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To speak of Migrant workers is to speak of Politics today


Vishal Verma

vishal VThe politics in India which has continuously been called ‘democractic’ has sustained for more than 70 years. With riots and uprisings[i] having  been an  intrinsic part of it. Where the former,  has always been advantageous for Indian democracy to consolidate its power through the mediation of an institutionally    centralised state form. The latter, usually, radically shakes the established structures of power called State  through an assertion of the strength of people, who were kept at absence.  Thereby demonstrating a strength of their absence[ii].

Today, during the Corona pandemic, an inexistent[iii]of the world, called the ‘Migrant worker’ has started to exist in this same world with maximum inten­sity. Let’s see a picture of it. So much has already been written about the Coronavirus epidemic, as a non-specialist observer with very limited access and interest in data, I have nothing to add about the epidemic's origin, characteristics and ideology. But perhaps, I would be interested in questioning the logic of the State to deal with the crisis. Here, we must not forget that a virus called COVID-19 has shaken the world, not solely because of its highly contagious parasitic nature but due to the failure of the logic of the State itself, which can be exposed in three stages[iv].

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India’s Coronavirus and Lockdown Alienation


Mohd Owais Saleem

mohammed owais saleemHas lockdown led the marginalized or many other groups of India to severe alienation during COVID-19? Is it affecting the lives of groups and individuals? Being a student of sociology, this question always strikes me hard. Having been born and brought up in Delhi, it has been observed that the lives of people living in the city are an obvious and classic case of “social alienation.” They work hard to meet their basic needs and their never-ending desires have made them a stranger to the person living in their neighbourhood. Hence, “social alienation” — a condition in social relationships is reflected by a low degree of integration or common values, and a high degree of distance or isolation between individuals or between an individual and a group of people in a community or work environment as defined by many classic sociologists.

Marx’s theory of Alienation is articulated most clearly in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 and The German Ideology of 1846, where he defined “Human Alienation” as the third element of Alienation. So in a society like Delhi, no one knows what others go through in their day-to-day life; as a result, all families depend on themselves for survival. Already having this type of alienation, Delhi is now also facing “lockdown alienation.” There are so many people who work in the informal sector and earn less to survive. Likewise, there are so many migrant laborers who work on a daily wage basis, and their source of income is only their labor which they can sell and earn to survive.

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Palasa 1978 – A story of Revolt-Reform-Revenge, and beyond that


Sudhanshu Singh

Palasa 1978 is an excellent and rare example of Bahujan culture and agony depicted in mainstream cinema. There have been movies before that have depicted lives of the working class but none depicts their lives as well as culture with explicit truthfulness and a message that is like a ‘fusillade of pistol shots’. The bluntness of the movie is nothing less than a cultural shock to Indian cinema, which has internalized the loathsome activity of censoring realities, in subtleties. In a time like this, Palasa 1978 is a great work of political art. It shows the upper castes in their characteristic light. How they associate with fellow men of different castes for a purpose and make them their pawns. But Ranga Rao and Mohan Rao are no nonsense brothers. Courageous, ready to snatch their legitimate birthright, and draw some blood in the course. The movie is thrilling and intense, with its dialogues being the backbone of a powerful ride.

palasa poster 1

Plot

The movie begins with a character playing Hanuman (in a folk performance) on his knees, being punched and bleeding from his mouth, who later gives up, and the scene is followed by folk songs about Palasa, a town in Andhra Pradesh known for its cashew production. It is the story of a family and two brothers who work in a cashew factory and are folk dancers by tradition. They have seen and observed segregation based on caste but things begin to change when they don’t find things normal anymore. Revolt boils inside them on occasions. The earliest incident begins with the narrator saying ‘That day was the most unforgettable day in Mohan Rao’s life. This was the same day singer Mohan Rao turned to be goon Mohan Rao’. Mohan Rao auditions for a singing competition, his performance is enjoyed and appreciated by everyone but the judges do not give him the first prize because of his caste. The narrator says ‘That was the day we realized, not just our community but our song is also untouchable’.

