Saturday, March 27, 2010

The migrant labouror

The building in the background is a multi-speciality hospital that opened recently - the most expensive one in the city, and one inaccessible to more than 95% of the people of the city.

The shanties in the foreground came up to house the migrant labourours who built the hospital, and are now working on an equally swanky apartment complex coming up right behind it.

Every aspect of their lives is conducted in full glare of the public - they cook in public, eat in public, wash their clothes in public, even bathe in public.

And yet, they are almost invisible to the million or so people who use the road everyday.

The city would not exist without the migrant labourours who live just above starvation levels and take on the jobs that the residents of the city would not perform. And yet we refuse to acknowledge our debt to them, and close them out from our schools, hospitals and other public services.

And yet, they haven't forgotten how to smile.


Jan Morrison said...

Thank you for this post, Natasha. It is very poignant. What can I do?

Mason Canyon said...

It is sad that we as a world, not just any one country, can overlook any of its people.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Wonderful pictures to prove a point. It makes me so sad when I see it here also.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

You make a profound point about their publicly-lived lives and simultaneous invisibility.

Cozy in Texas said...

These look similar to pictures of Haiti (my son was there in February). There is so much need - but the rich continue to get richer and the poor continue to get poorer.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

These are really stirring photos, Rayna. Thanks so much for sharing them...I think I'll go count my blessings now...


Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Jan - I wish there were something anyone could do, but there isn't. And if you get down to the basics, the people do earn enough to eat in the city, and if they are lucky an NGO will pick the kids up and give them an education, so in one generation they can move out of poverty.

@ Mason - it is, isn't it. And think of the waste - there may be Einsteins and Picassos there.

@ Ann - it is the inequities that really gets to me. Somehow it doesn't seem fair that some have so many while their neighbours have so little.

@ Debra - to me that is perhaps the worst part - that nobody even sees them. When the Slumdog Millionaire was released, people actually said poverty of that kind did not exist - dead right, it doesn't. What exists is much worse.

@ Ann - I think most developing nations are similar. What I find amazing is how little crime we have despite this. And thanks for dropping by.

@ Elizabeth - I do that everyday. There is so much for us to be thankful for.


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