The COVID-19 pandemic and the infrastructure of hate in India

In May 2020, while the world continued to grapple with ways of dealing with the pandemic, UN Secretary General António Guterres spoke about the “tsunami of hate” targeting specific communities in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. One such maelstrom, targeting the Muslim community, was seen taking place in India, with allegations of ‘corona jihad’ becoming widespread during the first phase of the COVID-19 lockdown in the country.

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Revisiting the Panopticon and the Synopticon: An inquiry into the naturalisation of totalitarian surveillance in the name of the COVID-19 pandemic

Ideas and ideologies can kill.[i]Derived from two Greek words that together mean “all-seeing”, the panopticon was initially conceived as a prison designed to ensure the perfectly complete surveillance of all prisoners. Panopticon refers to “the few seeing the many”. In this architecture, all those who have been turned into sub-humans by being categorized as prisoners are placed under the surveillance of few wardens. Its reincarnation in digital form has made it capable of enveloping the entire human population and to subject it to eternal surveillance. This scale of the idea has vastly increased. Its merger with the idea of the synopticon is paving the way for a 360˚ surveillance of every imaginable human activity.

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