I just switched on the television to see some news related to coronavirus update in India. An advertisement was coming on the television at that time. The premise of the advertisement was being narrated by Amitabh Bachhan and was on how important are the first 1000 days for an infant. We must ensure that in India every mother must be fed well as these 1000 days determine the health of a child later as an adult as well. I remembered my sister and my 2.5 months old niece as I saw the ad. I am glad she is being given good care, both emotional as well as physical. Just then the news came. It was about the movement of migrant workers towards their home states. The picture was sufficient to break my heart. Women with infants as young as 1 month old were walking down national highways, crying that they can barely manage to eat a single meal over the entire day. Are they any less Indians than the rest of us? Is their even one day as important as the 1000 days of any other Indian?
The answer lies in each one of us. Are we blinded by our privilege and our love for our political ideologies that we can never dare to comment on the level of mismanagement and planning we are facing? Who decides which life is worthy enough to have a roof over their head and which not, when the entire country is in a state of lockdown? Lockdown is the need of the hour, but condemning these migrant labourers for wanting to go back to their homes, their lands is too much to ask? These people not being worthy of the things which we ‘the privileged ones’ naturally should be bestowed come with all sorts of justifications. The number one being, overpopulation. What can the government do in a country like ours with such huge population,they say. Well this is not a statement that can be given as a justification but rather it itself is a question to the government. Didn’t these people also vote to raise their standard of living? While it can be agreed that India has a mammoth problem of overpopulation, but it also becomes a duty of the government to come up with policies to tackle this issue. Nothing can happen overnight, but steps have to be taken to change the status of these problems even if at a glacial speed. Until then we will continue to hire these people as cheap labors for building our houses, working as maids, cleaning the drains, etc and throw them out of sight for being nothing more than a burden for the country in times of distress. In this war we will win against corona, but we may have long lost to humanity.
Few days back a reporter asked one of the many migratory laborers walking across the country that what is the disease the country is fighting against? The innocent man replied “Arora”. Imagine the level of awareness amongst these people. They have no clue of what is happening, what went wrong and why these things are happening. All they can sense is the panic. And then we ask why can’t they stay where they are when the country is in a lockdown? While Mahabharat is being telecasted on television, we are quite efficiently playing the role of Gandhari. Lockdown is important, but expecting a person who spends more than 12 hours of his day in carrying bricks, to be a degree holder in information on Covid-19 is extremely obnoxious to even think let alone demand furiously. Today each of these confused and sad faces seem to be singing only one line “ये आंसू हमारे बढ़े काम आए, जुबान बन गए बेजुबानी में आंसू. मुकद्दर के कातिब का कितना करम है, कि लिखे हैं मेरी कहानी में आंसू”.