As the world approaches the one-year anniversary marking the global shutdown due to COVID-19, it is important to reflect upon how life has been altered at its behest. The ninth issue of OpenAxis, hence, attempts to encapsulate the various spheres of human functioning that have been reimagined and transformed in the light of the pandemic.
Rithika Abraham discusses the stakes for the State in supporting heteronormativity in society in the aftermath of the Indian government’s argument in the Delhi High Court, which deemed same-sex marriages to be against Indian ethos. Mali Annika Skotheim draws parallels between Thucydides’ account of the Athenian plague and the happenings surrounding the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic in present time. In the background of the Unnao poisoning incident, Shreyashi Sharma evaluates how law enforcement responds to the intersectionality of gender and caste-based animosities on-ground – in ways that may contradict the spirit of the law itself. The misinformation campaigns targeted towards poor and minority communities due to the pandemic are discussed by Maya Mirchandani. Saaransh Mishra dissects the inappropriate mechanisms underlying the selection of Nobel Laureates, many of whom tend to behave in ways that directly oppose the significance of the award.
The role of the pandemic in democratizing art galleries and museums, and debates about whether these effects will persist in a post-COVID world are discussed by Muskaan Kanodia. Gauri Bhawkar assesses how the health of economies is maintained by antitrust laws – legal provisions that aim to protect consumers and small businesses from the dominating activities of large-scale firms – as well as documents the chaos that can unfold in the absence of the same. Akhil Gogoi’s significance in Assamese politics, as well as the future of the Assamese political landscape is analyzed by Jyotirmoy Talukdar, as India approaches the state’s assembly election. Avantika Bhatia examines the advent of online therapy in the context of the pandemic, including its implications for a post-pandemic world. Questions pertaining to the significance of campus food outlets are raised by Devika Goswami, who also explores how the pandemic has altered the campus dining experience for students, as well as those operating these food joints.
Rujuta Singh examines how fashion trends come into being, and discusses how fashion collections adapted to peoples’ moods and opinions during the lockdown. The pandemic brought about significant changes in the ways people interact with each other, in light of which Harshita Bedi reflects on love and relationships during the pandemic. Kartikay Dutta critically examines the legacy of Novak Djokovic, the esteemed tennis player, and asks the age-old question: “Can art ever be separated from the artist?”. The significance of gossip – and the lack thereof in the course of the pandemic – for human interactions is discussed by Akanksha Mishra. Tanisha A captures the experience of filmmaking during the pandemic, by documenting her journey of working on her short film, Under the Precipice Rolls the Sea.
Triggered by the pandemic, the process of re-imagining responsible and sustainable travel in India is examined by Tisha Srivastava. Deeksha Puri explores mental health and emotional concerns, and how they have been affected by the pandemic. The privatization of vaccine distribution in India is analyzed by Anjana Ramesh, who evaluates its consequences and implications for the country’s COVID-19 inoculation drive and its public healthcare system. Finally, Ridhima Manocha explores human relations further by analyzing how wedding commemorations and other celebrations shifted to video calling services like Zoom.
The past year was marked by chaos, confusion and a complete unraveling of current understandings about human life. As we ease into 2021, it is our hope that Issue 9 helps unpack, explore and analyze select features of the past year that make it unforgettable in contemporary history.
– Aarohi Sharma, Madhulika Agarwal, Rohan Pai and Saman Fatima
2020: Year in Review