Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Home Opinions On migrant workers, ticket prices and bureaucratic language

On migrant workers, ticket prices and bureaucratic language

Communicating in simple language would never work for our babus, who don’t have many skills anyway.

Also Read

Abhishek Banerjeehttps://dynastycrooks.wordpress.com/
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

The convoluted language in this circular from the Home Secretary on movement of migrant workers was mocked all around social media yesterday.

Untitled
MHA notification

The mocking was well deserved. Communicating in simple language would never work for our babus, who don’t have many skills anyway.

But there is a deeper point here, which most people probably missed. Why did the sentence have to be so long and convoluted? The difficulty in constructing the sentence came from the fact that it was trying to define “migrant,” a term which has essentially no meaning. Who is a migrant and who is a local? It’s hard to differentiate these terms because they are both one and same.

Indeed, Indians anywhere in India are at home everywhere. A guy who boards a train from say Bihar and arrives in Mumbai looking for work is not in any particularly different category from anyone else in Mumbai. That is in the Fundamental Rights in the all important Part IIIA of the Constitution: right to reside and settle in any part of India.

In fact, India’s voter ID procedures make this absolutely clear. Even if you have nothing to your name and you sleep on the pavement, the BLO is supposed to verify where you sleep at night. If you are an Indian and you habitually sleep there, you are a local. There is no such thing as a “migrant.”

This may seem like a sterile academic matter, but it is not. It is at the heart of all the misconceptions that have come up around the issue of so called migrant workers, which has now become a political hot button issue.

When the lockdown began, lakhs of workers nationwide, daily wagers, those in unorganized sector, etc, found themselves out of a job. Within days, reports emerged that some of these so called migrants were trying to walk “home,” despite the impossibly long distances involved.

This should never have happened. They were Indians living and/or working in a place of their choice within India.  The migrant worker crisis began precisely because several state governments and media saw these people as some kind of outsider. When the crisis came, it was the duty of the respective state governments to take care of their needs. No, they didn’t need to go “home” because they were already at home! And no, Mr. Kejriwal, giving them one meal and dropping them off at the Uttar Pradesh border doesn’t count as taking care of them. They were not in Uttar Pradesh: they were in Delhi. Just because they may have family members in Bihar or UP or Jharkhand doesn’t mean Delhi government does not owe them anything.

Yes, we understand that times are tough and everyone has finite resources. And the last thing that should happen is richer states forcing people to move to poorer states.

Which brings us to the issue of who pays for the Railway to ferry “migrant” workers back “home”.

These people shouldn’t have had to go at all! In times of lockdown, large numbers of people migrating, that too in crowded trains, is a very bad idea. That too when most of them will be traveling from the worst affected areas to poorer states.

And if at all, these so called “migrants” had to be sent “home,” the least that the government of the “host state” can do is pay for their tickets. The reason this even became a dispute is because people seem to think there is such a thing as “host state” and “home state.”

And there is absolutely no justification for states asking the so called migrants to pay for tickets back “home.”

Of course, there are things here that the Central Government could have done better. The Railway is not selling tickets at stations, only transporting people brought by state governments. For example, the Railway could have sent a consolidated bill to states some days down the line.

For now, it is satisfying to know that the political firestorm has ensured that the affected people, already worst hit by the crisis, will not have to pay anything. In this firestorm, there is an important lesson in how an alert media can hold a government accountable for the slightest slip ups, thus serving the public interest.

Which is why it is so disturbing to see how some of the media has been so shy to hold  ‘secular’ Chief Ministers accountable during the crisis. This is making us less safe as a nation, not more. Only today, there was a media portal which carried, in all seriousness, an article mentioning Uddhav Thackeray as one of the best performers.  Apparently, because “it’s not about the extent of the spread of the infection.” Their words, not mine. Let that sink in.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Abhishek Banerjeehttps://dynastycrooks.wordpress.com/
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

Trending now

Liberals, Islamists get triggered as Congress leaders show soft Hindutva ahead of Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan

Priyanka Gandhi, Kamal Nath and Manish Tewari have posted tweets welcoming the bhoomi pujan of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya

“Will believe in coronavirus if Amit Shah dies”: Shaheen Bagh ‘activist’ Aiman Rizwi urges Muslims to pray for his death

Rizwi also strongly believes that Coronavirus is a myth and propagated to conceal failures of Modi government.

