Category Archives: Violence-Conflict

MIGRANT WORKERS’ RESISTANCE MAP: Migrant Workers Solidarity Network

The Migrant Workers Solidarity Network has documented migrant workers’ resistance across India in an interactive map. Below is a screen-shot of the map.

For the interactive map, visit the MWSN site.

From the MWSN site:

The COVID-19 crisis in India has made the migrant workers visible in public discourse. But the dominant narratives have made them visible as subjects of compassion, as perpetual victims seeking help of others and not as active makers of our society, not as rightful citizens, not as resisting political subjects who can challenge the oppressive conditions surrounding them.

The ‘Migrant Workers’ Resistance Map’ is an attempt to document acts of resistance by migrant workers since the beginning of the lockdown. Within our limited human and technical capacity, we have collated information and designed this map. While we launch the map, we acknowledge that it is far from giving a fully representative picture of the nature and spread of migrant workers protests both geographically and temporally and the possibility of bias in collecting information and understanding what qualifies as ‘resistance’. Let us collaborate.

Add new information of resistance to the map: Fill this form.

Also, for any comments, suggestions, technical or otherwise, send us an email at migrantresistance.mwsn@gmail.com or contact +91 9445419894

Part II – The Virus, the Muslim and the Migrant: Forced labour and data capitalism

THIS IS THE SECOND PART OF A THREE PART POST, THE FIRST PART OF WHICH CAN BE READ HERE.

Forced labour and data capitalism are the low end and high end of Coronacapitalism. Let us examine each of these.

Forced labour

The gut-wrenching picture of migrant workers who managed to reach Bareilly, being sprayed with disinfectant by people protected by hazmat suits themselves, provoked such widespread outrage in India and negative publicity in the foreign media, that the Health Ministry issued a hasty statement that this should not be done.

Spraying of chlorine on individuals can lead to irritation of eyes and skin and potentially gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting. Inhalation of sodium hypochlorite can lead to irritation of mucous membranes to the nose, throat, respiratory tract and may also cause bronchospasm, the advisory said.

Workers at Bareilly bus terminus being sprayed with chemicals

But this brutality and callousness towards workers and the poor emanates from the very top of this regime – the signal is sent from there, as to who matters and who doesn’t. The difference in treatment is stark and unapologetic.  For example, during the lock-down, on April 18th,  even as thousands of workers walked long distances home because no transport was arranged for them, precisely in order to prevent them from leaving the states in which they were stranded, the Uttar Pradesh government organized 250 buses to bring back students from the state studying in Kota, Rajasthan.  As of April 24th, special flights and hospital beds are being prepared by the government to bring back Indians stranded abroad. Continue reading Part II – The Virus, the Muslim and the Migrant: Forced labour and data capitalism

The Virus, the Muslim and the Migrant: Part I – Comvid 14

PART I OF A THREE PART POST

The term Comvid 14 is gratefully borrowed from Tony Joseph who defined it in a Facebook post as Communalvirus (Comvid 2014), the incubation period for which could be as long as six to seven years. Over fifty percent of infected people remain asymptomatic carriers, the rest going into paroxysms of hate and violence, many also gravitating towards TV newsrooms, according to him.

Suffocating mythologies produced by Hindu supremacism blanket India today.

So first of all, a loud, ringing zindabad to all the courageous journalists, citizen reporters and social media activists whose determined work relentlessly exposes fake news, and counters genocidal journalism in India.

Suchitra Vijayan explains the term “journalism as genocide”:

Rwandan cultural anthropologist Charles Mironko analyzed confessions of a hundred genocide perpetrators. His work confirms the thesis that hate messages in the media had a direct effect on the dehumanization of the population that was subject to persistent slander. Several months of this behavior, in the absence of credible reporting, conditioned the population to hate, and kill.

It is all the dogged fact-checking and on-the-ground reporting that continues to let in the light, through the crack, the crack in everything –  as Leonard Cohen sang; the words that Gautam Navlakha referred to just before he surrendered to the National Investigating Agency, on the orders of the Supreme Court.

This is India today – the violent Hindu Rashtra of Savarkar and Golwalkar’s dreams, under the direct control of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.  And this Hindu Rashtra is built on predatory capitalism – a toxic cocktail, far deadlier than the biological virus that now haunts us.

