Early on a winter morning at the Chuna Mandi labour adda near Paharganj in Delhi, the capital’s “dispensables” were gathering to scour for their day’s work, as they do every day. The fog was yet to set in, and the air had a sharp nip. The mood among the casual workers was visibly downbeat.
“We have to dig wells every day in order to quench our thirst”. This popular Hindi saying recurred in conversations when I walked Delhi’s streets to understand how the abrupt withdrawal of old currency notes had impacted Delhi’s poorest, homeless and casual workers, and people dependent on charity.
Tushar, the son of a police officer in Haryana, studied at University of Pennsylvania and worked for three years as an investment banker in the United States and Singapore. Matt migrated as a teenager to the United States with his parents, and studied in MIT.
Home-based work absolves the owners and managers of global supply chains from any legal obligations of fair wages, healthy work conditions and social protection to the actual end-line workers who labour in isolated home-based units.
The people of India’s villages carry collective memories of centuries of calamitous losses of sometimes millions of lives in famines. Famines have been pushed into history, unarguably one of free India’s greatest accomplishments.
India has transformed spectacularly in innumerable ways in the last two decades. One of the least noted changes is in the way the country — governments, the press and people — respond to drought and food scarcities.
Winter is upon us once more. Pollution, smog and plunging temperatures transmute sleeping into a formidable daily challenge for the most dispossessed of city residents – people without homes.
The picture of rural Indian life today that emerges from what is probably the world’s largest study ever of household deprivation is sobering and sombre.
The shocking decision of the Union Cabinet to legalise child work after school hours in family enterprises must compel us to turn an unflinching spotlight on one of our gravest, and collectively forgotten, cruelties: the theft of the childhood…
In her extraordinary novel The Help, Katherine Stockett writes about the lives of black women domestic workers in a small town in Mississippi in 1962. At the time in which the novel is set, the civil rights movement was yet to alter the unequal social relations between races in this small, conservative settlement.