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Pandemics of 20th Century

Updated: Mar 14, 2021


Pandemics from the time of 1820 have been carried till the time 20th Century with a great speed. This study will take your focus towards the increase in the various viruses and diseases across the world and not just India. Countries worldwide have faced the crises and wars that have occurred after World War-I and some have happened during the periods of pandemics across the Nation. Increasing and decreasing order of crime scenes in various countries have disturbed the law enforcement system also. Countries have faced a lot of crises during all these periods which are there in the later study. The purpose of this article is to show, by the health care institution, what the world and India has gone through in the past and what measures they should take to avoid them in future.

An Overview on the Pandemics of 20th Century

According to the stats the past history in the culture and tradition of India has been destructive. The change in time and the growing population resulted in an increase of environmental degradation, which brought in a lot of deadly diseases, viruses and health issues in the country. This study also examines how time and generation changes and how the living of a human life changes, by facing a lot of problems. Another department which suffered because of the pandemics is the system of crime and law enforcement.[1] The first case took place in 1857. In a village in India people were getting killed unanimously during the British rule. Some kind of virus or a polluted gas got mixed with the air in the atmosphere along with water, soil and other edible components. Thousands of people were killed because of that in the village in India. It even infected wells and water supply tanks from where villagers used to take water for the homely use. People assumed it as some poisonous gas which came after World War I and infected the people. Some news came out from China too, approximately after 102 years. In Wuhan city there was a break in a medical lab by some terrorists who stole material from the lab to make some deadly weapon to create chaos in the country. The weapon got exposed because of which thousands of people were killed which added one more crisis and increase in death rate to the history of China. After the study and report of the stats says that there was no such gas and deadly weapon in the country and it was created neither by injection nor by poison of some gas but these pandemics were because of a pandemic disease which was about to explode. During the year of 1896-1939 another disease which came was plague. It caused around 12 million deaths in the countries and is still suspected in people. In the middle of it in the year 1918 Spanish flu came in Headlines which again increased the death rates. During that time also the government tried to maintain social distancing and avoid big gatherings and functions in order to control the epidemic. This became a governmental issue at that time; people blamed foreigners for the loss and said that it was because they had so much hatred towards Indians. British government shook their services in a better way towards people and created a lot of measures to help them to get out of the situation. When people had an unknown and invisible enemy to fight with, they threw their blames totally on the government like they do till date. They even blamed the religions for the diseases that use to eat meat and drink alcohol as it was a rumor spread that these diseases take place because of the animals. After that another disease came with the pandemics was cholera, it started from 1817 and continued till 1923. It had also caused a lot of death due to its infection. All these pandemics caused a lot of disfunctioning in various matters of the economy. Swine flu came in the year 2009-2010 which too caused a lot of chaos and deaths in India. Now in 2020 one more virus came into action and in not just only India but the whole world is dragged under its infection. The virus that took birth in China has infected more than few countries till 2020 and is the longest pandemic seen till date. Countries have faced severe lockdown situations and masks have become a compulsory cloth to be worn every day. People are following social distancing and living in their houses because this is a type of disease which does not have any symptom and can be easily transferred by just touching each other. Earlier there was no support of medical technologies in the period of 80s and 90s but now with the advancement in technologies too no cure of corona virus is found yet. To take control over diseases British government started an Epidemic Disease Act which included measures like sanitary use, stop at festivals, pilgrimages etc and stooping the infected and suspected ones, and sending them for treatment. In the history of Indian adventures time like 2020 has never arrived before. People in both urban and rural areas are out of ideas that what will happen in the future. Government was out of measures to control deaths occurring from plague and influenza in 1918, and it was a turning point for India. During the flu also there was no cure and not a single vaccine, people were struggling with hunger, then big organizations in Mumbai and other cities took the initiative to provide food and useful materials to the minority section. India has been following the approach of shutting down public places because that period turned out to be war with the people coming from other countries. The reason being every virus has its characteristics of infecting a particular age of group for e.g. flu infected people from the age of 20-40. Getting through such struggles to live people has adopted this fear of getting caught with any crises at any point of life. Plague, cholera, flu, influenza and covid-19 will always be remembered to play with the lives of the citizens of a country.

Effect of Pandemics on Crime and Law Enforcement

Crime scenes during these periods have increased certainly as these pandemics have their effect on crime and law at the same time.[2] Robbery, theft, domestic violence has increased during the period of covid-19. All the police officers and forces are busy in providing aid and services to the people in society and criminals grab this opportunity to create nuisance. During this period girls have been raped coming back from colleges and work to their homes. Delhi village rape scene is a one big disastrous example to the case.[3] Because the law enforcement government was able to throw lockdown and travel restrictions in the country. Public health organizations in every country worked efficiently by providing services like immediate communications and aiding facilities. It is very important for the departments to be prepared with the immediate actions occurring as crises in the economy. These pandemics have helped in reducing some part of criminal activities but have increased in some areas as well. Crime like smuggling, ambezzzelemet, violence against women, animal abuse, animal smuggling, robberies, slavery etc have taken the increasing side of the phase. During the period of 1857-1900 crimes like robberies, upper section beating on slavery, smuggling of gold, crops, drug etc used to take place on a high note. After World War I many other small wars have taken place which have disturbed the balance of the economy and have created discrimination among the people of India. Wars in America and Russia used to take place blaming black and white for the cause of pandemic in the society. After 1990 when cyber technology came into action a lot of cyber crime took place during this lockdown to the rate of almost 23%. People sitting home creating a lot of cyber issues like hacking of pins of debit and credit cards and cracking others bank details as a lot of transactions during this time has been done through online means. There have been a lot of problems in the judicial system too. Because of the spread of viruses it is difficult to store a lot of prisoners at one place and the system faced a lot of problems in shifting them. Many important hearings have been delayed because of the lockdown in the world and everyone has to follow it as it is the “Law” enforced by the country.


The health care agencies of every country should work on increasing the immunity of people and to change the way of living of every individual and bring some laws related to it. Not just the law but the people should try to change their way of living on their own so that their body is fit to face the upcoming unexpected circumstances in the world. No law and no government can teach the sense of living with harmony with one another but it is a necessity of a democratic country. India being a country has faced so many breakdowns form inside and outside that now like a human being it has lost all the hope to face a pandemic, coming in future.



1. >India Today Insight




Author -

Rashi Sharma

Student at Amity university, Noida.

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