held together with a duct tape and string.” Zoom’s CEO, Eric Yuan apologized for the glitches and attributed them to the company not having been prepared for such an enormous boom in its user base while also assuring implementation of stronger security measures in the coming weeks.

Besides Zoom’s complications, the most prominent drawback of an online lecture is the shunting out of students without internet access or electronic device access, especially in India where a large chunk of students come from rural backgrounds or poor families. This goes against the principles of government institutions which were established to provide equal education to all. 

Additionally, in case of some components of subjects composed of a considerable amount of quantitative analysis or those containing figures and graphs, say Economics or Physics, it gets a tad difficult to comprehensively  expound the learning matter through mere audio explanation or by writing on a notebook. Though this problem can be solved by the use of slideshow presentations. Ethically, there also tends to a lack of seriousness in the case of an online class when compared to an offline one since there is an absence of a disciplined classroom atmosphere. “I often end up browsing through my phone or laptop during lectures, or sometimes even worse, I turn off my video and leave to do something else.”, said a student of Daulat Ram College, on the condition of anonymity.

Nevertheless, the world was not prepared for these recent unfortunate developments, and adult office-goers and college students alike, and the Zoom application, despite its complications, have done a commendable job in keeping the show running partially. And with doctors and nurses across the world volunteering for the treatment of infected patients, medical experts and scientists working day and night for a cure or a vaccine, governments introducing strict movement restrictions and responsible citizens complying to these restrictions, one can hope that by the end of this year, professors and their students shall return to their classrooms.



Featured Image CreditsAnukriti Mudgil for DU Beat

Araba Kongbam

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