Just as the pandemic is inflected in its effects differently in different global contexts, the three features of the crisis in India – the virus, the Muslim and the migrant – relate in a way that is specific to ‘here’. The virus has enabled and strengthened predatory capitalism here as it has globally, but it has also reproduced itself through Hindu supremacism, generating two monstrous mutations – Comvid 14 and Coronacapitalism.

And we who will fight and resist both? What of us, how are we to combine, come together, connect to other stories the virus tells us, find our way to other lanes down which it leads us? How will we find and inhabit  those fissures and chinks in which green things can grow, and solidarities, and compassion and hope?

But first, the two monstrous mutations – one in this part, the second in the next. Continue reading The Virus, the Muslim and the Migrant: Part I – Comvid 14

Statement by concerned citizens against state crackdown for anti CAA protests

Statement by concerned citizens against witch-hunting of students and activists for anti CAA protests

The country right now is reeling through a grave crisis as a result of the novel Corona Virus and nearly a month long lock-down. We are all being asked to stay home and stay safe in order to break the chain of the deadly virus. We are shocked to know that in this midst of such a grave situation, the Delhi Police has arrested two students of Jamia Millia Islamia and several activists from localities of North-East Delhi who had participated in peaceful protests against the CAA. Even as we write this, more students and activists are being called for questioning and interrogation by the police on a daily basis.

In a twisted fairy tale that the Delhi Police is trying to weave, these activists are now being implicated in cases related to the communal violence in Delhi that took place in February. A riot in which the minorities suffered the maximum damage, both in terms of lives and livelihoods, has now become a pretext for the Delhi Police to further witch-hunt activists, most of whom also come from the minority community. Continue reading Statement by concerned citizens against state crackdown for anti CAA protests

Agony of COVID-19 and the Lockdown – Who is Afraid of ‘Class’? Maya John

Guest post by MAYA JOHN

This essay is the second part of a two-part series on Society in the Time of Covid 19. The first part appeared in Kafila on 5 April and can be read here.

The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas…Karl Marx, The German Ideology (1845)

The Bolshevik slogans and ideas on the whole have been confirmed by history; but concretely things have worked out differently; they are more original, more peculiar, more variated than anyone could have expected. – V.I. Lenin, Letters on Tactics (1918)

रहिमन विपदा हू भली, जो थोरे दिन होय हित अनहित या जगत में, जान परत सब कोय

Crisis of a few days is better/ For it reveals who is friend and who is foe. – Khanzada Mirza Khan Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana, ‘Rahim’      (1556 – 1627)

Looking at what transpires each day of this epidemic coupled with lock-down, people appear to be plucked out of heterogeneous circumstances and placed in the homogenous time of “Corona”, putting all things in abeyance. The battered housewife whose alcoholic husband grows restless with every day; mourning relatives who’ve lost a loved one and struggle to make it to the last rites; the live-in ‘maids’ whose workday begins at the crack of dawn; the municipal worker who continues to de-clog our sewer lines to prevent the chance of reverse flow in our commodes; the young, newly-wed construction worker who’s anxious about his wife in the village; the tired nurse who fears she’s contracted the wretched infection; among many other circumstances of life are part of this moment, the epidemic-cum-lock-down. The coupling of epidemic and lock-down has created confusion for some people in terms of which of the two is deadlier. For many this is an unprecedented, exceptional time. But for others this moment is not new but rather a repetition of the similar course of life, with the addition of just another fear. Many are puzzled by how, among all the life-threatening contagious diseases and illnesses in circulation, “Corona” gained prominence.

Continue reading Agony of COVID-19 and the Lockdown – Who is Afraid of ‘Class’? Maya John

Jai Bhim, Lal Salam! Anand Teltumbde writes to the people of India

Open letter from Anand Teltumbde, reproduced from The Wire.

I am aware that this may be completely drowned in the motivated cacophony of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh combine and the subservient media, but I still think it may be worth talking to you as I do not know whether I would get another opportunity.

Since August 2018, when the police raided my house in the faculty housing complex of the Goa Institute of Management, my world has turned completely topsy-turvy.

Never in my worst dreams could I imagine the things that began happening to me. Although, I was aware that the police used to visit the organisers of my lectures – mostly universities – and scare them with enquiries about me, I thought they might be mistaking me for my brother who left the family years ago. Continue reading Jai Bhim, Lal Salam! Anand Teltumbde writes to the people of India