COVID- 19 is spreading globally like fire in the jungle, and everybody is trying to maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of the infection of the virus. The situation in India isn’t different from other countries. However, the death rate is still less than a few other countries. but besides the corona issue, India is facing few other important issues to tackle.

On March 25, the government announced lockdown, and later, it had extended. Lockdown was a necessary step and also the only way to fight with the coronavirus by keeping social distancing. Offices, schools, markets, railway, buses, construction sites, everything was closed. a brand new slogan came into existence “Stay home stay Safe,” but what if someone doesn’t have a home? Suddenly life becomes paused and that we forget that there are some people who reside far away from their homes, the migrant workers. According to the report of census 2011, the overall number of internal migrants within the country (accounting for inter and intrastate movement ) is at a staggering 139 million. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are the biggest states of migrant workers, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan West Bengal, etc.
The exploitation of the Labour class isn’t a new phenomenon. Karl Mark in his book Das capital (1867) explains how in capitalist society laborers were exploited as they’re forced to sell their labour to capitalist for less than the value of the commodities they produce. In this way capitalist exploits them for the maximization of their profit. But nowadays, during this lockdown, a new variety of exploitation can be seen in which migrant workers were neglected by the society and state. During this situation of the epidemic, the government ignores them, and their employers swipe their hands from their responsibility and there was no preparedness to help them.

In keeping with a report from, the continued lockdown to contain COVID19 has thrown the lives and livelihoods of legion workers into disarray. Off from their homes, they’re alone. Factories are closed, and so they were told to leave, in some cases, they have to share a 10x 10 room with 20 roommates, they are out of food, money and most significantly amid all this situation they have worries about their loved ones.

They wanted to travel back to their homes when a journalist asked why they wanted to travel back to their homes, they said if we are going to die from coronavirus, then we’d wish to die with our families. a number of them waited for the initial 45 days. But later they have lost their patience, so they are trying every possible way to reach their homes. Whether it’s hiding in a cement container truck, or riding a bicycle for miles or move by walking on the roads. On roads police are driving them back, there are no buses and trains are moving so that they have left with no other choice than to steer by road.This came through a chaotic scene when they suffer hundreds of miles in this scorching heat without proper food and money.

Those who managed to walk home are confronting both stigma of being infected with coronavirus and fear of joblessness. The scenes from the roads are heart-wrenching, Recently 17 migrants workers crushed to death by train in Aurangabad as they were attempting to reach Patna. 6-month pregnant woman is walking continuously from Nasik to Mumbai, In one other case, four members of a family met with a truck accident and died on the spot at Delhi -Mathura highway while walking for their home. The stories are endless; we watch daily on TV and newspaper while comforting in our AC rooms. A few days ago, the government started special trains for migrant workers.Again it becomes a mockery on the misery of the poor workers because there have been tickets for trains and people who can’t buy one were left with shaggy face and disappointment.

Karnataka government announced that no worker is allowed to maneuver outside the state because the business is going to be open soon. but, they didn’t ask if workers wanted to stay anymore or not, these workers are the people with no choice.Migrant workers move to urban cities and make the cities to run then why they’re invisible to the system. This lockdown was important for the health of people of the country, but the arrangement of food, shelter, and transport wasn’t equally important to save the humanity of our nation.

Why Before or after the lockdown declaration, central government, state government, administration, and their employers did not do any arrangement for their stay or their return. India’s economic stability depends upon industries, and industries can’t work without its workers, so why they were ignored.

Hopes are high that COVID -19 will end soon or if it’ll not then we will learn to live with the virus but the loss these migrant workers have whether it was the loss of job, money, family, or the loss of their own lives will never be compensated with anything. Now the government is trying to open factories and sites, and so employers want workers to stay, but will they? No, because amid the economic loss of the country, their loss is the deepest they lost their self -respect they were on the road barefoot and empty hands, and nobody came forward to assist them.

What was their mistake why they need to be suffered just because they are less significant to the political map of the country, or belong amongst the poorest classes of the country or because their states don’t have the capabilities to provide them employment so that they migrate to other states whatever the reason it’s, but they’re broke. the backbone of the country is broken. The economy is likely to face protracted period as its backbone is injured, and it’ll take a long time to be stable and to stand again on the financial feet of the country.

Nida Khan, Research Scholar, Aligarh Muslim University


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