Kargil War’s retired MiG-23 aircraft installed on AMU campus listed for sale on OLX, proctor says fake ad

MiG-23 installed at AMU listed on OLX for sale at 9.99 crore, proctor says the ad is fake and an attempt to defame the university.

Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has a prolonged meltdown, announces a movie on Arnab Goswami, “Arnab, The News Prostitute”

Ram Gopal Varma vented his spleen against the Republic TV Editor-in-Chief in a series of tweets on Twitter.

Is ED violating its guidelines by registering money laundering case in connection with SSR’s death? Here’s how NDTV journalists peddled fake news

The Enforcement Directorate has recently lodged a case of money laundering in connection with the alleged suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput.

Recently Popular

Here is why #BabyPenguin is trending on Twitter, and why Aaditya Thackeray is called so by some

Yuva Sena registered complaint against twitter user for calling Aaditya Thackeray "Baby Penguin" and Uddhav Thackeray "Aurangzeb"

How one call from Chief Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi changed my views from ‘Why Ram Mandir’ to ‘Mandir Wahin Banayenge’

As we get closer to the dream of Bhavya Ram Mandir coming true, my perception of importance of the Ram Mandir underwent a transformation

Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has a prolonged meltdown, announces a movie on Arnab Goswami, “Arnab, The News Prostitute”

Ram Gopal Varma vented his spleen against the Republic TV Editor-in-Chief in a series of tweets on Twitter.

Delhi Police confirm OpIndia report, say that Tahir Hussain has confessed he had planned the Delhi riots to teach Hindus a lesson

Tahir Hussain confesses before Delhi police that he had planned the Delhi Riots, collected materials in advance for the same

Why it’s wrong to call Aatish Taseer a ‘bastard’ even if he is one

All Amit Shah ever did to Taseer was revoke a privilege that allowed him to circumvent the usual visa application process that common people go through.

Delhi violence started with Ladeeda’s call to Jihad on 11th December, now, she has another message ahead of Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan

Ladeeda Farzana, the face of the violent protests that swept Jamia Millia Islamia University last year, shared the picture of Babri structure with the message: "Never forget, never forgive"

Bangladesh: Communist politician Manisha Chakraborty slaughters 5 cows to distributes meat, promises ‘Kurbani’ of 30 cows next year

The politician stated that her team worked tirelessly from the morning to slaughter 5 cows and prepare the meat packets.

United States warns against planting mysterious seeds received in unsolicited packages originating in China

Unsolicited packages with mysterious seeds possibly originating from China have landed on many US residents triggering panic.

Liberals, Islamists get triggered as Congress leaders show soft Hindutva ahead of Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan

Priyanka Gandhi, Kamal Nath and Manish Tewari have posted tweets welcoming the bhoomi pujan of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya

Karnataka priest gets death threats for fixing August 5 as Mahurat for Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan

Pandit NR Vijayendra Sharma is a scholar and gold medallist from the Banaras Hindu University and knows eight languages

Buy TikTok within 45 days or I will ban it: Trump tells Microsoft

TikTok claims that the app has around 100 million users in the US. If Microsoft manages to acquire the app, it can expect to stand in the competition with social media giants like Facebook and Snap.

“Will believe in coronavirus if Amit Shah dies”: Shaheen Bagh ‘activist’ Aiman Rizwi urges Muslims to pray for his death

Rizwi also strongly believes that Coronavirus is a myth and propagated to conceal failures of Modi government.

It is not advisable for persons above 90 years of age to attend Bhoomi Pujan because of COVID-19: Mandir trust informs, read details

The trust informed that a total of 135 priests, sadhus and Hindu spiritual leaders have been invited for the Bhoomi Pujan event. 175 people have been invited in total.

Karnataka: Congress IT cell worker arrested for wishing death upon Amit Shah after he was diagnosed with Coronavirus

A man named Anand Prasad, reportedly working as a secretary of the IT cell of the Karnataka PCC, had made derogatory statements and wished death upon Home Minister Amit Shah.

Kargil War’s retired MiG-23 aircraft installed on AMU campus listed for sale on OLX, proctor says fake ad

MiG-23 installed at AMU listed on OLX for sale at 9.99 crore, proctor says the ad is fake and an attempt to defame the university.

Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has a prolonged meltdown, announces a movie on Arnab Goswami, “Arnab, The News Prostitute”

Ram Gopal Varma vented his spleen against the Republic TV Editor-in-Chief in a series of tweets on Twitter.

Connect with us

238,771FansLike
420,975FollowersFollow
288,000SubscribersSubscribe