Barkha Dutt on the hardships Indians faced during the carnage of COVID | On Books podcast

The story of Covid could not be told sitting in the studio, says journalist, anchor, columnist and author Barkha Dutt. What began as daily reporting of going to Delhi border and returning to the studio to put out the story of India’s fight against COVID after the 21-day lockdown was announced during the first wave, Ms. Barkha realised the story of the pandemic was not about policies, announcements and statistics. It was about reaching out to human beings behind the numbers.

Her people-connect stories took her on a journey of 30,000 kms across 14 States in 120 days and became her new book : “Humans of Covid- To Hell and Back”, published by Juggernaut.

Nothing was planned, in writing of the book. The poignant accounts of hardships that millions of ordinary Indians faced with courage during the carnage of COVID over the last two years just kept adding up.

While writing about the migrants who were compelled to walk home after the first lockdown, to chronicling victims, survivors and heroes of the pandemic, Ms. Barkha herself became the story she was reporting. She lost her father to COVID and despite her privilege and connections, she could do nothing to save him when he called her to say, “I am choking; Treat me.”

A devastated Barkha did not stop her journey because she realised what was unfurling was the story of India and her people, each of whose grief was personal but the nation was passing through a collective trauma. And it had to be documented.

In this episode, she talks at length on the book and the people she met across the length and breadth of the country.

Guest: Barkha Dutt, Journalist, anchor, columnist and author

Host: Soma Basu

Edited by Reenu Cyriac

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2022 12:32:18 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/podcast/barkha-dutt-on-the-hardships-indians-faced-during-the-carnage-of-covid-on-books-podcast/article65264649.ece