On 24 March 2020, the Prime Minister of India ordered a nationwide lockdown for 21 days, suddenly limiting the movement of 1.3 billion Indians as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of urban migrant workers lost their livelihoods and were trapped thousands of miles away from their native villages. Due to the lockdown, more than 350 deaths were reported as of 10 May, from starvation, suicides, exhaustion, road and rail accidents, police brutality and denial of timely medical care. Most of those who lost their lives were marginalised migrants and labourers.
The Covid 19 pandemic has brought us face to face with the terrible reality of what we are – as a nation, economy and people. The panic reactions to it at the government level have sent various sections of our society, and sectors of our economy reeling under its impact. The most tragic has been the plight of millions of migrant labourers, who were literally disowned and abandoned by all systems of administration and institutions of care. The very infrastructures they built in the cities with their sweat and blood, the many masters they served and enriched, turned their faces away, leaving them to fend for themselves. It was a heart-rending sight to witness thousands of them, left with no institutional support or social empathy, walking their way home, hundreds of miles away. Many succumbed to disease and stress, while many others are still on their way.
This music video of an Anvar Ali poem ”Death Walk Song” is a cry of pain and protest, a poignant and searing reminder of our apathy and a wakeup call to declare our solidarity with the migrant labourers upon whose toil our lives are built.
It is produced by Collective Phase One, Kochi in association with Uru Art Harbour , Mattacherry.
Lyrics: Anvar Ali
Composed & Arranged by: Dawn Vincent
Performed by: John P Varkey
Vocal Support: Subramanian KV, Ashok TP, Navin Vincent, Anju Peter
Realization: Prem Shanker
Images: Gopan Raveendran
Edit: Manoj Kannoth & Rinju RV
Coordination: Mustafa Desamangalam
Support: Ullattil Achu, Kottakkal, Thahir Hussain, R K Shaji, Shyam Prasad
Music supervised : Sasikumar Nair
English: M V Narayanan
Hindi: Varun Grover
Arun Kumar R
Studio Manager: Prasanth SP