Pandemics- a portrait of horror and helplessness had been prevalent on the face of the Earth for a long time. Their records have been passed on throughout generations with memoirs, statues and even embroidered names of victims like the AIDS Memorial Quilt built in Washington DC and now is the weightiest memorial to any pandemic in history. Spanish Flu, on the other hand, has taken up its place as the forgotten pandemic.
Spanish Flu, as it is called, may confuse people to mark the origin of the pandemic as Spain, but it is not so. In fact, Spain just happened to be unlucky as the neutral country in the feud among-st several countries in the year 1918, known as the World War I. This, and the reported infection of the then Spanish emperor, Alfonso XIII, made Spain acknowledge the existence of this flu for the first time and thus the name, Spanish flu.
Although it had worse detrimental effects on humankind than AIDS and Ebola Pandemic, reportedly affecting 100 million people which was one-third of the world population back then and killed 20-50 million, the Spanish flu pandemic was forgotten like the leaves of last autumn.
World war news blackout and the subsequent incidents were the guilty parties for the name, ‘ Forgotten pandemic’. World War I left many places absolutely in the dark about the deadly pandemic and have rendered them forgotten with an acute lack of record keeping.
Though now that another pandemic is on the rise with its death tolls skyrocketing, Spanish flu has now made a place in our minds. Memoirs for the lost souls have been established and with that a new hope for humanity.
Author: Rtr. Nibedita Dutta
Rotaract Club of Meghnad Saha Institute of Technology