Monday 22nd June 2020, 5.00 to 7.00 pm
The exodus of distressed migrant labourers during the lockdown period problematises the dominant narratives that exist on the working class in India. While it exposes the irresponsible attitude of labour contractors and democratic governments- both state and centre, towards the unorganized labour sectors, it also highlights the need to revise labour laws to favour this segment of workers who constitute more than a hundred million of the population. However, the firm decision taken by workers to transcend the apathy of Government structures and systems by adopting alternate ways of returning home, including walking and cycling thousands of miles, demonstrates their lack of confidence in Government machineries. Their exodus shows their endurance and persistence to function as an agency of change.
Many have returned to the places they call ‘home’, their own native lands, their State of origin, posing many questions before the civil society. What will their future be? Will they go back and continue to experience the same pathos of modern slavery or will they negotiate with contractors, entrepreneurs and the Government regarding their dignity as labourers. If they do not come back to their respective areas of work, will they lead a meaningful and a dignified life without having a regular income? Will the Government develop supportive systems at the point of origin to sustain their life? These labourers are a faith question before the church- the ‘ekklesia’. Being a radical democratic assembly of God, the church has to see this as a crisis emerging out of the unjust structures of the society. The majority of these workers belong to Dalit, Adivasi and OBC communities. Therefore, their marginalisation has caste, colour, economic and gender dimensions and intersections.
The Church is supposed to be the voice of the marginalised and has a responsibility to visualize an inclusive society – a society which has equity and where equal distribution and justice are the core values. A webinar is scheduled to discuss how the church can journey with those in exodus, to learn from them and to be with them in their plight. It is an exploration to evaluate the role of the church in the context of the exodus of distressed migrant workers.
The webinar will attempt to (1) seek an understanding on the context of the exodus of distress migrants to their own places, (2) seek to learn ways in which the church can affirm and enhance their quality of life in the locales to which they have returned and to which spaces they will eventually return again after the CoVID context wanes out, and (3) motivate Churches, Christian and Ecumenical organizations to make their plan of action in this regard. Meera Sangmitra (NAPM), Sonia George (SEWA), Dr S.K Vettivel (Independent Consultant), Indrajeet Pawar (IJM) and Rajesh Jadhav (NCCI-URM/ VCLC) who are experts in their respective fields will guide us through the webinar. The webinar will be held on 22nd June 2020 between 5.00 and 7.00 pm
Click here to register for the webinar. A confirmation mail with dial in details will be sent subsequently.