This is a painful/shameful moment in Indian independent history, but who cares about the difficulties and suffering of the migrants or poor?
In the history of new India, they will not mention all the things happening on the roads or railway tracks. People are hungry, not getting water or food. People are on foot or cycles, trying to travel thousands of kilometres. They don’t know how they will eat or drink water in the next couple of days during their journey.
But certainly, they are aware that no one in these cities can assure their dignified shelters. I know the migrants’ reasons for going to cities. I am sure you all must be aware they need money to run their families. In many cases, they need some cash to sustain their life with a small land in the village or agricultural work in the field.
During my childhood, I always wondered why they called Mumbai, Delhi or Kolkata “Pradesh”. For them, their village or “Mati” (land) is their “Desh” (country). It was always an illusion because I learned about India’s constitution in school, which gives us equal citizenship. But in practical terms, we are far from reality, what we are experiencing now during COVID-19 or otherwise.
Dr Ambedkar rightly said, “We are going in to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics, we will have equality, and in social and economic life, we will have inequality. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life?”