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Blame It On COVID-19: No Work, Empty Stomach And The Mind Of A Daily Wage Earner

Life for migrant labourers is uncertain and only progressive policies can help the community as just food and shelter are not enough

Blame It On COVID-19: No Work, Empty Stomach And The Mind Of A Daily Wage Earner
Blame It On COVID-19: No Work, Empty Stomach And The Mind Of A Daily Wage Earner
outlookindia.com
2020-10-10T11:49:29+05:30

For over two weeks, Sahadat Ansari has been spending sleepless nights. When he drifts into sleep, the image of his three-year-old daughter’s wailing face jolts him awake. Ansar is consumed by guilt as he imagines that his daughter is crying from hunger. Till dawn breaks, the 36-year-old daily wager paces up and down the cramped room he shares with four others. The future looks grim for Ansari, who came to Delhi 16 years ago looking for a job. He has been working as a mason and earned Rs 500 daily. But with no work in the last fortnight, he’s gone to bed hungry most days. The uncertainty and helplessness is now driving him into despair. A psychiatrist is a foreign term to him; he reads the Quran when things reach a breaking point.

Ansari’s family of nine, including his elderly parents, lives in Bihar and he is worried about how to feed them. Contrary emotions tear at him from opposite directions: he wants to be with them, yet knows that his village has nothing to offer. The Delhi government has announced some piecemeal measures which is not helping...

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