Tag Archives: COVID 19 lockdown

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

Migrant Workers, COVID- 19 and our Collective Indifference: Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha and Mursed Alam

Guest post by ANINDYA SEKHAR PURAKAYASTHA and MURSED ALAM

Critical opinions described India as the ‘Republic of Hunger’or as the ‘Republic of Caste’ and now the post-Corona plight of countless migrant workers makes us want to describe it as the Republic of Indifference. Lakhs of migrant workers along with their family members are stuck at different corners of the country, unfed, mistreated and uncared. Recent images of migrant workers flocking to Bandra station in Maharashtra, with hopes of resumption of train services taking them home and the subsequent police action to disperse them was watched and commented by all of us. Most reactions were emotive and anguish ridden but that have little impact on the ground situation in which these migrants are forced to live during this lockdown. It is true that some NGOs and various philanthropic organizations and governmental aids have to a certain extent catered to their needs but their misery demands more than mere empathy or selective mercy. They need concrete action on the ground. It is astounding to see the Government of India announcing the lockdown on 25 March without having any concrete action plan for these countless migrant workers. This completely betrays the government`s indifference to their sufferings. As if we take them and their sufferings for granted. Earlier some migrants were packed off in over-crowded buses with no money and in Delhi migrant workers were stranded in a bus station in large numbers, rendering them more vulnerable to the infection threat. By all means the COVID 19 crisis has once again proved that they are the Rejects of India. They are mere numbers, and we club them under one official category of “Migrants”, they are not human beings, a mere category of the Reject, who are left out to fend for themselves. We, armchair intellectuals and the moneyed class securely ensconced in our comfort zone, guaranteed of our salaries and jobs, passed off social media comments. The self-appointed radical fringe among us called for the closure of all other activities like educational studies as migrants are suffering but all these predictable reactions boiled down to nothing when it comes to forcing the government to come down to the street and adopt concrete steps to mitigate the traumas of these suffering faces who are away from homes and family.

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Coercive Measures of Governments and Capitalists against Stranded Migrant Labour – Open letter to workers: Migrant Lives Matter campaign

Migrant Workers Solidarity is a network for the rights of India’s migrant workers, presently engaged in providing relief and related updates to workers stranded in COVID-19 lockdown.

Comrades and Friends,

The steps taken by the Central Government on the movement of stranded labour within the states and union territories by issuing a Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) is a death knell for the rights of workers. Let us unite against those taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to trap us workers more than ever before.

What is the circular about? This circular issued by the MHA on April 19 is making it legitimate that workers can be moved around within the state we are in for the production of the maaliks to continue. We are being told we can’t return to our own states. This circular means that we workers do not have any choice except for abiding by the orders of the government. Experience shows that we will be coerced to work with the maaliks getting the support of the local administration and police. And that coercion has already begun! Would it be wrong to say that the measures being taken against the Covid-19 pandemic is the beginning of slave labour in India? Continue reading Coercive Measures of Governments and Capitalists against Stranded Migrant Labour – Open letter to workers: Migrant Lives Matter campaign

रोगाणु, दाग़ और हमारा ‘विशुद्ध’ समाज : वी. गीता

Guest post by V. GEETHA. Translated by RAJENDER SINGH NEGI

कोरोना के आने से पहले ही हममें रोगाणुओं को लेकर चिंता का भाव विद्यमान था. ज़रा उन फ़र्श, किचन काउंटर, कपड़ों, इत्यादि रोगाणुओं, दाग़, और तमाम क़िस्म के सूक्ष्म घुसपैठी जंतुओं से निजात दिलाने वाले विज्ञापनों को याद करें, जिनमे इन सभी को पर्याप्त और बड़ी चालाकी से दुष्ट क़रार दिया जाता रहा है. कोरोना ने हमें ख़ुद को विशुद्ध और साफ़-सुथरा रखने का पूर्णत: वाजिब कारण दे दिया है. हम चाहे ख़ुद को चारदीवारी के अंदर बंद कर लें, या, अन्यों को उसमें दाख़िल होने से रोकें, अंतत: इसका नतीजा वही निकलता है, कि हम अक्सर पहले से ही समाज में व्याप्त जातिगत, वर्ग-आधारित, नस्ल-भेदी और धार्मिक आधार पर बनाई गई सामाजिक मान्यताओं की दीवारें ही खड़ी कर रहे होते हैं.

तो फिर जिस जोश-खरोश से हमने संभावित संक्रामक माने जाने वाले लोगों पर नज़र रखने, उन्हें चिह्नित और वर्जित करने की क़वायद सर पर उठा रखी है उस पर अचरज नहीं करना चाहिए. इस वर्जना में सरेआम सड़कों पर धर-पकड़, शर्मिंदा किया जाना, घरों में ‘आईसोलेट’ किए गयों के नाम सार्वजनिक किया जाना, और मरीज़ों का ईलाज कर रहे डॉक्टरों और नर्सों का उनकी ही रिहाईशी कॉलोनियों में प्रवेश की निषेधआज्ञा लागू किया जाना भी शामिल है.

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As Migrants Begin their Long Trudge to Nowhere, A Note on Migration in Delhi: Jamal Kidwai

Guest Post by JAMAL KIDWAI

Most of the people in Delhi, like in rest of India (according to official estimates, 92 per cent of India’s work force comprises of informal labour) earn their living from working in the informal sector. There is extensive academic literature on this subject.  Typically, informal economy is that which does not find mention in official data, is not formally registered and regulated and falls outside the tax regulation.

The concept of informality became current in economic and social thought in the early 1970’s. It has since been re-considered and re-interpreted. The idea that the informal sector presented a liminal space for workers waiting to be absorbed by the formal sector, has been negated. Instead, current trends suggest that a majority of the Indian work force (approx.92%) labour under short-term informal contracts.  Well-known labour historian Jan Bremen has somewhere written that the fact the informal economy is not officially regulated does not imply a complete absence of regulation. There are many unofficial means of regulation. Quite often activities that do not possess registration and legal sanction get denoted as informal or ‘underground’. This practice results in the official erasure of the economic value of the goods and services produced therein. It also serves the purpose of masking the over-exploitation and socially-levered extortion to which the most unprotected and vulnerable members of the working class are subjected.

Continue reading As Migrants Begin their Long Trudge to Nowhere, A Note on Migration in Delhi: Jamal Kidwai