Labouring masses have tried walking great distances with their kith and kin. Very few have made it to their home towns and villages. Some have died in this regard, some have been beaten to death while trying to reach their distance, some have been chased away to loiter on the streets, some have killed themselves and some have tried resting their heads on railway tracks only to be mowed, crushed and torn by those heavy metal wheels. Many have been stuck in their metal caves, pathetic living conditions and many more "sheltered" in those suffocating metal containers. The thick heat of summer and the brutal social distancing mechanisms make the situation worst for those exposed to these grave realities.
I have been in Bangalore ever since my birth. I have seen how this city has evolved in terms o land, resource and people, over time. The boom of MNCs and IT industries completely turned the tables for life in this place. MNCs and the IT sectors created an environment where, the demand for land, resource and people grew to great heights. The agencies in support with MNCs and IT sectors called for and imported people from every nook and corner of this country. MNCs and the IT industries have made this city cosmopolitan in every sense of the word, along with its disparities.
Bangalore was assumed to be the cradle for young minds and "achievers", the bright and the charming, along with those who are willing to contribute to the "great" social change. Bangalore
also became a place where the poor and the left out could imagine some sort of simple mundane earnings. The city grabbed the attention of many foreign investors. Land and related resources had become a prime concern. Traditional agriculturalists who were the caste lords of the land became real estate owners. Land mafias and human trading mafias with corruption and politicians with criminal records joined the forum with MNC and IT goons. Stylish and Hybrid bloodsucking, pain-inflicting and democracy killing, post-modern warlords turned the course of the city upside down.
Capitalism in the city is grained with caste and patriarchal notions. This dangerous nexus of age-old oppressive systems and new-age slave market with their political backing created this inhumane ruckus today. NEWS 18, on 9th May, recorded how the local builders had lodged cases on activists who were trying to help the migrant workers reach their home towns and villages through the government allotted trains. Activists, Journalists, Social Workers and people concerning the lives of migrant workers, have many such stories to report, record and speak about in various capacities. Another effort that is to be taken into serious consideration is a Documentary titled SABOOT, by two vibrant women Yashaswini and Ekta. These brave women cracked the silence of the migrant workers in Bangalore. The documentary reveals the grave reality of how BMRCL has treated and is treating its migrant workers in these painstaking times.
A few weeks back our prime minister apologised to the poor of the country assuming that they will forgive him instantly. While he engages with apathy, indifference and gimmicks, the plight of the migrated workers all around the country are reaching disasters that can have no compensations. Alongside with these grave realities, we have a stupid bunch of young people, from certain caste and class groups both men and women ranting on the social media about their migrant status, "me too migrant" campaign.
Modi Ji's, intelligentsia and politics fail once again like how mainstream politics in India has failed miserably from the very beginning of the independent state. The populist politics in the world today lack the social emancipation dimensions. When the COVID 19, was on its trolls in China, parts of the Middle East and western countries, Italy and Spain, political stalwarts like Modi and Trump where busy soothing each other's egos. The home minister of the country was busy in horse-trading. The prevailing cabinet was busy conspiring violence against the critical voices in the context of CAA, NPR, NRC related protests all over the country. Time and again our country fails in terms with a social commitment to justice and well being of the simple in our societies.
Time to be Critically Conscienctized (Paulo Freire), Time to be spect-actors(Augusto Boal) and Time to be critically informed and engage like the greatest labouring peace activist this world has ever witnessed in the modern era, DR. Ambedkar, for a better today and tomorrow.
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Rev. Immanuel Nehemiah is a pastor from Bangalore.