New Delhi: A new book written by policy analyst and former journalist Jyoti Mukul gives a detailed account of what India has been through during the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Titled The Great Shutdown it also chronicles the Covid-19 regulations before and after lockdown, the unlocking phase, the second wave and the alternatives that were available for travelling.
Published by HarperCollins India, the book will be released on 25 March on Softcover, ThePrint’s online venue to launch select nonfiction books.
The launch of the book coincides with the day a nationwide lockdown was imposed on 25 March 2020, in an effort to curb the rising Covid cases in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the restrictions days after ‘Janata Curfew’ was observed on 22 March, Sunday.
T.N. Ninan, columnist and former editor at Business Standard, praised Mukul for telling the story with an admirable mastery of detail and a reporter’s eye. He believes the story needed to be told because the Covid pandemic is a seminal event that will live in people’s memories for decades.
“It is an excellent account of the ad hoc decisions and bungling of official responses at each stage, the effect of this on ordinary people trapped without work and money far from home and the crisis hitting sundry businesses,” he said.
Aruna Roy, Ramon Magsaysay Award winner and founder of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, called it “a must-read for every concerned citizen”. She said the book was informative and important at a time when people are still struggling to wrap their minds around the phenomenon of Covid-19, caught between individual tragedies and national/ global crises.
“The Great Shutdown is an excellent collation of organized information and analyses, needed to unpack most of our confusions,” she added.
Author Mukul is a commentator on the Indian economy, transport and infrastructure sectors. She has travelled widely to rural heartlands and energy installations in India during her reporting career. Her book was conceived the moment the home ministry decided the Indian Railways would no more move for passengers and airlines would be shut at the beginning of the lockdown in 2020.