1st Edition

Pandemics and Literature Regional and Global Perspectives

Edited By Kamlesh Mohan, Saurav Kumar Rai Copyright 2025
    230 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    230 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    This volume provides a literary-cum-historiographical analysis of epidemics and pandemics. It looks at folklores, tribal folktales, eyewitness accounts, memoirs, and missionary writings from India and the West to explore the history of some of the major outbreaks in history. The chapters focus on the impact of outbreaks such as plague, cholera, malaria, tuberculosis, and COVID-19, upon the material life of people, their social dislocation, and their complex responses to such crises.

    The book studies the role of pandemics in pushing scientists, social actors, and littérateurs to develop new paradigms in knowledge generation, theories of environmental dislocation, and the economic slide. It examines themes such as changes in the perception of epidemic diseases across different periods of history, popular responses to state intervention during epidemics, gendering epidemics, as well as the impact of rumours during epidemics.

    An important contribution to the social history of health and medicine, the volume will be useful for students and researchers of cultural studies and medical anthropology, public health, literature, history of pandemics and epidemics, sociology of medicine and South Asian studies.


    Part I: Popular Responses, Rumours and Political Resentments

    1.              Imagining an Epidemic: Literary Representation of Plague in Colonial Bengal

    Arabinda Samanta


    2.              Plague, British Intervention, and Variegated Indigenous Responses in Colonial Lahore

          Maysoon Sheikh


    3.              The Plague Epidemic in Bombay and Poona, 1896-97: Perceptions of the Contemporary Print Media          

    Mridula Ramanna


    4.              Echoes of Drumbeat of Life: An Exploration into Hindi Literature on Epidemics

    Binda D. Paranjape

    Part II: Social Transgressions and Changing Human Relations

    5.              Pandemic Poetry: Tropes and Transgressions           

    Akshaya Kumar


    6.              Pandemics, Literature and Re-visions of Society       

    Kamalakar Bhat


    7.              Pandemics: Time to Die, Time to Love

    Gurupdesh Singh


    8.              Epidemics, Fascism, Absurdity and Resistance: Albert Camus’s The Plague      

    Parminder Singh


    9.              The Rajrog: Reflections on Tuberculosis in Bengali Literature

    Suvankar Dey


    Part III: Divine Punishment, Dislocations and Agonies


    10.           Epidemics in Tribal Folklore: Sub-Himalayan Bengal in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries        

    Sahara Ahmed


    11.           Divine Punishment and Beyond: Epidemics and the Survey of Urdu Fiction 

    Shafey Kidwai


    12.           The Pandemic: A Literary Perspective

    Manju Jaidka


    13.           Memories of the Unforeseen: Epidemics, Graveyard and Religion in Malayalam Literature       

    Shaheen Kelachan Thodika


    14.           Metaphorising an Epidemic: Khalid Jawed’s Ek Khanjar Paani Mein (A Dagger in Water)      

    Mohammad Afaan


    Kamlesh Mohan is an Emeritus Professor of modern history at Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.

    Saurav Kumar Rai is Research Officer at Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, New Delhi, India.