Season 1, Episode 1

Pandemics & Borders

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We are policing ourselves and our neighbors these days… our governments are certainly tracking us! States are closing national borders. We stay at home waiting for permission to leave.

We mull over the loss of civil liberties under the guise of the pandemic. And to understand these responses, we learn about a devastating  pandemic from the 1800s.

In 1817, cholera broke out in Bengal and became a pandemic. Millions died. Europeans were ruling most of Asia, and they imposed restrictions on movement that’ve persisted to this day.

Bonus Episodes

8: A Disease Sleuth in Bangalore

8: A Disease Sleuth in Bangalore

British scientist Sir Ronald Ross tries to stops a deadly cholera outbreak in 1895 Bangalore. He applies learnings from the new field of epidemiology

4: Why Do Colonial Cities Have Bad Water?

4: Why Do Colonial Cities Have Bad Water?

A history of colonial neglect in Calcutta has led to an unusual mode of water delivery. Historian Pratik Chakrabarti also discusses pandemics and discrimination

2: When Plague Hit Bombay

2: When Plague Hit Bombay

An old draconian law from 1897, when plague hit Bombay, has been reinstated for Covid-19. Interview with historian Tarangini Sriraman

1: Medicine at the Border

1: Medicine at the Border

What should nations dowhen a pandemic hits? Historian Alison Bashford talks about the various kinds of borders that define pandemics and immigration


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