Integral University, Lucknow
Anita, a laborer in an interview said that all of a sudden her job is gone , her husband has fever, cough and is very ill. She has no food to eat.
Prabhulal Kumar, a daily wage laborer said that being a daily wage laborer he now has money for survival. He further said that instead of dying in a city, he would like to go back to his village and die with dignity.
COVID-19, a pandemic that has shaken whole world from its devastating effects. A disease which is not taking lives of infected people but also of those who has no money. A month of lockdown, a month of pain , hunger and death of not body but people’s soul. A month of 1.3 billions locking themselves at their homes, just to save lives. But are they actually saving? Government put this all restrictions on people to stop infection of corona virus, which is a great step but did they ever thought about people like Anita and Prabhu Lal Kumar?
Problems faced by poor
India has a population of approximately 1.3 billion in which casual workers forms 90% of India’s workforce. And suddenly due to this lockdown they have run out of their works, jobs and lives. India’s lockdown has caused further struggle for more than 300 million of those who are below poverty line to die in hunger.
Workers are suffering a great loss because of lockdown. One man with his family was picking out edibles from trash areas just to feed themselves so they at least live for more days. A depressing picture but as we all say reality hits hard in guts. Do you think they deserve all this ? I think no. Every time I see such disturbing pictures one question arises in my mind “why they are suffering?”. And the answer is much cruel. Just because they don’t have ” money” and the only source to earn it has been dismissed , they are bound to suffer.
Government restricted the movement of public transport, which added to the list of problems of poor. They have been locked in a place with no food , no money and no shelters. To overcome this , these workers started moving to their respective villages and hometown by bicycles and some of them who don’t have, just used their foot to walk back to their places. Many died in this attempt too. The phrase ” no pain , no gain” is actually never suited to these people because they only had ” no pain” part but far from any gain.
These problems are not psychological disturbing but it is effecting the economy too. Sudden lockdown and scrapping off their jobs had a huge downfall in Indian economy. Problems are more as compared to their solutions but they can be limited with small small steps. There are also concerns that India’s food supply chain will be hindered by the lockdown.
One of the major problem that arose during this lockdown is landlords evicting workers from their residences. For this the UP Police Official KP Singh gave a statement saying -” People should not ask daily wage workers to vacate their homes but instead should make awareness about COVID-19″. A very useful statement for the workers to save their family to come on footpath.
How to protect them during lockdown?
Well the answer is very important because they are the person who made us live our life’s efficiently. Whether it is a vegetable vendor or a milkman they all worked hard for us .
India’s government introduced US $22.5 billion package to help poor households. Government also started distributing various food packages for the needy people.
Many officials like UP, Haryana, Punjab, etc. police officials started distribution of free food packages and meals across the country , thousands line up at shelters for free meals. Various NGO’s have also started giving shelters with basic needs to the people.
As a citizen of India, we also have some responsibility towards our these friends who helped with all their handworks to increase our lifestyles. We can also contribute our little help for these people. For example, a PM care fund has been made to contribute money according to our wish for helping the country in order to fight corona.
Two women offer food to a poor woman during the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the COVID-19. (PTI Photo)
During this pandemic period, many legal and human rights of these poor people are being violated. We can aware them of their rights and let them take initiative of anything wrong goes around them .
Close schools and vague buildings can be converted into shelter homes for these people. Medical kits like masks, sanitizers and gloves can be provided to them for their safety. Awareness regarding social distancing through loudspeaker could be explained to them in order so that they could save themselves from infection.
Why is it important to protect them?
Do you ever thought if after lockdown and this pandemic ends and you go outside to buy vegetables and foods and you can’t find it?
Or You want your own home to be construed but can’t find workers?
Or you want to travel somewhere but the drivers are no more available because they have starved to death?
Well now I think it’s very clear how much importance these people are in our life’s. If we put aside our needs , and see it as economical thing then they are the backbones of our economic system. 90% of India’s workforce is due to these casual workers. Our whole life revolves around them. And as our constitution propose the idea of equality, we can say that it is their right to live with dignity and it is duty of our government to think in their benefit before proposing any idea on the footline.
Harsh Mander , a renowned columnists and social activist said that, ” They ( poor workers) keep saying we will die of this virus later , we will die of hunger first. I think this is certainly not just the biggest lockdown in the world, it is also the most cruel. Those who have the resources to survive have everything. And for others, You’ve ( the government ) pushed them into a lonely frightening place of uncertainty.”
Practically the cruel truth, we are still met with all our necessity, the biggest problem that we face are ” that we can get our bourbon or Oreo biscuit packet”, and irony is we never realised that their are people outside who even don’t have one time proper meal or better say are not even able to get proper piece of bread.
Mina Jakhwadiya, a street merchant said that, ” The government must look after us. They called for this lockdown and we are obeying the rules of the lockdown.”
But the question is what government should do that these questions should not arise in their mind? Answer is still unknown.
It’s the time to act
We fight corona but we fight hunger and starving of these needy is equally important. Being capable if we can help them in any way we should do it. Because what steps government are taking is still not opaque for us to know. They helped bring out best of our life’s now it’s our turn to not let them die of hunger. These people are too part of this pandemic like us , just the difference is our suffering is much lesser than theirs. Help them in rising to better condition because then only we can fight corona. As our respected PM Narendra Modi Ji bought out the idea of ” sabka saath, sabka vikas”, here the government should show it by their actions for these people. Because they are equally as important as us. The cruel condition must improve because if not than the future is much darker. Fight corona , but not let them fight hunger because it’s our and government responsibility to look after each citizens fairly and profitably.
Living them in uncertainty is just like a empty future of our country with their dead bodies and harassed souls.