It has been 55 days, perhaps more when you will be reading this and during this time we have had more that one crore people who have walked thousands of kilometres — with some hanging bags while some hang helpless bodies of their loved ones to reach their ‘homes.’
When a class of people are posting videos about how difficult it is ‘to stay at home’ they forget that there are lakhs who struggle just to reach their homes.
Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman failed in their duty to work with MSMEs to make sure wages are paid. When activist Harsh Mander asked the Supreme Court to order the government to pay minimum wages, the SC said it didn’t want to interfere. The government told the Supreme Court it was taking good care of migrant labourers, of Course.
When no wages are paid, people are kicked out of their houses as the landlords — theka leke nahi baithe hai — are not ‘distributing freebies’.
A developing country like Brazil is giving informal workers $120 (INR 9,085.00) a month. Our labourers have received the Baksheesh (festive bonus) of INR 500
In this time of crisis, people are being brought from abroad and, as always, this has been made a roaring headline for political benefits.
In the first phase, Air India and its unit Air India Express flew about 15,000 Indians back home. There are thousands more who have taken the onward flight out of India. The fares range from Rs 12,000 to Rs 1.3 lakh.
Of Course, people are paying their fare, because they can!
It is a humanitarian crisis when people are forced to walk barefoot, with no food for hundreds of days, and no one seems to care. Of Course, people are coming out and helping in this time of need, but the thing is the PM does not care.
It is very evident how much a labourers life is worth — Are the labourers not considered as human enough to be protected by the government? Every blister on every foot is a nail in the coffin of India’s preamble enshrining values like social justice, equal status and perhaps now ‘we the people’ refer to the wealthy and the affluent.
The inhuman treatment the migrant workers have to face speaks volumes about the ignorance of the system. You can’t make people stay where they are by fear of lathis. Why this injustice?
Because they cannot make beautiful posters and chant we want justice? Why are their voices ignored?
Undoubtedly, the children of the greater god are being brought home by flights and welcomed with honour and respect. With the media covering the ground reality with toxic India v Pakistan debates, the government seems to care only about the elite.
CBSE says it a golden period to study — who does it refer to? Yes, sure people who are reading this can study and work from home, and people are even struggling to reach their homes. When the majority does not have the technological support to study online, the primary education board inclusively ask the ‘students of India’ to ‘study from home.’
The future of this labour crisis will be unprecedented hunger, labour shortage, discontent among the masses and further spread of the Novel Corona Virus. It becomes very conspicuous when we hear headlines like – ‘If random testing of returning migrants is any indication, one in four Bihar workers who made it back to their home state from Delhi were infected with the novel coronavirus.’
Better arrangements could have been made, the parties could have worked together to help, the fancy projects could have been cancelled, and the money could have been re-allocated. Many more things could have been done. And it can be done now — but to bring attention to the main issues, Mahatma Gandhi walked for 384 Kilometres with his footwear on.
Today, thousands of ‘fakirs’ walk and hundreds of them die to question India’s political choices.