Blog Series Part 1: Covid 19 – A Crucial Inspection by Nandini Sen and colleagues

Crumpled Ball Paper with 'Covid-19' text

The effects of Covid-19 have been considerable and far-reaching. In this four part blog series, Nandini Sen, Anusua Singh Roy, Jayanta Bhattacharya, and Subrata Shankar Bagchi explore the impacts of Covid-19 within an Indian context. The first piece outlines the methodology of their research, the second focuses on Covid-19’s impact on India’s informal economy, the third examines the relationship between the pandemic and gender-based violence, and the final piece takes a closer look at the mental health challenges postgraduate students face in this current climate.

During 1867-69, quarantine in the Suez Canal was quite stringent. For its obvious trade and economic interests, England maneuvered quarantine laws for cholera – a pandemic of the period. More than hundred years back, in the years of 1918-1919, colonialised India was shaken by a similar complex pandemic called the Spanish Flu. Upon witnessing so many deaths, Gandhi said at the time that he had lost his desire to live [1]. Currently the mystery virus comes in 2020.

Coronavirus outbreaks surge worldwide; research teams are racing to understand a crucial epidemiological puzzle — what proportion of infected people have mild or no symptoms and might be passing the virus on to others. Some of the first detailed estimates of these covert cases suggest that they could represent some 60% of all infections [2].

In the following series of blogs, we will contribute toward three relevant and related topics, including economic impact, gender-based violence (GBV), and the sociocultural including mental health impact on a community of postgraduate students due to this pandemic, focusing on evidences from India. In this section we discuss the methodology adopted in our analysis.

We have conducted a comprehensive desk review using grey (such as reports and documents from humanitarian agencies and news media) and academic sources. The process includes an extensive search of information including literature on economic impact, gender-based violence and socio-cultural including mental health related to the lockdown under pandemic circumstances. The search strategy uses broad search terms to include any relevant sources with reference to the contextual economic factors, GBV and socio-cultural including mental health conditions.

Secondary research that involves a narrative review [3] informs the statistical content of this study. The flexibility and exhaustive nature of narrative reviews [4] allows for exploratory analysis of the aforementioned metrics, in the absence of complete data. Literature search focusing on quantitative studies and reports has been conducted in order to collate statistics relating to the economic situation, gender-based violence, and socio-cultural and mental health outcomes as consequences of the Covid-19. This is supplemented by illustrative summaries and interpretations, elucidating known information, and underlining potential gaps for further work.


[1] J. Bhattacharya, ‘Coronavirus: An Episode of a Different life?’, (2020) Guruchandali (Bengali e social journal), Kolkata, India.

[2] J. Qui, ‘Covert coronavirus infections could be seeding new outbreaks‘, (Nature, 20 March 2020).

[3] R. Ferrari, ‘Writing narrative style literature reviews’, (2015) Medical Writing, 24(4), 230-235.

[4] A. Y. Gasparyan and colleagues, ‘Writing a narrative biomedical review: considerations for authors, peer reviewers, and editors,’ (2011) Rheumatology International, 31(11), 1409.

Nandini SenNandini Sen is an anthropologist and has done her PhD at University of Frankfurt. She is a visiting research scholar at School of Social Sciences, Heriot Watt University. Her academic article Women and Gender in Rabindranath Tagore’s Short Stories from Anthropological Perspectives Challenging Kinship and Marriage is published in Anthropological Journal of European Culture in November 2016. Her book, South Asian Urban Marginalisation: A Waste-Picker Community in Calcutta, India., Routledge/Taylor and Francis (2018) has fetched both fame and critical reviews by academic colleagues and academics.


Dr Anusua Singh Roy


Dr Anusua Singh Roy is a Postdoctoral research fellow, Statistician at the School of Health Sciences at Queen Margaret University. Research interests include the use of national data sets in longitudinal, cross-sectional and survival probabilistic modelling to address health related and participation outcomes in children with disabilities and individuals with severe mental illness.



Subrata Shankar Bagchi



Subrata Shankar Bagchi is the Chair Professor in Anthropology at University of Calcutta and researcher on various socio-cultural issues in India.



Jayanta Bhattacharya


Jayanta Bhattacharya by training a physician, did his PhD on history of medicine. He has widely published in the field of alternative medicine. He is a medical activist from India. He is the reviewer of the Bulletin of the WHO, Graduate Journal of Social Science, Social History of Medicine, Indian Journal of History of Science, Indian Journal of Medical Ethics and others.




Image by Марьян Блан on Unsplash.