Image and Imagery

June 28, 2020 at 5:29 pm 6 comments

An alley of rows of young men and women, clad in cool attires and sitting in ergonomic chairs, are glued to their laptops.  Their trendy glassed office overlook a vast expanse of swanky business towers that dot the skyline. Sipping endless cups of coffee and working extended hours, they always are in a hurry to beat the excruciating client deadlines to complete the project in hand and move over to the next. These smart, tech savvy and highly paid bunch of youngsters are the Indian IT professionals tasked to develop top notch software products for companies worldwide..and millions of such techies work in cities across the country fulfilling an ever increasing global demand for IT services.  They were the poster boys and ambassadors of the new nation,  a confident and aspirant India taking rapid strides in frontier technologies … and the world lapped up this image, until the events that followed the lockdown altered it completely. 

The nation came to a screeching halt when the lockdown was announced on the night of March 24 to contain the Covid spread with factories shut, offices closed and all construction activities suspended immediately.  And with that, the millions who manned the factories, guarded the offices and the workers who laid the roads and erected the homes lost their jobs and the livelihoods.  Unable to pay the paltry rent, they were evicted out of their shanty dwellings and soon, in every mega city of the country, millions spilled over to the streets, hungry, helpless and turned destitute, all in a matter of just few days. With trains out of the tracks and other conceivable mode of transport in the docks, they despaired to be in the comforts of their dear ones in distant villages and soon braced themselves to a ridiculously torturous journey back home, by foot! As the pictures of millions, trudging along for thousands of kilometres in scorching heat with luggages on their heads and babies on their arms flashed across the international media, the image of a nation, as confident and resilient, turned to its head to become a grim visual of a sea of desperate and uncared humanity on the move, overnight!

The migrant workers are the ones who move the wheels of the Indian economy silently, without being noticed, much less acknowledged in every formal and informal sectors. While they built malls and housing complexes, ran every small and medium industries in hazardous settings, did the cleaning and washing chores in almost all middle class households and kept the cities liveable and functioning, the denizens comprehensively failed to integrate them into the city they choose to serve and in the process left them vulnerable to abject poverty. They lived in sub-human conditions, ducked in the underbelly of every metropolis with no social security to rely on or fall back to, in times of distress. It is this callousness on the part of the ruled and the better-off of the society that led to the very tragic exodus of millions and seriously dented the image of a nation, known for its democratic and equitable principles. 

The advent of information and other allied technologies indeed have provided the educated youths with opportunities for lucrative employment which, in turn, has led to the creation of a gentry of neo-rich people. But while creating such a privileged class, it has also widened the gulf of inequality in the society to unacceptable levels. Though Capitalism, by its very nature, breeds inequality, it is the binding duty of a welfare state to mitigate its malignant affects through affirmative actions. Failure to adopt such an interventionist approach would, as history has repeatedly shown us, make societies extremely unstable, as events subsequent to the lockdown has shown.

As much in politics, it is the perception that carries weight and swings opinion in international arena.  And perhaps this sordid imagery of hapless immigrants under lockdown could have been avoided if only we had taken care of our less fortunate brethren a little better. 




Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , .

Guest post by my daughter The Brew Beckons

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rajendran mariagnanam  |  July 1, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    This pandemic was not expected. With the vast expanse of the country , the fear psychosis brought by the death toll statistics across, the political administration in a mellee, the lock down announced suddenly ,left everyone under the panic mode.

    The people of all types including the migrants were not supported by planned or may be many could not plan too as no data was available with the state too.

    Though some volunteer organisations tried their best but could not sustain without the support of the government .

    It was a total choas. The relief too came much later but nothing was under control as the migrants had non to take if them after the first lockdown.
    It took its own directions and enforcement authorities

  • 3. chapter18  |  July 3, 2020 at 6:55 am

    “Narayanan,,, I sometimes feel that you were born to be the doyen, nay super star of the advertising industry!!
    Creative captions, aesthetic visuals and of course your writing skills.. Amazing!”
    Thanks Monisha for the comment!

  • 4. Ninu Nair  |  July 7, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Indeed, the image of the migrant workers walking on the roads is to stay with us for a lifetime. Hopefully, we devise a mechanism to safeguard their interests in the coming future.
    It was great on your part to have brought this comparison of the two economically disparate worlds on your blog.

    • 5. chapter18  |  July 7, 2020 at 6:43 pm

      Thanks… the disparities are indeed stark and widening…

  • 6. nedhamson  |  June 29, 2021 at 5:18 am

    Reblogged this on Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News.


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