ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Lessons in Tackling a Public Health Catastrophe

Influenza Pandemic of 1918

As India battles hard to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important to look back and examine how a major pandemic that occured nearly 100 years ago—the influenza pandemic of 1918 or “Spanish flu”—was tackled by the then colonial administration. The challenges encountered are examined, drawing specifically from the experiences of the state of Mysore, considered as one of the well-administered, “progressive” princely states in British India.

When the world and India are battling hard to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important to look back and examine how a major pandemic that occurred nearly a century ago, the influenza pandemic of 1918, or Spanish flu, was tackled. This pandemic killed around 12 million people in India alone, more than in any other country. The challenges encountered by the then administration in colonial India are examined, drawing specifically from the experience of the state of Mysore, which was considered one of the better-administered “progressive” prin­cely states in British India. Census data and archival records, available both in India and England, are used to make a historical analysis of the administrative challenges in handling the pandemic.

Influenza Mortality in India

Dear reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Updated On : 31st May, 2021

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top