Having told their populations that wearing masks was all but useless against the coronavirus, several Western countries have performed dramatic U-turns in the last few days.
Layoffs are increasing almost daily as businesses are made to shut down because of the deadly infection, prompting people to seek unemployment benefits. Blue-collar employees, including domestic workers, food and hospitality workers, home health aides, taxi drivers and nail and hair salon industry workers, many of whom are South Asians, are desperately looking for financial help from any quarter possible to be able to put food on the table and save their families.
It won’t be an exaggeration to say that life has changed virtually overnight, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic that’s brought the world to a standstill. Most people have been staying home, a self-imposed quarantine or exile, if you will, as they try to cope with canceled events, closed schools, shuttered offices, and fearful friends.
Amit Jani, who was appointed as the Asian American Pacific Islander outreach director for former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, has been facing the ire of Muslim and civil rights activists and South Asian progressives, for his family’s ties with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
When repeated reference to Biryani, one of India’s most popular aromatic delicacies, was made by the BJP to denigrate people holding sit-in protests against the controversial citizenship law in the Muslim-dominated Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, it brought under focus how food has been used in India to make political statements and to divide communities.