INSECURITY DESPERATION AND EXPLOITATION: The Lives of Migrant Workers
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Migrant daily wage and casual workers are crucial to India’s economy, polity and society, playing a role out of proportion to their share of the population. But migrant casual workers remain among the most oppressed and marginalised segments of Indian society. Their own lives have attracted little interest in public debates. Hence, in the four studies in this volume, the KISLAY Social Research Collective sought to explore the actual lived experience of urban daily wage migrant workers. Workers’ lives are not only about their wages and work, but also about the impact of their working situation on their lives as a whole, including on their children and their ability to live secure, safe and dignified lives. Hence, in these studies, the Collective looked first at men workers, then at women workers, and finally at their children. In the last study, carried out in 2020, we sought to examine one fundamental issue that emerged in all the previous studies, namely the question of shelter and housing. The picture that emerged from this attempt at a more holistic examination of the situation of migrant workers is, sadly, nothing less than horrific. The studies also each contain policy recommendations for how this situation can be changed.
Shankar Gopalakrishnanis a researcher and activist based in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. He has written extensively on issues of development, political economy, workers’ rights, and contemporary politics.
The lateTrepan Singh Chauhanwas awell known Hindi writer and literary figure based in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. He had been associated with research, policy and social change work in Uttarakhand for decades.
Ramendra Kumaris based in Delhi and is well known for his decades-long involvement in policy and social discussions and change efforts in the capital city.
Anita Junejais a senior activist and leader of the Delhi Shramik Sangathan and has worked, written on and studied issues of social justice for more than three decades.
M.S. Selvarajis based in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu and has both worked on and written extensively (primarily in Tamil) on a range of social issues, from resource rights to agriculture to workers issues.