The heart bleeds at the sight of the migrants walking on the road. As much as we give them food, water and help, it will never be enough. For more than a basic necessity, their livelihood has been taken away in a snatch. “I left my village in Bihar with a dream in my heart that I will give my three daughters a better life than I got. If I had stayed on, they would have been married off at a young age. Mumbai was a city of dreams but today, it has broken my very spirit.” (Bikram Sinha, aged 54) “Clap, light the diya, shower the petals. The corona warrior is out there. Who are we, but just some pieces of dirt and dust that you shoo off when the need goes.” (Gauri Devi, aged 43)
There are various such stories that have been heard on a personal level and as much as we can comfort them with material needs, their emotional pain is unbearable to hear. Their tears and the calluses on their hands make us truly wonder – Who are we? How did it become a case of them and us? Our life worked smoothly because of these migrants. They were there at every step. From building us fancy glass apartments to working in our kilns. From dotting our office streets with ready to eat warm snacks to cleaning up after us. From working in our industries as manual labour, to being treated as scum and left to fend for themselves… what have we really come down to? Is this our Government’s idea of a ‘Sone ki Chidiya?’ Is this “India Shining?” or is it that we are mere opportunists.
You need a vote, get them. You need labour, hire them. And when we lockdown.. we get on our social media and begin to add life skills to our resume and remain oblivious in our world. We are sending airplanes with protective gear, masks, food et all to get back stranded Indians from across the world and yet for the ones in India, who are in a scramble to get home, we shut down state borders and disallow them basic transport.
Even in cases wherein we did finally start, do the people at the helm not realise that from the station to their village, is also a distance of about 5-6 hours by bus, minimum. Where is that bus? Where is Mission “Mere Priya deshwasiyo?” Every journalist, writer and social worker is trying to bring to light the grave oversight and hopefully someone will make it to the eyes of the PMO to ensure that something is done, before we lose more life to this disaster than to corona. After all, “Jaan hai toh Jahaan hai, right?”