HOMECOMING 

A collaborative video project for migrant workers of India

When

a few netizens

collaborated

to share stories

of suffering migrants

through art; 

something transpired. 

INSAF ALI

INSAF ALI

Insaf Ali was a mason worker in Mumbai. He walked or hitch-hiked 1,500 km from Mumbai to Shravasti district in Uttar Pradesh but died hours after reaching his village, Mathkanwa. Ali’s mobile phone had run out of battery and was surviving only on biscuits. Officials say that at the quarantine, he kept throwing up. Represented by Sanju Kadu

VIDYANAND

VIDYANAND

Vidyanand was an auto rickshaw driver in Mumbai. He drove his own auto about 1500 Kilometres, travelling with his family to his native village Chandauli in Uttar Pradesh. Represented by Shubham Saini

BHANWAR LAL

BHANWAR LAL

Worked as a daily wage labourer in the city. Tore off his plaster and began walking on the road to reach home. Represented by Reechik Banerjee

RAMESH BHATT (55)

RAMESH BHATT (55)

Worked at a tea stall for 25 years in Mumbai. Died due to rash driving of a tempo in Virar, while walking back from Mumbai to Banswara, Rajasthan. Represented by Pratik Mukhopadhyay

SATARIA HEMBROM

SATARIA HEMBROM

Worked as construction worker in Navi Mumbai. On his way to Jharkhand's Chaibasa from Mumbai on foot, said: "We had two options; face Covid without food or walk home." Hembrom, who had blisters on his feet because of the walking, appreciated the assistance of policemen all along the way. Represented by Shoray Madan

DALEEP SINGH (20)

DALEEP SINGH (20)

Worked at a steel factory in Jalna. Was one of the sixteen men who were run over by a train in their sleep in the Aurangabad train incident. Represented by Jimmy

YELLAMMA

YELLAMMA

Worked as a construction labourer. Had to abandon her newly born child to continue her walk back home. Represented by IndirāRāo Kānugovi

SATYAVAN

SATYAVAN

Worked as a carpenter in Noida. He and his wife with their two children walked all the way from Noida to Badaun. They had no money to pay the rent and were asked by their landlord to leave. Represented by Palak Gupta

MOHAMMAD AKRAM (56)

MOHAMMAD AKRAM (56)

A potter in a Barabanki, near Lucknow. Due to lockdown his business is poorly hit and is struggling to feed his family. He has not received any help from the government. Represented by Kaveri Nandan Chandra

BHAGWATI DEVI

BHAGWATI DEVI

Used to clean drains in Delhi. She had developed blisters while walking back home and said "the government can send airplanes for rich people but can’t provide us with Chappals" Represented by Ranjit Shankar

YAKUB

YAKUB

Worked in a factory in Surat. When on the way home in a truck, chose to be laid off with his sick friend who died of dehydration. Represented by Ramnik Mohan

their STORIES

 OUR medium

The beginning

When the deplorable news surrounding the terrible plight of the hungry, helpless, broke and desperate to get home migrant workers shot into limelight, it affected us deeply. 

 

As artists,

the only way to express what affects us,

is to make art.

 

This led to the formation of a collective - bringing in people from all walks of life, with different skill-sets, united by the common grief that was shared after understanding the migrant crisis. 

 

Together, the idea was to find ways to depict and document the ordeal of the migrants, by means of short visuals, which break the shackles of being just another statistic in local news channels. 

 

Animation was the go-to medium that, in our opinion would humanise these stories.  And it was only possible with the equal participation and commitment of each member of the collective. 

The end

Though we haven't reached the migrant workers directly and have not made any tangible impact,

it was wonderful to see a Zoom Room full of people discussing the issue, expressing their concerns and trying a way to depict what they were feeling

through some visual medium. 

 

Is it not a way of developing empathy?

Some who were unaware became aware. 

Some who were aware and frustrated, found a voice.

Some who were depressed, found something to do.

Some who were lonely in lock-down, found friends.

And we all learned from each other,

eventually in the process leaving us with imagery

that will document this moment of suffering forever.

Sometimes doing this much also counts.

Don't you agree? 

 

Everything usually starts with a 'Yes'

Here are those who said it. 

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PARAM WALVEKAR

Film Student

I am a final year B.Des  film student at the National Institute of Design.  I love telling stories and cultivating my cinematography skills.

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PALAK GUPTA

Animator-in-the-making

I'm passionate about  learning and experimenting with various mediums, usually animation, to tell stories.