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Brahmin media cannot resist communal bigotry even amidst COVID-19 pandemic

 

Dr. Manisha Bangar and Anwarul Hoda

"I was very worried about some stories I heard that some people are blaming the epidemic on minorities... on Muslim minorities... even saying that it's a deliberate act of terrorism... this is complete nonsense, is extremely dangerous... we don't need more hatred, we need solidarity, we need love between people." - Yuval Noah Harari

republic tv tablighi jamat

After the Citizenship Amendment Act and the Delhi pogrom Muslims are left with another tragedy to carry with them. In the wake of COVID-19 people showing solidarity and standing for each other's safety while in India in contrast Muslims are blamed for spreading the coronavirus in the country.

Without any shame, TV channels keep on blaming Tablighi Jamat for the Corona outbreak. Going a step further, some of the satellite channels didn't shy away from calling it 'Corona Jihad'. What could be worse for India Muslims to carry the blame of which they know nothing about?

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Cyber Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations worldwide

 

Mahesh Wasnik 

The worldwide Ambedkarite Community celebrated 193rd Mahatma Phule birth anniversary and 129th Dr. B R Ambedkar Jayanti together, online, as a "Cyber Jayanti Celebration."

phule ambedkarDuring the difficult time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ambedkarite community celebrated 193rd Mahatma Phule Birthday and  Dr. B R Ambedkar’s 129th birthday online via multiple social media platforms like Skype, Google hangout, Facebook, YouTube channel, Zoom, WebEx, Free-conference call, webinar jam, GoToMeeting. These cyber celebrations were telecast live on Bahujan media networks like AwaazTV, Maitri TV, KanshiTV, Samyak India TV, Bahujan TV, MNT News Network, MN Live and Dalit Dastak.

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Corona Virus, Science and Buddha


Harishchandra Sukhdeve

harishchandra sukhdeveThe world is at a standstill for almost more than three months now. And, nobody knows when the wheels of the economy will start turning again. Unprecedented. It had never happened before: all continents being shut down for human movement. Human beings are in self imposed cages to save themselves from the tiny invisible Corona Virus. Or rather from the newer version of Corona Virus, hence called Novel Corona Virus, the COVID-19.

This Novel Corona Virus has infected human beings for the first time in December 2019, in the crowded industrial city of Wuhan in China. It quickly spread among a large population killing many people. The infection was swift and widespread leaving no clue about how to respond, much less how to cure people. By the time authorities in China could figure out how to respond, Corona had already travelled to many countries in Europe and America. While China was reeling under its devastating spread and deaths with no medicine in sight to cure people, other countries were quite normal till the dawn of the new year. Corona is pretty stealthy. It doesn’t make its presence felt for two to three weeks. In cascading devastating events that followed after December 2019 in China, Italy overtook it in deaths by February, 2020, when America’s President Trump was still in an ambivalent mood, enjoying the hospitality of Modi in India. Come March and even before it was over, America overtook both China and Italy in terms of affected people, and by mid-April it was topping the list for deaths by Corona.

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COVID-19, Safety and Security of Sanitation Workers

 

Ajit Kumar Lenka

ajit kumar lenkaCurrently, millions of people are affected by Covid-19 (coronavirus disease). The number of infected cases and deaths due to Covid-19 is increasing rapidly. As per the WHO data, more than two million people are affected and thousands of people have died from the coronavirus Covid-19 across the globe. In the case of India, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), thousands of people are infected from Covid-19, and hundreds of deaths are reported. As per the WHO guidelines, everyone should follow basic hygienic such as regular washing of hands with soap and water, wearing mask and maintaining social distancing of at least 1.8 meters from others. One needs to avoid unnecessary, unprotected contact with animals and be sure to wash hands properly.

In India, the majority of sanitation workers directly involved in cleaning work are working without protective gear. More than 1.2 million workers are engaged in cleaning work under the supervision of municipalities across the country. In the battle against Covid-19, sanitation workers are playing a major role in cleaning and maintaining hygiene. These workers are more vulnerable than the other workers because they are dealing directly with hazardous work. They are most vulnerable in the current pandemic situation. They face social distance as well as exclusion in both villages and cities (Kumar, 2014). The majority of the workers belong to lower castes. Their educational level is also low and they have very little ownership of resources. They are at the lowest rung of society. Considering these attributes, the present article focuses on special attention for the safety and security of the sanitation workers during the Covid-19 crisis.

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