The Second Wave

Reflections on the Pandemic through Photography, Performance and Public Culture
Translated by
₹599.00 $24.50 £18.99

Chosen by Geetanjali Shree, International Booker Prize 2022 Winner, as one of the ‘four extraordinary books of the year’ in Indian Express, December 2022.

Lessons in resilience in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India.

Focusing on the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India between April and December 2021, Rustom Bharucha’s timely essay reflects on four interconnected realities that haunted this ongoing crisis—death, grief, mourning, and extinction. How do we cope with multiple deaths and the dislocation of rituals when the act of mourning is either postponed or denied? What roles do political surveillance, censorship, the regulation of lockdowns, and the sheer indifference to the lives of people play in the containment of civil liberties? Through vivid examples of photography, theatre, dance, visual arts, and the cultures of everyday life, this meditative essay illuminates both the horror of the pandemic as well as its unexpected intimacies and revelations of shared suffering. Against the destruction of nature and the disrespect for the nonhuman, The Second Wave offers lessons in resilience through its reflections on the ethos of waiting and the need to re-envision breath as a vital resource of self-renewal and resistance.

Listen to a podcast featuring an interview with author Rustom Bharucha by Cambridge scholar Garima Jaju for ‘New Books in South Asian Studies’.

Read a detailed, perceptive review of the book by Joseph Schreiber: ‘Writing toward a dark hope: The Second Wave by Rustom Bharucha’.

The Second Wave is an unsettling read, deeply personal yet universal, horrifying yet infusing hope in the many acts of self-renewal and resistance during the pandemic. It is a book that merits multiple readings.’—Harsh Sethi, Biblio

‘Bharucha has certainly provided us the answer to the question ‘How to write about a tragedy?’ What is certain is that the manner in which Bharucha presents the pandemic before us and the fractures within our societies that he exposes, will change the lens the reader looks at the world through. The book would stay with the reader, urging her to keep coming back to it, a phe- nomenon rare with nonfiction.’—Pooja Kalita, Contributions to Indian Sociology. Click here to read the full review (behind a paywall).

‘Rustom Bharucha brings a poet’s attentiveness and a lapidarist’s precision to his analysis of an unforeseen time and India's response to the Covid-induced pandemic.’—Jerry Pinto, author of The Education of Yuri and Em and the Big Hoom

‘This book is a remarkable meditation of the Covid-19 pandemic, which compelled the author “to think about the most basic issues of life, death, survival and resistance,” grief, mourning and extinction, the banality that surrounds us with the state concealing its failure of governance, and to re-envision “what is means to be human”. It is an intellectual, ethnographical and deeply felt personal analysis against a background of personal loss, where even the right to mourn has been snatched away.’—Krishnan Srinivasan, India's former foreign secretary, writing in The Statesman. Click here to read the full article.

ISBN: 9781803090757
Publication Year: June 2022
Rights: UCP
Pages: 250 | 10 colour plates
Format: Paperback
Size: 6" x 9"
Series: The India List
Category: Culture Studies
Shipping: Shipping rates will be calculated at checkout and will depend on your location.

If you are ordering from India, your order will be shipped from Seagull Books, Calcutta.

If you are ordering from the US or the UK or anywhere else in the world, your order will be shipped from the University of Chicago Press' distribution centre, Chicago.

Please note: For customers paying in currencies other than Indian rupee or US dollar, prices will be calculated according to the currency conversion rate at the time of purchase and may vary from the printed price.


leave a review