A couple of days ago I saw a post which asked a very important question – “If the workers are returning to their States due to hunger, then why are Bangladeshi and Rohingyas not leaving India? Who is feeding them?” It forced me to think of some points ..
• The poor workers live in the slums of the big cities. But most slumlords are either affiliated to a particular religion or have politicians of a particular party supporting them.
• How is it that these slumlords are letting their tenants go off so easily? Aren’t they worried about their income?
• In fact it seems as if these workers are being encouraged to leave the cities along with their families, including small children.
• It cannot be that they are not having food to eat at all, since in every city RSS and other organizations and even private individuals have been donating ration supplies and food packets.
• Yes, jobs and cash supply has dried up. But it is not as if they are going to earn more in their village.
• And yes, did I mention? Almost all ‘migrants’ photographed are Hindus.
• Now let us see what is going to be the effect of this shift of population from cities to villages …
– The slums have been emptied without much problems.
– It remains to be seen as to who will take up residence in these houses. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see newer ghettos with shift in religious demography in areas of importance, close to railway stations, industries, big colonies, etc.
– When the restrictions of lockdown are lifted, every house will employ maids from the ghettos close to their colony. It will mean that houses which earlier refused to have maids from religions other than their own, will perforce have to employ them, for lack of choice or wage comparisons.
– Industries which will reopen will also have the same problem. They will be forced to accept the available labour close to their industries, irrespective of their skill level.
– The situation will be somewhat similar to what is happening in the United States where people support immigrants (legal or illegal) from Mexico or South America because they say that citizens of US do not want to do menial jobs or low paying jobs.
– As it is the Governments in charge of our Major Cities have zero control over the religious or religious educational institutions in their city. It has also been proved without any doubt in and after the Delhi riots and the explosion of Corona cases, that these institutions encourage illegal activities without fear of the law.
– Workers who enter homes or industries legally are the first informers for people of various illegal and legal institutions. A few years back one saw the effect of such informers in lawless Bihar and UP, where kidnappings and extortions were regular.
– Industries which wish to reopen will be really hard hit, especially the small scale industries.
– Once the ‘migrants’ who have left the city try to come back, it would be more difficult for them to find place to stay which is closer to work and also economical. They would be at the mercy of the slumlords even more, I feel.
I do hope that my morose predictions do not end up being true, but looking at the skewed population leaving the cities, I am apprehensive about the future.