We welcomed the strategy of a lockdown — possibly, the harshest and largest in the world, with the smallest relief package. The lockdown by design had nothing to offer the working poor except to destroy overnight the lives they had resiliently built for themselves. After all, the safety of physical distancing and handwashing were impossible for them in their grimy, crowded shanties or rough streets. With their livelihoods bombed out by state policy, in their ruins they were suddenly forced to endure the very hunger they escaped when they had moved to the city. Here are some voices of those on the margins and how a lockdown, completely bereft of empathy and compassion, made their lives more grinding than ever.
Harsh Mander is a writer, teacher and social activist from India. He works with survivors of mass violence and hunger and with street children. Harsh is currently the director of Center for Equity Studies, a New Delhi based action research organization.
Roy is the author of The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize in 1997, and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2017. My Seditious Heart, a collection of essays published in 2019, manifests how Roy used the political essay as a way of opening up space for justice, rights, and freedoms in an increasingly hostile environment.
Mohit Chauhan – Shiv Kailasho Ke Wasi (Shiva, who lives in the Kailash mountains) accompanied by Olena Yeremenko on the nyckelharpa and Emilia Raiter on the harp.
Mohit Chauhan is a renowned playback singer in Bollywood films, winning over 35 national and international awards, including the Daf Bama award for Best Playback singer from India and the Best International Act in 2016. He is also credited with bringing back folk music, especially from the State of Himachal, to the commercial music scene.
Krishna is a vocalist in the Karnatik tradition who won many awards such as the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in recognition of ‘his forceful commitment as artist and advocate to art’s power to heal India’s deep social divisions’, and the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration Award for his services in promoting and preserving national integration in the country.
Doshi is an award-winning poet, novelist and dancer. Her most recent
books are Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods, shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Poetry Award, and a novel, Small Days and Nights, shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize and a New York Times Bestsellers Editor’s Choice.
Aamir Aziz is a young Indian poet who has revolutionized the voice of dissent, especially with his famous poem “Saab Yaad Rakha Jayega” that was chanted by protestors against the Citizenship Amendment Act.