Gulzar pens poem on the Covid-19 migrant crisis

Hemani Sheh Mumbai | Updated on May 18, 2020 Published on May 18, 2020

Gulzar rohit jain paras

Indian lyricist, poet and author, Gulzar, has penned a poignant poem on the migrant crisis amid the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19.

A video of the poet narrating the poem titled ‘Migrants, Covid-19’ has been shared across social media platforms.

Mahamari lagi thi gharo ko bhaag liye the sabhi mazdoor, karigar. Machine bandh hone lag gai thi shahar ki saari unhi se hath paon chalte rehte the, vagarna zindagi to gaon hi me bo kar aye the,” writes Gulzar.

(The epidemic had taken over, all the labourers and workers were running towards their homes. The machines in the city had stopped working, the ones that were responsible for their livelihood, the ones for which they’d left their lives behind in their villages).

The poet highlighted aspects of the rural life that the migrants had left behind in their villages, including their homes and families, and emphasised that their true lives were back in their villages.

Marenge to wahi ja kar jaha par zindagi hai. Mahamari lagi thi gharo ko bhaag liye the sabhi mazdoor, karigar…” Gulzar ends the poem emphasizing the urge of the migrant labourers to just go home.

(We will go and die at the place where there is life. The epidemic had taken over, all the labourers and workers were running towards their homes).

The poem is a commentary on the mass exodus of migrant workers post the lockdown announced back in March to curb the spread of Covid-19. Migrant workers have been walking hundreds of kilometres to their villages on foot with minimum supplies, as they run out of food and money in the cities, many losing their lives during the journey.

At least 24 migrant labourers lost their lives on Saturday and 15 people sustained injuries following a road accident in Uttar Pradesh, according to media reports.

Earlier this month, at least 16 migrant workers sleeping on rail tracks on their journey back to their villages in different states were crushed to death by a goods train in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

The government has announced a new economic package to aid migrant workers amid Covid-19. It has also started operating special ‘Shramik trains’ to ferry migrant workers back home.

However, many migrants are yet to receive sufficient aid and are forced to walk back home to their villages amid the crisis.

Published on May 18, 2020

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