There are times when you don’t have words left in your vocabulary to express your anguish. I’m, at the moment, going through one such phase. No doubt the whole world is going through a very difficult time which is tremendously affecting our life but everybody isn’t being impacted with the same intensity.
The most affected lot amongst us are the migrant Labours. The images, however few in number, which are reaching us thanks to a few independent media houses, are so heart rending that it left me speechless. But are we still aware of their real status? Do we really have any idea about their actual mental and physical condition? What are we, as a society, doing for them? These are some of the questions which have been haunting my mind every time I watch their plight.
Yesterday, I was surfing the news channels, while NDTV was the only one telecasting the images and ground reports of these poor migrant labourers, other mainstream channels were busy with Kim Jong’s bodyguards and the destructive future of Pakistan, one even went to the extent of discussing ‘halal and jhatka’ meat.
In one of the channels, our designer Textile Minister was imparting pearls of wisdom, pointing out how the coronavirus is good for our country as husbands are helping the wives in the kitchen and they should continue doing it.
I was seething in rage, like seriously? Are these the real issues of our country? They should be ashamed of themselves. First they tried to communalise the pandemic and after they spread enough hatred to last a lifetime, they have now turned to their favourite topic, Pakistan and Kim Jong.
Incidentally, I forget to mention that one of the channels was even showing how China is planning to steal India’s vaccine. I searched everywhere but couldn’t find the news which said that India had already produced the vaccine. Maybe I missed it somehow. My bad luck!
When I see people discussing how India is faring much better than other countries, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at their ignorance. Just because lesser number of positive cases and fatalities have been reported or because the migrant workers are mostly unregistered, and their plight and deaths escaped your designer eye glasses, doesn’t mean we are faring better.
These migrant workers are non-existent in their own country. This is primarily because most of them have no voting rights in the states they work in. So, cities like Delhi and Mumbai are rejoicing over their departure because it means more jobs for their own poor. And their (the migrant workers) home states have no resource to feed them or provide work. So, their home state governments are denying entry to them because that will bring forth their incompetency out in the open.
Since these migrant workers have voting rights in their home states, the state governments can’t treat them like invisibles. After all elections are knocking at the door.
It’s all a big game playing in the background and we are all mute spectators, rejoicing over the 20-lakh-crore package. Becoming Aatm nirbhar (self-reliant), which is again a borrowed term from Nehru, could prove to be extremely elusive. This regime can’t even invent a term by itself. Be Aatm nirbhar, at least, in one sense.
So, cheer up with this package and all the crap your news channels are feeding you. These insignificant and marginalised poor migrant workers are meant to die ,one way or another. So, no worries! You sit in your comfortable drawing room and try a few new recipes and feel empowered. That’s all that you can ever do.
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