Report on the Webinar: ‘Migrants, Morality, Middle Class and Pandemic’ by Rakesh M. Krishnan

The current pandemic and the consequent travesty that the migrant labourers have had to face has generated an unprecedented response from Indian society. Most of the middle and upper class had come out on social media to contribute to the growing discussion about the plight of the labourers. However, most of these responses are short-lived, individual and singular in nature. The speaker Rakesh M. Krishnan put up a comparative picture where on one hand, middle class people share news articles about the labourer’s death and right after that, share pictures of some delicacy they have cooked along with the rest of their family in their protected homes. This dichotomy has existed for a long time in society but has probably become even more apparent in the present context. Hence, the narrative of ‘3Ms’ – migrants, morality and middle class in the backdrop of a pandemic that Krishnan builds is an important narrative which is bound to be uncomfortable but is also necessary. Sukanya Bhattacharya reports on the webinar organized by Christ University Trivandrum on 22nd June, 2020.

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Every Action Counts : Towards a Resolution of the Refugee Question- A report on World Refugee Day

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in association with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) India, ActionAid and University of Mumbai organised a webinar titled “Challenges to Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Stateless People in India: The Need for an Inclusive Approach” on 20th June, 2020. Annesha Saha reports.

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Chinatown Days by Rita Chowdhury: Fractured Histories of the Chinese-Indians in the Aftermath of the 1962 War

Elika Assumi locates the novel ChinaTown Days in the present moment of India’s border conflict with China and ongoing racist attacks on people from India’s North East. She writes of the eerie reminder of a conflict torn Nagaland and the history that we seem doomed to repeat.

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Report on ‘CoVid-19 : Public Health and the Sudden Visibility of Migrant Workers’

Migrant laborers are not an anomaly in Indian society and almost everybody is aware of their existence and the work they do. However, it is the current socioeconomic and health crisis brought on by the pandemic Covid-19 which has amplified our focus on these otherwise ignored migrant laborers and the difficulties they have to face. Social media, news as well as public opinion has varied greatly on the issue but there seems to be a consensus on the fact that India probably saw a great many deaths of these laborers before an equal number of people died due to Covid-19. Due to the sudden lockdown of all transport systems, lack of information and a great amount of mismanagement on the part of the states as well as central authority – many of these laborers have had to undertake inter-state journeys on foot with all their belongings on their shoulders. This has been extensively captured and documented by the media which has then shaped public opinion. In such a context where these migrant laborers are suddenly under the spotlight, Ranabir Samaddar and Samita Sen spoke in a webinar titled ‘CoVid-19 : Public Health and the Sudden Visibility of Migrant Workers’, organized by CRG (as part of its webinar series #bordersofanepidemic). Sukanya Bhattacharya reports on the webinar organized on 12th June, 2020.

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Once a migrant, always a migrant: The multiple passages of tea plantation workers of north-Bengal

Santi Sarkar and Khoka Mali write about the tea gardens in North Bengal, and the migrations that enable them. This articles takes into consideration the disparity in wages, in the payment of provident funds of the tea garden employees and the need for subsistence that send people out of the tea gardens, those who are the children of already migrant workers.

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