On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown, which would be extended thrice concluding on May 31, 2020. This brought the invisible migrant workers in Indian cities out of their slums and shanties, and under media glare. Around 12 crore of India’s estimated 46.5 crore workforce are migrant workers. Faced with starvation, they had chosen to walk home. Thousands of them died. Many of them on the train tracks. It was apathy and abandonment. We had let them down as a nation and as a people.
Archival memory of apathy, abandonment and exodus. A reporter’s notebook as an architectonic resistance to all falsehoods, an archive for the future. I was on the ground like many other reporters. These are some of my diary entries from the lockdown in 2020.