Does shared suffering lead to greater empathy? There has been an outpouring of relief work during this pandemic, with citizens rushing to help other citizens where the state has failed. But there are complexities and moral dilemmas involved. Ashwin Mahesh joins Amit Varma in episode 226 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe his experiences of organising relief at scale, and the importance of working with the state. Also check out: 1. Participatory Democracy -- Episode 160 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ashwin Mahesh). 2. Cities and Citizens -- Episode 198 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ashwin Mahesh). 3. Understanding Indian Healthcare -- Episode 225 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Karthik Muralidharan). 4. Past episodes of The Seen and the Unseen on Covid-19, featuring (in reverse chronological order) Gautam Menon, Ajay Shah, Anirban Mahapatra, Ruben Mascarenhas, Chinmay Tumbe, Rukmini S, Vaidehi Tandel, Vivek Kaul, Anup Malani and Shruti Rajagopalan. 5. Despatches 36: The broader, continuing disaster -- Amit Varma. 6. We Are Fighting Two Disasters: Covid-19 and the Indian State -- Amit Varma. 7. Community: The Structure of Belonging -- Peter Block. 8. History of European Morals -- WEH Lecky. 9. The Expanding Circle: Ethics, Evolution, and Moral Progress -- Peter Singer. 10. Tolstoy’s Chicken and the Expanding Circle -- Amit Varma. 11. The Astonishing Hypothesis -- Francis Crick. 12. Resisting State Injustice -- Episode 120 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Jason Brennan). 13. The Lake Wobegon Effect. 14. Poker at Lake Wobegon -- Amit Varma. 15. The Second Coming -- William Butler Yeats. This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Check out their course, The Great Revolutions of Modern History, taught by Lynne Ann Hartnett. For free unlimited access for a month, click here. Please subscribe to The India Uncut Newsletter. It’s free! And check out Amit’s online course, The Art of Clear Writing.