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The Plight Of Delhi’s ‘Pamphlet Men’ During The Pandemic

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

The pamphlet distributers of south Delhi have been battling the pandemic to tide over the recurring Covid-19 waves. Vaishali Advertising, a pamphlet printing ad agency, expressed the predicament of pamphlet distributers, who had to bear the brunt of joblessness during the onset of the global pandemic.

Two hands exchange a pamphlet with a busy marketside in Delhi as the backdrop.
Pamphlet distributers are susceptible to contracting Covid-19 because their job involves hand-to-hand contact. Representational image.

Pamphlet distributers on the streets of South Delhi are the least noticed people who are susceptible to contracting the virus, since the distribution of leaflets requires direct, hand-to-hand contact. Many of them even succumbed to the virus during the second wave of Covid-19.

With the third wave potentially approaching us soon, the fear of further spreading the disease remains among the people of Delhi.

The livelihoods of these distributers solely depends upon the daily pamphlets they distribute. Neeti Srivastava, a shopkeeper in Gandhi Market of Sagarpur, said:

“These distributers are often admonished by people and have to face the rude behavior of pedestrians in the evening, when they are heading back homes, from work, and agitated.”

Hear From A Pamphlet Distributer

Ram Kumar, a pamphlet distributer, is 42 years old and has a wife and a 10-year-old daughter. When asked about his ordeal during the pandemic, Kumar said:

“We shifted back to our villages with mere savings because our suppliers asked us to desist from working. Then, there was lockdown that hurt us some more.”

Traditional ad agencies were bogged down from not getting enough business during the first wave. The most affected among them were the daily wage distributers, who scrambled to their feet in public places, to distribute pamphlets to pedestrians and shoppers in the markets.

Mohammad Siddiqui, a 54-year-old distributer, and a convalescent survivor during the first wave, used to distribute pamphlets in the evening to every passerby, with a broad smile and while offering them toffees.

Siddiqui reportedly succumbed to the virus during the second wave of the virus. It left jitters among the pedestrians because of the strong impact he left on them.

Many Of Them Died During The Pandemic

One of the shopkeepers, on condition of anonymity, said:

“We asked Siddiqui ji to go away from our shops once, because people take pamphlets from distributers like him and dispose them off in the streets, making it difficult for people to walk inside the shop without treading on these pamphlets. Even though he was old and weary, he never failed to maintain his composed nature and co-operated with the shopkeepers.”

People walk through a lane in Delhi. A couple of them have a leaflet in their hands.
Pamphlet distributers are daily wage labourers who were badly affected, much like the others, during the pandemic. Representational image. Photo credit: the author.

Pamphlet distributers meet their basic needs by earning daily wages they are paid for distributing flyers and leaflets, handed over to them by their supervisors.

The two consecutive Covid-19 waves uprooted their means of earning their daily bread, forcing them to leave the city or to look for alternate employment, in the face of vulnerability.

Pamphlet printing has seen a dwindling shift during the times of the pandemic, where many such agencies are at loggerheads with distributers to pay daily wages.

Featured image is for representational purposes only. 
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