But yesterday evening's call was a joyous one. Raushan Bhai says, “ Mere ladki hui hai, aap ko mithai dene ka bahoot man kar raha hai, sabse pahele aapko phone kar raha hoon.” I cherish the moment, we have developed a powerful human bond. I say, “ ye to bahoot kushi ki baat hai, maa aur bacchi dono theek hai, delivery normal hui?” Raushan says, “haan sab theek hai, aapko mithai deni hai” he emphasizes. I say, “ theek hai aap jab aaoge to de dena.” Raushan, “ aab Mumbai nahi aayenge”. I have nothing to say because the mistreatment meted out to them has been no less than criminal.
This is what we have been hearing from many migrant workers who are leaving the city, probably the sentiments are the same everywhere. Cities (government, institutions, residents, systems, everything) have mistreated them, have exploited their labour while enjoying the luxuries that have come cheap because of their labour and in the end given them nothing but hardships for their travel home. Many would not want to come back to the cities where they have been mistreated but will they be able to do that, will they have any choice. The conditions and predicament of migrant workers are similar to that of a woman who endures domestic violence for years because she does not have an alternative, there is no support at her parental home and in the married home. For migrants, their native places are devoid of economic opportunities coupled with caste oppression that they escaped by coming to cities, and cities barely provide for sustenance, deplorable quality of life in slums, and the humiliation and mistreatment that they have faced in the current times.
This November it will be the 75th year of Beveridge Report called Social Insurance and Allied Services was published in 1942 became the founding document of the modern welfare state. William Beveridge suggested eradicating what he called 5 “giant evils”: want, disease, ignorance, squalor, and idleness. He was no socialist, but he believed that if everyone becomes a beneficiary it can be a collective development of the nation. He proposed that the burden of health care and pension would be the responsibility of the state. The sustained post-second world war period till about the 70s saw growth and near full employment In UK. Beveridge saw work as an ultimate solution to poverty, he also wanted free health services for all. Ignorance he believed ‘ is an evil weed which dictators may cultivate among their dupes, which no democracy can afford among its citizens.” Beveridge also identified slum-like housing conditions as a contributor to poverty along with this he also identified full employment as a measure for development. There were universal feelings and popular public opinion that Britain could not go back to per war social condition. During World War II, blackouts and other extreme measures were taken. The conditions are very similar to present-day conditions in India.