“History Doesn’t Repeat Itself, But It Can Rhyme”
Even though every pandemic has its uniqueness, people can draw broad patterns emerging from past pandemics. The Indian writer points out how the migration crisis during the lockdown was almost “foreseeable” given how previous pandemics have affected the population.
One of the main points in The Age of Pandemics is the fact that our collective memory as a race, is rather oblivious to diseases involving mass mortality but keeps a detailed account of wars, floods, and famines. The author wanted to secure past pandemics their deserved memorialization, giving the chance for more adequate actions for our future selves.
The Age of Pandemics Is One of a Few
Tumble has collected a lot of information on the 1918 influenza pandemic followed by similar major events up until the 1920s. He felt that there was no book-length treatment of the major pandemics that struck India and the rest of the world in the past.
To shape the book properly, the author relied on sources, such as memoirs, letters, old reports, oral histories, burial records, and mortality statistics. During that period, nearly 5% of the world’s population was wiped out and the only 2 periods close to such a high rate were the 6th and 14th centuries. However, the same period is seriously neglected and overlooked.
And after all these years, the world is facing another pandemic. The author asks everyone to learn from the past pandemics, build up collective memory for future events, so that we, as a race can pass through any future pandemic with minimal damage.