Metoomigrant dehumanising migrant workers

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Metoomigrant dehumanising migrant workers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 | NABA KISHOR PUJARI

The hashtag #metoomigrant is trending in Twitter and Instagram, but is that real and solacing for these migrant workers in true sense? Obviously, not for many, as this sounds more like a political act.

Can we overlook the tragic death of the 17 migrant labourers who died in an accident as the goods train ran over these workers napping near the pathway on the Aurangabad-Jalna railway line? In another occurrence, Mahesh Jena, a 20-year-old youth from Odisha, cycled 1,700 km from Maharashtra to reach his native place in Odisha.

Millions of such migrant workers in our country have been forced to tread the tireless walk back to their homes in a hope that at least they can meet their family members, children and relatives in person after a long time.

The #metoomigrant hashtag campaign was begun to stand with the migrant workers in their challenging time but have ended up insulting the migrants.

When you need people to use for your service, you lure them. But when they have the woe in a paradox now, we are not standing by them and leaving them to live a life of suffering and hunger.

When will this end? We are mistakenly leaving a community to be persistently helpless ignoring their valuable contribution to bring back the engine of economic growth.

Some twitteratis have even crossed all limits of indecency.

A bank employee has used #metoomigrant hashtag in his twitter post, saying that he too is a migrant since he was posted 100 km away from his house. Isn’t it a mockery to the plights of the migrant workers? Can we equate a bank employee with these migrant workers for whom two square meals are mostly uncertain now, for those who cycle or walk thousands of km for a renewed life?

I think many such posts were using the #metoomigrant hashtags which are a misuse of the purpose and it’s a sheer proof of people’s privilege.

Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha has a befitting answer in one of his satiric tweets.

On May 9, Jha has a tweet on #metoomigrant where he keeps Modi, Shah Rukh Khan, Dr Shashi Tharoor, Kirti Azad and Arnab Goswami in the migrant category as they are not working from their native places.

This has exposed the purpose of “online migrant communities” who do not leave a single occasion to flay these migrant workers. However, these migrant workers are already facing social ostracisation, discriminatory treatments and lack of dignity.

We are all migrants! No, we are not, especially when we are talking about those millions of migrant workers whose lives are on toss between the pangs of hunger and the fear of coronavirus infection.

While many of us write romantic poetry or spending quality time with their beloved ones, these migrant workers are taking the most painful strives to save their lives.

How can such a thing happen? Many people who have migrated to other cities, other countries by choice say that they are migrant too. If we search the meaning of the word migrant, it says “a person who moves from one place to another, especially to find work or better living conditions.” In that way, the hashtag users can escape but can we let our humanity be manifested from the etymological meaning? Can’t we leave our mechanical thoughts in a time where a large portion of humanity is in crisis?

(The writer is a senior freelance journalist and can be contacted at nabamaster@gmail.com)

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