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KAVERI CHANDRA

Filmmaker & Writer

I'm a filmmaker and writer based in Lucknow/Mumbai.

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HIMANSHU

Animator

I am a visual storyteller and love creating videos through varied techniques and tools.

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RANJIT SHANKAR

Music Producer & Aircraft Load Controller

A music producer from Mumbai, I also work at Mumbai airport as a load-controller, which means that I basically balance the aircraft.

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SANJU J KADU

Film Student

Currently pursuing Masters in Design in Film and Video Communication at National Institute of Design, Ahmadabad. I am a visual storyteller with a passion for transforming imagination into live action.

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RAMNIK MOHAN

Freelancer

Freelancer, doing whatever one feels like doing; including translation, transliteration, reading, writing, motorcycling, viewing films, making friends... and various other things.

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JIMMY

Designer

A self-taught artist, an engineer and an MBA, I develop and design new and unique products for clients of Ogilvy and Mather, build sets for films and ads, do art-installations, also murals and graffiti. 

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REECHIK

Illustrator & Animator

Illustrator and animator from Calcutta currently based in Bangalore. I create experiences with audio and visuals.

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SHORAY MADAN

Animator

I have a passion for Art and Expression. Currently pursuing a degree in Animation, am fortunate enough to be in a visual field and enjoy translating my inspirations onto a canvas.

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SHUBHAM SAINI

Freelance Cinematographer

Currently working in Mumbai as a freelance cinematographer. 

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PRATIK MUKHOPADHYAY

Animation Student

I am an Undergraduate student pursuing Animation Film Design in National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

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INDIRA RAO K

Homemaker & Ex Media Professional. 

A post graduate in Mass Communication and an ex media practitioner, I am currently a homemaker based out of Bangalore. 

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FAMILIAL BURDEN

Amidst administrative chaos, a man carries his family home

Even though the process involved finding out about the harsh realities and depressing situations of fellow countrymen and women. Still it felt good to be doing something rather than nothing at all.

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SAFAR

Voicing the thoughts of a man journeying home on foot. 

I became more aware of what's happening in the surroundings with the migrants and started thinking and comparing their situation with mine.

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O BHAIYA CHALE  CHALO!

How far is home ?

It was a lovely experience. I was glad that my work found its worth in sharing . 

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HOMECOMING

Migrant labourers are moving, again.

It was a good experience, came to know about different viewpoints and interacted with people through Zoom for the first time.

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THE BURNING FEET

Walking a thousand miles

Loved the idea of creative collaboration, the best part was meeting new people in lockdown. 

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#HUNGER

"We know that a peaceful world cannot long exist, one-third rich and two-thirds hungry.” Jimmy Carter

The whole experience of working on this project was amazing. I wanted to do something in the current situation but that motivation was missing, which I got from this project.

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MY DUE I WANT /अधिकार मेरा

My Right, not Alms.

 दया नहीं, अपना हक़ चाहिए.

A learning experience. Meaningful too. Hope we keep working together, discussing various initiatives, responding to situations and looking for varied means of expression.

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THE LAST WALK

Burdened and exhausted,

they slept that night

I tried depicting the state of workers, using my skill-set as a set-designer. I am glad that the project made me busy in this self-loathing quarantined blanket. 

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NO LOOKING BACK NOW

The nation needs to stay home, but what if home is miles away and the journey is on foot.

Confusing at first on how to go about getting everyone's ideas together, but a smooth sail after that. The experience was very wholesome and would love to team up again!

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THE WALK

Hope never dies.

I am glad to have contributed for a good cause. This project also opened up my mind through interactions with other artists. The project helped me learn team- work, time-management, and the skill to look at a scenario through various perspectives. 

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HEROES

Divided by classes united by humanity .

It was a great initiative to bring people together who had some feeling about the migrants' crisis. It was good to find a platform to express our thoughts.

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WATCHING FROM A DISTANCE

The families of the migrant workers worry as their loved ones travel home during the pandemic.

I loved working with the team involved in this project and had a lot of fun doing this. I am thankful for such an initiative that attempted to make this project a reality!

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'LABOUR' PAIN

Can't empathise. 

Personally, the initiative gave me great motivation to work. I hope that our work reaches those who are privileged to be peacefully at home during the lock-down and understand the pain migrant workers are going through during the same time.

This project was initiated by Studio Ainak, and moderated by its founder Suruchi Sharma

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Get in touch at ainakstudio@gmail.com

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