With the world undergoing drastic socio-political events, how far have we come from the Roaring Twenties?
“History shall witness the rise of glory,
The roaring twenties have arrived.”
Little did they know, what they had in store;
Death, gloom and misery.
The advent of the 1920s can be barely called a period of happiness. The deadly aftermath of the First World War to the rise of fascism, paving the way to the heinous murder of humanity; the 20th Century has been historically glorious and well-recorded. However, the 21st century and especially the beginning of the 2020s has been anything, but, glorious.
January 2020 was characterised by an impending World War 3, courtesy USA and Iran. February 2020 was rather gruesome in the National Capital as a pogrom was carried against the very nerve of Indian Muslims. As the doom of humanity befell us due to a man-made epidemic, we did not know what was in store for us. The futility of man comes forth when something as big and threatening as a natural pandemic visits us. Eerily enough, the 1920’s and 2020’s draw several similarities, right from a life-threatening virus to political turmoil:
- The Pandemic
The 1918 Spanish flu which lasted for over two years infecting over 500 million people is eerily similar to the recent pandemic of COVID-19. Both originating from China, the Spanish Flu and Coronavirus caused/ing large scale hysteria and havoc. The beginning of 2020 surely did not expect the recreation of something so ghastly. Till date over 100,000 cases have been reported of coronavirus and the number is predicted only to accelerate.
- The Economy
Angel Gurría, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Secretary-General, says, “Even if you don’t get a worldwide recession, you’re going to get either no growth or negative growth in many of the economies of the world, including some of the larger ones, and therefore you’re going to get not only low growth this year, but also it’s going to take longer to pick up in the future.” Similarly, the end of the 1920s was characterised by the infamous Great Depression of 1929. Widespread economic depression gradually enveloped the entire world economically and socially.
- Rise of Right-Wing Populism
The 1920’s served as a bedrock foundation to the Weimar Republic, paving the way to the rise of Adolf Hitler, ultimately the epicentre of right-wing. The 20th Century was largely dictated and influenced by the aftermath of Holocaust and World War II economically, structurally, socially and politically. The 2020s haven’t been too politically different, either. With a majority of world leaders belonging to the right side of politics such as Bolsonaro in Brazil; Trump in USA; Modi in India; and most of Europe. The comeback and domination of their side of politics are similar to the rise of right-wing populism back in the day.
- Anticipating World War III
Iran and the US have been at a war-like situation by retaliating with constant airstrikes back in January. Recent news suggests Iran has refused help to the US in lieu of the Coronavirus outbreak, both of the Nations reporting accelerating numbers of casualties after Italy. The pandemic is also being considered a distraction from the impending crisis. 20th Century has been largely motivated and dealt with wars, World War I and World War II have shaped the consequences of several nations, acted as a catalyst in projecting newer policies and international treaties.
- Racism and Casteism
The Ku Klux Klan or the American White supremacist hate group systematically targetted African Americans. Racism and subjugation of individuals on the basis of their colour and race was dominant. Caste was a major factor in paving the way towards concrete legislative measures in the newly formed Indian Constitution. However, just as legal changes do not equate to social changes, till date, racism, casteism, rampant classism and xenophobia have still thrived.
Sharanya Vajjha, a student of history and politics says, “Some problematic notions never cease to exist. Even when concrete developments are made, certain regressive beliefs continue to haunt mankind.”
The discourse surrounding women’s rights and feminism gained momentum right about in the 1900s. The first wave of feminism laid down the focus on women’s legal rights and Right to Vote. Gradually, it incorporated the idea of reproductive rights, sexuality, domestic violence, rape and the social domain of feminism. Yet again, it would be wrong to equivalent legal milestones as social milestones. Till date, harassment, rape culture, incessant casual sexism, workplace harassment, unequal pay, abortion rights, intersectionality and marital rape amongst others remain certain issues which are yet to garner social and legal attention and escalate into concepts of the bygone era.
A century later, individuals still scramble for basic human rights, war and hysteria are rampant. The real question here is, are we supposed to go back to the 1920s or travel our way into the future?
Feature Image Credits: Brand Culture