Amritsar 03 May: The Pandemic Covid 19 is ravaging vast swathes of the globe causing massive mortalities and unbearable miseries. The virus called SARS-COV 2 is turning illusive and intriguing day by day. The Department of History, Guru Nanak Dev, Amritsar organized Webinar on Understanding Epidemics and Pandemics in History and Society on Understanding Epidemics and Pandemics in History and Society.

Professor Amandeep Bal, Head of the Department in her introduction delineated the visitation of diseases across the world history and underlined the need to discuss social and economic consequences of pandemics in general and the Covid 19 in particular. Professor Sukhdev Singh Sohal, in his Keynote Address, emphasized ecology of disease, rapidity and virulence of pandemics in history. He discussed historical experience and making of social and medical perceptions about disease. Fatalism, superstition and stigma affected the social relations. The rise of the ‘clinic’ changed medical perception and enriched medical profession. There is need to broaden the domain of social sciences through integrating chemical and biological knowledge to social sciences. Dr. Ruby Bala, Assistant Professor explained the ravages of plague in India during 1896 to 1918. She also spoke on the pandemic of Influenza that caused the death of millions in India. She showed slides of vaccination camps, quarantine notices, dresses of the medical staff and difficulties of the people. Dr. Raj Kumar, Assistant Professor narrated the plight of Punjabi soldiers in the World War I in the trenches, which were full of infection. He showed slides of miseries and narrated the stories the soldiers wrote back to their family members during the War.

Professor Jagroop Singh Sekhon, Department of Political Science, mentioned the plight of migrant labours, limitations of medical support infrastructure causing untold miseries to the people. He underlined the importance of lockdown in controlling the spread of Covid 19. He rooted for public health system. Professor Sarbjot Behl, Dean, Academic Affairs, Guru Nanak Dev University in his concluding remarks underlined the need for creating vibrant health system and social awareness about sanitation and health. More than 150 across India and other countries interacted during the session. Dr Harneet Kaur and Dr. Saifali Chauhan, Assistant Professors coordinated the Webinar.

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