A collaborative video project for migrant workers of India
a few netizens
to share stories
of suffering migrants
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 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
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)
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
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)
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
Worked as a construction labourer. Had to abandon her newly born child to continue her walk back home. Represented by IndirāRāo Kānugovi
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)
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
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
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
Homecoming by Himanshu Gopalani
#Hungry by Sanju Kadu
No Looking Back Now by Reechik
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.
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.
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.
This project was initiated by Studio Ainak, and moderated by its founder Suruchi Sharma