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In a heart-wrenching short film, NGO Goonj with director Kireet Khurana show the plight of migrant labourers to launch their project Safar.
The post was originally written in Hindi and was later rewritten by Anamika Mohanta for English.
Right now, we aren’t shut inside our houses and are back at our jobs. The atmosphere may not be totally normal but it was better than what it was earlier. However the fear of corona is there, threatening us. Since we have no other way, we are stepping forward on our own to becoming ‘atmanirbhar’ with fear in our minds and courage in our hearts.
With the entire world clenched by the pandemic, even the most powerful economies are shaken to the ground. The world is bearing more loss than we can imagine and looking back at the past few months, all we can see are our troubles and sorrows.
However, there was a group of people whose sorrows were barely heard or even seen.
Your house-help, the construction labours, factory workers were the ones bearing a number of troubles. They were unable to even bear their daily expenses. We were instructed to pay them all their salaries but are we so benevolent to pay them without having any work done? Some of us may have done so, but did we all?
We didn’t offer them any work and neither did we pay them their full salaries since we were all dealing with our own troubles. Most of us had a home to rest in, meals on our table, clothes to wear and though we were troubles by our salaries, we could still bear our expenses.
‘Goonj – A Voice, An Effort,’ is an initiative trying to unfurl all the unseen and unheard stories of these workers. Based in Delhi, Goonj is an NGO that assists in the field of community development and disaster relief. They also help the people in need in times of distress. Branching across 23 states, in March, Goonj, along with Kireet Khurrana, decided to be the voice of migrant labourers and began working on a project called #Safar.
When they shared it on social media, the NGO said, ‘They were on the roads and now cannot be seen. Before the lockdown, the majority of them were before us, they were homeless, exploited and scattered. Their “safar” is still on. This is a tribute to all those people who helped us build our homes, those who build the shops, those who sowed and reaped so that we could eat, those who cared for us and those who stood by us and we kept on calling them “they”, “them” and “their.”’
Listen, we did not ever tell you this,
The homes in which you’re thriving, even we were involved in its building
We never expressed this
The roads on which your cars race, our dripping sweat constructed them.
We never uttered an “alas!”
The rickshaws in which you travel, they affect our lungs
I know that you’re in search of me
To open that shut sewage, for the lifeless machines in the factory
To hear “Jaagte Raho!” so that you can sleep in peace, to clean the dirt accumulated on your car
Oh yes, I realise this
He likes the delicious dishes cooked by me and you loath doing the dishes
This thought keeps coming back over, why did you let us go like that
Why did you leave us destitute, why were the buses and trains shut
Why did you hit us with sticks and made us walk hungry and thirsty
We never expressed this, you only recall us with our work face
We did not ask for schools, not roads, not cars, not even concrete roof
At least you should’ve by indication, by voice
Stopped us once, before that undesired journey
For the film, Taapsee Pannu, Dia Mirza and Tisca Chopra have lent their voice in Punjabi, Hindi, English and Urdu. The praiseworthy animation is done by the design team of Climb Media India.
Each picture justifies the emotion of the story. Safar is also available in Oriya and Bengali with the voice of Nandita Das and Anandita Das respectively.
An introduction of Kireet Khurana who formed the backbone of Safar. Kireet Khurana has been awarded the prestigious President award six times. He is a storyteller, filmmaker and a director. He has made more than 12 short films and more than 500 ad films. Kireet has worked on many public service campaigns and Safar is also part of them.
Picture credits: YouTube and Twitter
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