DEFAMING THE POOR
By Yuvraj Sinha(21/06/2020 19:30IST)
“Hum mazdooron ko gaun hamere bhej do sarkar...suna pada ghar-baar...hum to papi pet ke karn jhel rahe hain maar…kuch to karo sarkar…”
If you use social media, you would have definitely heard the song by a stranded migrant labor from Bihar, reflecting the pain of himself and that of his counterparts across the country. Few days back, millions of labors were stranded in the places where they used to work. Some were forced by the landlords to leave their “homes” as these jobless people failed to pay rents. Some daily wage workers were forced by the situation as they ran out of cash and had no choice but to leave their “work places” and moving towards their hometowns. Initially, governments across the country faced problem related planning as well as will power for helping and managing these workers. Many of these poor people undertook travel of thousands of kilometers barefoot with their families and children, hungry and helpless.
When the roads across the world’s second most populous countries were tasting the flavor of sweat and blood of these poor people as well as the sun was also not much merciful on them, meanwhile few people sitting in the comfort of their couches of their air conditioned room were posting posts on social media with photographs of these helpless poor, carrying captions like “accha hua”, “ab samajh ayega inhe jo apna ghar chod kar jate hain” etc. and some old videos, alleging the migrant workers (who constructed houses of these people) for fomenting trouble or the administration (ironically, the workers were facing problems due to administrative failure and the root of whole of their problems lies beneath administrative failures), and some holding them responsible for the spread of COVID-19. This is ridiculous! What can be more harsh and apathetic than this kind of behavior?
We need to understand one thing that these migrant workers do not leave their homes out of their will. Do they enjoy it? The answer is a big capital letter NO. They are forced by the situations. And actually, the biggest reason behind the migration of these people towards metropolitans is administrative failure, failures of the government. They leave their homes because of the failure of the state; failure to meet their requirements, failure to pull them out from the vicious circle of poverty, failure to protect them from discrimination (in some cases), failure to help them to develop their skills and failure to ensure good law and order. Such kind of large scale migration, in my view, is a slap on the faces of the policy makers of the country, the view of Anand Vihar Terminal few months back was a slap on their faces as it reflected imbalanced economic development, as well as a failure of the whole federal structure of the country. So should these “Facebookian revolutionaries” not be questioning the state for its failures? Should these people not be asking the Chief Ministers of most backward states of the country?
If oppositely, questioning the poor and victimized and defaming them is the “new normal”, then we should reject it. Can’t we introspect? I think, we should.