CoronaCyclips: Lest we forget the migrant crisis
In May, amid the nationwide lockdown, two journalists from Asiaville ventured on a 12-day-long journey on bicycles from Delhi to Lucknow to cover the impact of the lockdown and migrant crisis. The stories they encountered during their journey have now been made into a documentary.
Two men on bicycles. One country in lockdown. Innumerable tales of courage, chaos and loss.
It has been six months since the country first announced a nationwide lockdown to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. And the months that followed, especially April and May, witnessed one of the most heartbreaking events in modern Indian history: the return of migrant labourers from cities to their villages.
For the 10 million people who involuntarily participated in the largest exodus since partition, it seemed like a cruel joke on their lives.
Many of them walked on foot for hundreds of kilometres, often accompanied by their children, elderly, in sweltering heat, without any food or any shelter. Many hitchhiked, and at times succumbed to road accidents. Many even got beaten up by the police.
These visuals that we captured on our screens are enough to shake the conscience of the nation.
Yet the government says it doesn't have data on how many perished on roads, train compartments. The mainstream media, with its characteristic short-term memory, has perhaps forgotten about these “misguided” men and women. Maybe for some of us, they remain as an important chapter of history, a guilty corner of our conscience and subjects for woke-Instagram posts.
But as journalists it is our duty to shake your memory a bit.
And so, we present the Corona Cyclips documentary.
In this three part documentary, we tell you the stories that our journalists Sruthin and Dibyaudh encountered when they ventured out in May for over 600 kilometres on bicycles in Uttar Pradesh, the state that saw the return of the highest number of migrant labourers.
During the 12-day journey, the duo captured with their mobile phones the stories of people who were caught unaware at the stroke of 8 pm on March 24 as to how in the coming days they’d lose it all - jobs, livelihoods and much more.
Let’s hear the stories of Satish, Ganeshi, Zahir, Jayaprakash, Umesh Chandra, Shariq, Deepmala and many more.
The first part of the documentary will be released on October 3, Saturday.
Watch the teaser here: