In India, as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus crosses the 90,000 mark, it is evident that the migrant workers, who are either stranded in foreign cities or making their way back home on foot are the worst hit. Heartbreaking and devastating visuals of migrant workers walking hundreds of kilometres with their families, often consisting of the elderly and even newborns, have flooded social media.
Even though the central government has arranged for special Shramik trains to take them to their homelands, a majority still continue to walk back home. A week ago, sixteen migrant workers were run over by a train when they fell asleep on the tracks. More recently, a truck accident on the highway killed 24 more migrants.
To put their suffering in words is an impossible feat, but poet, lyricist, and writer Gulzar has tried to pen down his emotions about the pain of the migrant workers.
During the pandemic, Gulzar has been keeping himself busy. He has been composing and posting beautiful, heartwarming poems about the state of affairs in the country. Over the weekend, Gulzar composed a beautiful poem for the migrant workers, justifying their desire to go home.
Even as several people continue to suggest that these workers should stay where they are and while the Supreme Court of India said that the migrant workers run over by the train shouldn't have fallen asleep on the tracks, Gulzar says that it is only natural for them to yearn for their homeland and not stay in places where they are just seen as "machines" meant to work.
Here's how the poem goes:
"महामारी लगी थी
घरों को भाग लिए थे सभी मज़दूर, कारीगर.
मशीनें बंद होने लग गई थीं शहर की सारी
उन्हीं से हाथ पाओं चलते रहते थे
वगर्ना ज़िन्दगी तो गाँव ही में बो के आए थे..."
Watch the video here: