Trans artists in Madurai: bullied, isolated, broke

Harassed, shunned by family, losing livelihoods – trans folk in Tamil Nadu are seeing the worst of times

July 29, 2021 | Reporting: S. Senthalir | Photographs: M. Palani Kumar

'We have been pleading for a bridge in Sautada'

Covid-19 has heightened the physical isolation of Beed district's Sautada village, where people risk their lives crossing the river to access everything from markets to hospitals

July 28, 2021 | Parth M. N.

In Madurai: the trauma of trans folk artists

While the pandemic has devastated many folk artists across Tamil Nadu, trans women performers have been among the worst hit – with barely any work or income, and no access to aid or state benefits

July 27, 2021 | Reporting: S. Senthalir | Photographs: M. Palani Kumar

'In a week it was all over. The tests failed us'

Misdiagnosis, delayed testing, disbelief, underreporting – all may have masked the real number of Covid casualties in Uttar Pradesh during the second surge, as is evident from the experiences of these five families

July 26, 2021 | Rana Tiwari

Eating less, earning little, enduring more

For Maharashtra's Masanjogi and Pardhi nomadic communities, a steep income drop during the lockdowns has meant cutting back on food – and without ration cards, they cannot even access subsidised grains

July 15, 2021 | Jyoti Shinoli

Delhi's lastline workers: burning in silence

Cremation workers Harinder and Pappu worked non-stop at Nigam Bodh crematorium during the second Covid wave in Delhi – risking their lives with no protection or insurance, and waiting for a pay hike

July 13, 2021 | Amir Malik


'I waited for five days to get remdesivir'

A shortage of remdesivir in Maharashtra's Beed district forced Ravi Bobde, a farmer, to move his Covid-positive parents elsewhere. Others have gone into debt buying the antiviral drug on the black market

July 9, 2021 | Parth M. N.

In Tuljapur, the price of priesthood
• Osmanabad , Maharashtra

In Tuljapur, the price of priesthood

The closure of Tulja Bhavani temple due to Covid-19 has caused losses to many in Osmanabad's Tuljapur town. But the priests and residents are willing to wait until it is safe for the devotees to return

July 6, 2021 | Parth M. N.

Quiet blows the kombu in Madurai

Kombu artistes in Tamil Nadu are struggling without any income from temple festivals and public events during the Covid-19 lockdowns. But their worries are more about the declining art

June 29, 2021 | M. Palani Kumar

Beed hospitals: falling short of staff and care

Patients in Beed's understaffed government hospitals have been struggling without proper medical treatment after the second wave of Covid-19 peaked in the district

June 26, 2021 | Parth M. N.

'We exhausted our savings to pay the hospital'

Poor public infrastructure, unaffordable private medical care and limited access to the state health insurance scheme are pushing Covid patients and their families into long-term debt in Marathwada

June 23, 2021 | Parth M. N.

‘We don’t trust government hospitals’

Ajay Kumar Saw, a clothes seller in Jharkhand’s Asarhia village, spent Rs. 1.5 lakh on Covid-19 care at a private clinic and is now in debt. A story co-authored by a video editor who lives in the same village

June 21, 2021 | Subuhi Jiwani and Haiyul Rahman Ansari

Karagattam artistes: on a bad stage in Madurai

Tamil Nadu's Karagattam performers, who depend on the art form for a living, are struggling without work and income – and they're anxious that the pandemic will end their dream of educating their children

June 16, 2021 | M. Palani Kumar

‘I am not a marriageable woman’
and • Muzaffarpur, Bihar

‘I am not a marriageable woman’

Sex workers in the Chaturbhuj Sthan brothel of Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, who often go through pregnancies at an early age to please their ‘permanent’ clients, were badly hit by the Covid-19 lockdowns

June 15, 2021 | Jigyasa Mishra

Waiting for a shot in the arm in Beed

A shortage of vaccines and their unequal distribution are hindering many from getting inoculated in Maharashtra's Beed district before the imminent third wave of Covid-19

June 7, 2021 | Parth M. N.

Covid and the calligraphers of a qabristan

Business is booming – and breaking the hearts of those in the trade of calligraphic inscription and engraving on gravestones in Al-Jadeed, one of New Delhi’s largest cemeteries

June 5, 2021 | Amir Malik

‘The dead aren’t aware of the funerals they get’

The pandemic has compelled that funerals take place, physically and socially, in ways not seen before. They are now more about logistics than loss. PARI reports on these from Maharashtra’s Osmanabad district

May 29, 2021 | Parth M. N.

UP: ‘Nothing can be done, duty has to be done’

The rising Covid-19 death toll among UP teachers on compulsory duty during the panchayat polls also draws attention to the exploitative ‘shiksha mitra’ system. PARI tracks three ‘mitras’ who lost their lives

May 27, 2021 | Jigyasa Mishra

Pardhis: positive, isolating in huts and broke

At this Adivasis settlement in Pune district, Covid positive persons are isolating in straw huts, with no electricity or water, and sparse rations. Masking, ventilation, oximeters and more have no meaning here

May 26, 2021 | Jyoti Shinoli

The king and the lone wheel of a tractor

He abhorred those pests getting adept in the dark arts of unity. A poem for the present times

May 24, 2021 | Joshua Bodhinetra

Counting the dead and lessons unlearned
and • Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Counting the dead and lessons unlearned

Why were the classrooms deserted, the playgrounds on fire? A poem for teachers lost

May 22, 2021 | Pratishtha Pandya

Rural reporters: losing lives without a voice

Journalists in Maharashtra are dying of Covid-19 even as they've been demanding frontline-worker status. Without easy access to vaccines and good healthcare, reporters in rural areas are at greater risk

May 21, 2021 | Parth M. N.

UP panchayats: teacher death toll hits 1,621

Why was the UP government okay with holding the panchayat polls in April, which have now unleashed a catastrophe that keeps growing? PARI brings you an update

MAY 18, 2021 | P. Sainath

In Marathwada: ‘I didn’t think he would die’

The sudden deaths of Prabhakar Survase and Shivaji Kate, their families believe, were due to a shortage of oxygen supply in the Covid hospitals of Beed and Osmanabad – districts with limited health resources

May 17, 2021 | Parth M.N.

Seeking Covid-care in Kalyan: debt unto death

The family of Gopal Gupta, a vegetable vendor in Kalyan near Mumbai, who tested Covid positive in March, spent nearly Rs. 5 lakhs on private healthcare – and still lost him later in a public hospital in the city

May 15, 2021 | Aakanksha

In Palghar, the price of a pandemic

Chaos reigns outside a state-run hospital in rural Maharashtra, with families – many from Adivasi communities – seeking beds or grieving a loss in a district ill-equipped to handle Covid’s onslaught

May 13, 2021 | Shraddha Agarwal

The King and his palace on pyre
and • New Delhi, Delhi

The King and his palace on pyre

As outrage pours in at the Centre's relentless work on the lavish Central Vista project amidst the pandemic, a poet recalls an old tale

May 12, 2021 | Poem and Text: Sayani Rakshit | Painting: Labani Jangi

In Tamil Nadu: taming TB in the time of Covid

Fighting tuberculosis – India’s worst infectious disease killer for decades – always daunting, becomes even harder during the Covid pandemic, as the lives of three women ‘TB warriors” in Tamil Nadu show us

May 11, 2021 | Kavitha Muralidharan

UP panchayats: for whom the polls toll
and • Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

UP panchayats: for whom the polls toll

Over 700 schoolteachers working as polling officials in the Uttar Pradesh panchayat elections have died of Covid-19 and more are in danger, with 8 lakh new cases reported in just 30 days around the polls

May 10, 2021 | Jigyasa Mishra

In Bihar: 'I got married during corona'

In Bihar's villages, during the lockdown last year, teenage girls were married off to young male migrant workers who returned home. Many are now pregnant and anxious about what comes next

May 7, 2021 | Kavitha Iyer

Bharat is burning, Dharmaraja!
, and • Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh

Bharat is burning, Dharmaraja!

Epic characters tumble out gasping for air, but are pushed into an inferno by godlike guardians

May 5, 2021 | Anshu Malviya
‘With strangers was the journey too…’
and • Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

‘With strangers was the journey too…’

The country is ablaze with a thousand bonfires of human lives. A poem about the pandemic

May 3, 2021 | Poem and Text: Gokul G. K. | Painting: Antara Raman

Five drops of crimson…farewell to the white

This is poetry that pierces, paintings that perforate – and a story of the pandemic

April 29, 2021 | Joshua Bodhinetra

‘I can’t do video editing in the village’

Haiyul Rahman Ansari came to Mumbai from rural Jharkhand 10 years ago to work as a video editor. But in the past year he's had to pack up and go home twice after losing jobs to the Covid-19 lockdowns

April 23, 2021 | Subuhi Jiwani

In Maldah: 'Nobody leaves out of choice'

With no industrial activity and low wages in agriculture, men from Bhagabanpur in Maldah district go to work in faraway places like Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, just to survive and send money home

April 19, 2021 | Parth M.N.

Waiting yet again in a last long line

A lifetime spent standing in queues – then one more at the very end. A poem on the Covid-19 crisis

April 19, 2021 | Pratishtha Pandya

Trying to get onto that train somehow
• Mumbai Suburban, Maharashtra

Trying to get onto that train somehow

Mohammed Shamim is returning to his UP village unable to handle wage loss twice in this pandemic year – like others in a second wave of migrants. Many in his north Mumbai slum colony have already left

April 17, 2021 | Kavitha Iyer

'How do I earn, what do I eat?'

In Marathwada, women living on their own, like Azubi Ladaph and Jehedabi Sayed, struggle to earn an income. Along with social exclusion, the pandemic and discrimination are making it harder for them

April 15, 2021 | Ira Deulgaonkar

In Nandurbar’s hilly hamlets: a vaccine too far

For Adivasis in remote hamlets of Maharashtra's Dhadgaon tract, Covid vaccination centres are inaccessible due to poor connectivity and costs, and even elders with severe illnesses are still waiting

April 5, 2021 | Jyoti Shinoli

‘For us there is always a lockdown – and work’

Stigma, poor pay, discrimination, arduous hours of live-saving work – nurses have been among those at highest risk during the pandemic. PARI interacts with some of these real frontline warriors in Chennai

March 4, 2021 | Kavitha Muralidharan

Peruvemba: struggling to retain its rhythm

With no sales in the Covid-19 lockdown, and difficulty in procuring rawhide for their bespoke percussion instruments, the Kadachi Kollan craftspeople in Kerala’s Peruvemba village are missing a steady income

January 19, 2021 | K.A. Shaji

‘I can only survive, I can’t live my life’

A 27-year-old migrant worker from Bihar in Mumbai speaks of how hard it was to make the journey home during the lockdown, and the inevitable grip of the city on his present and future

January 7, 2021 | Chaitra Yadavar

‘It was as if the entire country was walking’

Months after walking home 800 kilometres in terrible conditions, migrant labourers in Maharashtra’s Gondia district recall their journey on foot from Telangana during the April-June period of the lockdown

January 5, 2021 | Jaideep Hardikar

Online classes, offline class divisions
• Mumbai Suburban, Maharashtra

Online classes, offline class divisions

Students living in the Ambujwadi slum in north Mumbai are struggling with online classes for months, while also working to support their families after their parents' income was hit by the lockdown and its aftermath

December 24, 2020 | Jyoti Shinoli

Labouring to a Degree in the fields of Bidar

Dalits and Adivasis with hard-earned and loan-funded BTech, BEd, MBA, LLB and other degrees have lost their pre-lockdown jobs and are now doing MGNREGA work in northeastern Karnataka’s Bidar district

November 24, 2020 | Tamanna Naseer

School 2020: mapping futures in the lockdown

In parts of Odisha and Jharkhand, learning during the pandemic throws up surprising lessons for everyone

November 14, 2020 | PARI Education Team
'Everyone knows what happens here to girls'
• Central Mumbai, Maharashtra

'Everyone knows what happens here to girls'

Soni came home to find that her five-year-old child had been sexually abused, though she and other sex workers in Mumbai's Kamathipura have tried to keep their kids safe while coping with lockdown-hit incomes

November 8, 2020 | Aakanksha
In Kashmir, no migrants to reap rice harvest
• Ganderbal, Jammu and Kashmir

In Kashmir, no migrants to reap rice harvest

It's been a tough paddy harvest in Central Kashmir. Skilled migrant workers, who charge less than local labourers, were driven out by the lockdowns, and farmers here are thinking of giving up on the crop

October 29, 2020 | Muzamil Bhat

The down but not out dhakis of the Durga Puja

The traditional drummers of rural Bengal are having a hard time in Kolkata this season

October 26, 2020 | Ritayan Mukherjee

Maa Durga marching as migrant labourer
• Nadia and Kolkata, West Bengal

Maa Durga marching as migrant labourer

A Durga Puja pandal in Behala, Kolkata, has the goddess in a unique avatar

October 26, 2020 | Ritayan Mukherjee

Burying 1,100 bodies and loads of prejudice

With a lot of stigma and hostility disrupting several Covid-19 funerals, in Tamil Nadu a voluntary group has helped hundreds of families conduct the rites regardless of religion or caste

October 22, 2020 | Kavitha Muralidharan

One nation, no ration card
• Darbhanga, Bihar

One nation, no ration card

Rukhsana Khatoon, a domestic worker in Delhi, has tried for years to get a ration card in her husband's village in Bihar – and is now desperate for it with her family in a downward spiral due to the lockdown

October 20, 2020 | Sanskriti Talwar

Lockdown lays waste to Kalu Das's scrap work
• South 24 Parganas, West Bengal

Lockdown lays waste to Kalu Das's scrap work

Some weeks ago, Kalu Das – who travels from his village to Kolkata to collect items for recycling – resumed his rounds. But business is bleak, profits are tiny, his wife has lost her job, and the family is struggling

October 7, 2020 | Puja Bhattacharjee

Rocking the boat in Srinagar’s Dal Lake
• Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir

Rocking the boat in Srinagar’s Dal Lake

For the Dal Lake economy, the Covid-19 lockdown during tourist season came right after last year's Article 370 shutdown, and it has left shikarawalas, houseboat owners and shopkeepers with heavy losses and no work

October 3, 2020 | Adil Rashid

No stitch in time for Bengaluru tailors
• Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal

No stitch in time for Bengaluru tailors

With no income in the lockdown, Abdul Sattar and other embroiderers in Bengaluru were desperate to return to their West Bengal village. Now, with no work in the village, Sattar is desperate to come back to the city

September 30, 2020 | Smitha Tumuluru

Ashok Taare: denied leave, departs permanently

Despite Covid-19 symptoms, Ashok Taare, a sanitation worker in Mumbai, was forced to work without safety gear or leave. His family ran around for help, and months after his death on May 30, await compensation

September 29, 2020 | Jyoti Shinoli

'To repair a watch is like mending time itself'

Watch menders at Visakhapatnam's Jagdamba Junction have seen work vanish due to digital timepieces and use-and-discard parts. And now, after lockdown curbs, they are trying to make up for lost time

September 24, 2020 | Amrutha Kosuru

UP Covid-19 survivors test positive for stigma

In UP, Covid-19 survivors, including returning migrants, struggle with costly treatment, dirty quarantine centres, social stigma, even religious discrimination. Many long to go back to their host towns

September 1, 2020 | Jigyasa Mishra

‘We don’t have a home to stay at home’

For this group of nomadic pastoralist Dhangar families in Maharashtra, the lockdown brought a drop in sales of sheep, restricted access to village grounds, and depleted rations – but they have tried to move on

August 28, 2020 | Shraddha Agarwal

Vizag potters: idols of clay, immersion in debt

The artisans in this AP city usually earn the most during the festival season – starting with Ganesh Chaturthi today. But they have not received a single bulk order for Ganesh idols and other products so far this year

August 22, 2020 | Amrutha Kosuru

Mumbai's homeless: 'Our masks floated away'

Meena and her family, living on a pavement, are among the city’s many homeless persons, with bare incomes and little access to healthcare or state schemes – and now struggling with the monsoon and the pandemic

August 21, 2020 | Aakanksha

Lockdown hits Kolkata children’s hospital

Hamstrung by lockdown logistics, with just 40 per cent staff reporting due to the social stigma affecting healthcare workers, and despite financial problems, the Institute of Child Health soldiers on

August 18, 2020 | Ritayan Mukherjee

A melting pot of lockdown losses
• West Delhi, National Capital Territory of Delhi

A melting pot of lockdown losses

The Ganpati festival starting this week, then Durga Puja and Diwali, were peak seasons for potters in Delhi's Uttam Nagar. Now, they are looking at a period of poor sales, as are potters in Kachchh and West Bengal

August 17, 2020 | Srishti Verma

ASHAs: labouring through the lockdown

In Maharashtra’s Osmanabad district, ASHA workers have been working overtime to monitor the spread of Covid-19 despite poor safety gear and delayed payments – along with their usual load as frontline health workers

August 13, 2020 | Ira Deulgaonkar

In UP: ‘Half Karnataka and half Andhra’

Birendra Singh and Ramdekali, who ran a paani-puri stall in AP, returned home to UP during the lockdown. They are now in debt, anxious about their kids' education, and unsure about how to proceed

August 12, 2020 | Riya Behl

‘We didn’t bleed him enough’

A major problem in this Covid crisis is not about how soon we can return to normal. For hundreds of millions of poor Indians, the ‘normal’ was the problem. And the new normal is often the old normal on steroids

August 10, 2020 | P. Sainath

Coping with a deadly virus – a social one, too

The home-hospital-quarantine-home journeys of Covid-19 patients are not always the same for people from different communities. PARI traces the stories of of two families in Maharashtra's Marathwada region

August 8, 2020 | Parth M.N.

‘If we don’t work, who'll produce the harvest?'

With kharif cultivation of paddy underway, labourers are back in the fields of Dhamtari in Chhattisgarh. They know about Covid-19 precautions, but say they can't afford to not work

August 8, 2020 | Purusottam Thakur

Labourers’ lives: migrating feet, settled grief

So who is that migrant – the person the media discovered on March 25? An agonisingly perceptive look at that question through the prism of a childhood and lived experience in Mumbai

July 27, 2020 | Jyoti Shinoli
'What should my family do?'
• Palghar, Maharashtra

'What should my family do?'

In the Adivasi cluster of Boranda village, Vanita Bhoir and her family, who migrate to work in the brick kilns of Maharashtra, have run out of work options, food and money – and are running low on hope too

July 21, 2020 | Mamata Pared

In Palghar: ‘two less stomachs to feed’

The lockdown saw demand for labour shrink for the Katkaris, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group, in Maharashtra’s Palghar district. That may have pushed Mangal Wagh to kill her own daughter and herself

July 20, 2020 | Parth M.N.

Seeing ‘the world through touch’ in a pandemic

Vimal and Naresh Thackeray, both visually impaired, used to sell handkerchiefs on Mumbai’s local trains. The lockdown left them, and many others, with no income, little government support and great uncertainty

July 10, 2020 | Jyoti Shinoli

Sitting idol in locked-down Kumartuli

Business has come to a standstill in Kumartuli, Kolkata’s historic potters’ colony, with almost no demand for Maa Durga idols and other statues. Artisans, vendors and labourers are looking at a season of huge losses

July 09, 2020 | Ritayan Mukherjee

With rhyme and reason – rap song for migrants

In Kalahandi district, Duleshwar Tandi – ‘Rapper Dule Rocker’ – a tuition teacher, construction worker and occasional migrant, expresses anguish through this song at the plight of migrants in the lockdown

July 04, 2020 | Purusottam Thakur
Locked down AP farmers going bananas
• Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

Locked down AP farmers going bananas

Banana farmers in Anantapur district were expecting a good price after a robust rabi harvest this year. Instead, some bad weather and then the lockdown have left them with huge losses and debt

July 01, 2020 | G. Ram Mohan

Schoolkids: digital divide to digital partition

What does the rush to ‘online education’ look like on the ground in a poor Adivasi area like Talasari in Maharashtra’s Palghar district? PARI explores how that further spurs already serious inequalities

June 29, 2020 | Parth M.N.

Songs of love for the migrant away from home

Muktabai Ubhe of Khadakwadi hamlet in Mulshi taluka, Pune, sings nine ovi about a wife’s love and longing for her husband, who has gone away in search of work

June 26, 2020 | Namita Waikar and PARI GSP Team

Memories of pox, plague, and pandemics in TN

From Tamil writer Cho Dharman, an invaluable oral history of how villages over centuries engaged with viruses, plagues and epidemics – relating that to the current Covid-19 pandemic and life under lockdown

June 25, 2020 | Aparna Karthikeyan

Lockdown has hit UP women hard – literally

The lockdown has seen a rise in domestic violence in a country where it was anyway endemic. PARI listens to women at the receiving end in Mahoba, Lucknow and Chitrakoot districts of Uttar Pradesh

June 23, 2020 | Jigyasa Mishra
Lockdown forces Eeswar to climb trees again
• Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

Lockdown forces Eeswar to climb trees again

With only 10-15 days of sales this year due to the lockdown, and fewer customers buying ice apples, vendors in Visakhapatnam have lost out on a chunk of their income from selling the popular summer fruit

June 22, 2020 | Amrutha Kosuru

Karnataka silk route: cocoon farmers in crisis

At Asia’s largest cocoon market in Ramanagara, Karnataka, a lockdown-driven steep fall in prices and disruption of the demand-supply chain has badly hit weavers, reelers and, particularly, silkworm farmers

June 21, 2020 | Tamanna Naseer

Under the over in a time of cyclone and corona

Despite Cyclone Amphan, no income due to the lockdown and Covid fears, Sarita Sardar preferred to evade hostile cops and poor shelter facilities, and returned to her home under Kolkata’s Gariahat flyover

June 18, 2020 | Puja Bhattacharjee

Dealing with dissonance, restoring harmony

Several hereditary harmonium repairmen – now a very rare occupation – from Jabalpur, MP, were trapped in Renapur, Maharashtra, for over two months due to the lockdown. They tell PARI how they coped

June 15, 2020 | Ira Deulgaonkar

Feet of clay: Chhattisgarh's potters, locked down

In Dhamtari town, potters missed their peak summer sales season due the lockdown, when making and selling pots became difficult. Despite markets now opening in Chhattisgarh, they are facing an uncertain year.

June 15, 2020 | Purusottam Thakur

I am a labourer, not a liability

The mass exodus of millions of migrant labourers following the March 25 lockdown continues to fire the imagination of poets and painters. This poem rebukes our many hypocrisies in dealing with workers

June 15, 2020 | Anjum Ismail
Off guard: Nepal migrants in locked down AP
• West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh

Off guard: Nepal migrants in locked down AP

With no income during the lockdown, Suresh Bahadur, a security guard in AP's Bhimavaram town, struggled with depleting supplies, sickness and uncertainty about returning home – across the border, to Nepal

June 11, 2020 | Riya Behl

Another brick in Telangana's lockdown wall

Kuni Tamalia and other kiln workers in Telangana’s Sangareddy district continued their arduous work in the lockdown. But with kids to care for and Covid fears, they were anxious to board a Shramik Special for Odisha

June 11, 2020 | Varsha Bhargavi

The migrant and the moral economy of the elite

The lockdown has revealed the brutality of India's chronic disregard for the rights of migrant labourers – millions who don't need our passing concern, but full justice, says this article, first published in India Today

June 8, 2020 | P. Sainath

'Stay and do nothing or go back to do nothing?'

A day after migrant construction workers Amoda and Rajesh reached their new workplace in Bengaluru, the lockdown began – leaving them with no wages and nowhere to go. A PARI report by high school students
June 8, 2020 | Asba Zainab Shareef and Sidh Kavedia

Cash crops, Covid and the cost of unsold cotton

Huge quantities of cash crops lie unsold across India – like cotton in Maharashtra. A hunger crisis looms, yet farmers in Vidarbha a plan to sow cotton, not food crops, once again this kharif season

June 5, 2020 | Jaideep Hardikar

No fireworks, but alcohol adds fuel to the virus

Like many Arunthathiyar women in TN’s Virudhunagar, Devi Kankaraj works at a fireworks factory in Sivakasi. The lockdown left her with no income, depleting rations, piling debt and an alcoholic husband

June 04, 2020 | S. Senthalir
When the water chased people like a mad bull
• South 24 Parganas, West Bengal

When the water chased people like a mad bull

In the Sundarbans in West Bengal, Cyclone Amphan came atop the Covid-19 lockdown. PARI visited the region and found widespread destruction of trees, houses and utilities – and of people’s already-frayed livelihoods

June 03, 2020 | Ritayan Mukherjee
Iron in the migrants’ soul
• Aurangabad, Maharashtra

Iron in the migrants’ soul

The tragedy of the 16 migrant labourers run over by a train near Aurangabad, Maharashtra, on May 8, still haunts us. This moving poem and compelling painting remind us of that dreadful incident

May 31, 2020 | Gokul G. K.

Rising dust, itchy skin, sweat-soaked masks

How do you adhere to distancing norms if you are labourers at a procurement centre – like these men in Telangana’s Nalgonda district – who need close teamwork to handle 213 kilograms of paddy a minute?

May 30, 2020 | Harinath Rao Nagulavancha

'These women won't let anyone go hungry'
• Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

'These women won't let anyone go hungry'

In lockdown time, Kerala’s 400-plus ‘Kudumbashree Hotels’, give cheap but wholesome meals to people low on income – students, medical attendants, security guards, drivers of ambulances and many others

May 28, 2020 | Gokul G. K.

Homeward bound through the centre of India

Many of the millions who’ve hit the highways under the lockdown are going to thousands of villages in northern and eastern states. A huge number of them pass through the city of Nagpur, centre of India

May 27, 2020 | Sudarshan Sakharkar


Who will carry the palanquins of the rich now?

Several state governments have suspended labour laws and extended working hours, and the situation of migrant labourers has worsened. An interview with PARI's Founder Editor P. Sainath, from the Firstpost

May 27, 2020 | Parth M.N.

'We went from a handful to nothing’
• Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir

'We went from a handful to nothing’

Migrant workers in Jammu, like the Chandra family from Chhattisgarh, were left with no work when the lockdown began. They got by with rations given by nearby buildings, and are now slowly finding work again

MAY 26, 2020 | Rounak Bhat

Amphan meets lockdown in struggling Kolkata

The cyclonic storm that savaged West Bengal on May 20 left Kolkata struggling to clear up – because the labourers needed to do that had mostly left the city for their villages long ago due to the lockdown

MAY 25, 2020 | The PARI Team

Hit with cancer, Covid-19 and without shelter

Geeta and Satendar Singh came to Mumbai from Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district for Geeta’s cancer treatment. Living on the footpath near Tata Memorial Hospital, both have tested positive for Covid-19

May 25, 2020 | Aakanksha

The photographer writes – for better or verse

When the lockdown enhances the suffering of human beings you’ve grown up knowing and caring about for decades, says this photographer, it forces you to express yourself in poetry, beyond the lens

May 24, 2020 | Purusottam Thakur

Panvel to MP: Four days and nights on a scooter

Countless migrants have tried to reach home during the lockdown using any transport they could. One family journeyed 1,200 kilometres from Panvel in Maharashtra to Reva district in MP on a two-wheeler

May 23, 2020 | Parth M.N.

Lockdown leads to makeshift market in Tehatta

People in ‘hotspots’ have adapted to lockdown-driven closures of the bazaars they depend on. In West Bengal’s Nadia district, vendors have created a temporary market selling vegetables and other fresh produce

May 22, 2020 | Soumyabrata Roy

‘We don’t fear coronavirus or the heat now’

When their wages stopped and then food ran out, workers from Gaya, Bihar, employed in restaurants in Varanasi, made their slow way home – while others from the district remain stranded in faraway Tamil Nadu

May 22, 2020 | Rituparna Palit

'What's the use of this ration card?'

When even their paltry income stopped due to the Covid-19 lockdown, and their BPL ration cards were rejected at PDS outlets, April was the cruelest month for Gayabai Chavan and others in Pune

May 19, 2020 | Jitendra Maid

You can’t lockdown this mother of all smiles

In those huge lines of migrants walking determinedly along the Mumbai-Nashik highway in Maharashtra, the image of this extraordinary mother sparked the imagination of the artist

May 18, 2020 | Labani Jangi

The long march of the locked-down migrants

This haunting song by Aadesh Ravi, Hyderabad-based composer, lyric writer and singer, is surely one of the most powerful cries that’s emerged about the lockdown-driven migrations across India

May 16, 2020 | Aadesh Ravi

Ironed out of an income in Vada this lockdown

For families in Vada town of Palghar district who make a living by ironing clothes, the Covid-19 lockdown has reduced daily incomes to a trickle. Many are struggling to procure rations and seeking other work

May 15, 2020 | Shraddha Agarwal

Jamlo's last journey along a locked-down road

A 12-year-old Adivasi girl from Chhattisgarh, working in the chilli fields of Telangana, died on April 18 after walking for three days with other labourers desperately trying to return home. PARI visits her village

May 14, 2020 | Purusottam Thakur and Kamlesh Painkra

Locked down in Telangana — a basket case

The Covid-19 lockdown has halted the basket trade in Telangana’s Kangal village. For now, basket makers of the Yerukuka ST community are relying on some agricultural work, and rice from the PDS and relief packages

May 13, 2020 | Harinath Rao Nagulavancha

Locked-down schoolgirls: no basic needs, period

With schools shut, girls from poor families in Uttar Pradesh’s Chitrakoot district have lost access to free sanitary napkins and are turning to risky options. In UP alone, the numbers of such girls runs to millions

May 12, 2020 | Jigyasa Mishra

Old lady and nephew on lockdown highway

The scenes of migrant labourers walking hundreds of kilometres from their workplaces to reach their homes, continue to haunt us. One image, though, gave this artist a sense of hope and humanity

May 11, 2020 | Labani Jangi

Locked-down with blood on the tracks
• Aurangabad, Maharashtra

Locked-down with blood on the tracks

The 16 labourers – 8 of them Gond Adivasis – run over by a goods train on May 8 near Aurangabad district in Maharashtra were all in their 20s and 30s, and from Umaria and Shahdol districts of Madhya Pradesh

May 10, 2020 | Pratishtha Pandya

Seeking lockdown relief in Rachenahalli

Work has stopped for the migrant daily wage-earners of a slum colony in north Bengaluru, savings have run out, food is scarce – but they still have rent to pay, children to feed, and hunger that has to be quelled

May 9, 2020 | Sweta Daga

MP weavers hanging by a Chanderi thread
• Ashoknagar, Madhya Pradesh

MP weavers hanging by a Chanderi thread

The Covid-19 lockdown has brought the centuries-old Chanderi fabric trade in MP's Chanderi town to a standstill. Many weavers like Suresh Koli are in a fix due to no demand, unpaid dues and depleting resources

May 7, 2020 | Mohit M. Rao

The migrant march of red ants under lockdown

How long can one watch hungry migrant labourers stranded half-way from their villages when there is Chinese-Thai dinner waiting to be prepared at home? A poem that tears into indifference and inequality

May 6, 2020 | Pratishtha Pandya

MFI loans: fear and loathing in lockdown times

The poor have seen earnings plummet with Covid-19 and the lockdown. But no matter how high the distress, micro finance institutions in Marathwada continue to harass their helpless clients for loan instalments

May 4, 2020 | Parth M.N

In lockdown, this is no country for old men

A repairman, a weaver and a ropemaker – a Muslim, an Adivasi, and a Dalit, highly-skilled craftsmen – in Belagavi, Karnataka and Kolhapur, Maharashtra. All of them elderly and without work under the lockdown

May 4, 2020 | Sanket Jain

Locked-down on Labour Day: no work, no pay

A new documentary film in which the migrant labourers who make up most of the workforce on Bengaluru’s metro rail project explain their situation in Covid-19 lockdown time

May 1, 2020 | Yashashwini & Ekta

Dola Ram’s long and locked-down road home

Construction worker Dola Ram lost his son just after he reached his village in Rajasthan – with poor medical attention in lockdown time. Now, like other migrant labourers, he is grappling with debt and uncertainty

April 30, 2020 | Drishti Agarwal and Preema Dhurve

Kachchh camel herders: lockdown last straw?

What happens if you are nomadic pastoralists with huge herds of animals far away from home when the Covid-19 lockdown was enforced? The Fakirani Jats of Gujarat’s Kachchh district tell their story

April 28, 2020 | Ritayan Mukherjee

Locked into the kilns, brick by brick

Thousands of migrant workers from Odisha are stranded at Telangana's brick kilns – exploitative worksites made more difficult with the lockdown – and are running out of rations and desperate to return home

April 27, 2020 | Varsha Bhargavi

AP fishermen: between lockdown and deep sea
• Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

AP fishermen: between lockdown and deep sea

Fishermen in Visakhapatnam make their best profits in the two weeks before the annual April 15-June 14 ban on fishing during the breeding season. This year, that crucial period has come during the lockdown

April 26, 2020 | Amrutha Kosuru

Vanavil: rainbow in the storms of lockdown life

A small school in Nagapattinam has become the centre of nutrition for over 1,000 poor families in the Adivasi hamlets of that Tamil Nadu district. And its efforts are not restricted to just students

April 23, 2020 | Kavitha Muralidharan

Vidarbha’s pastoralists paying a pandemic price

The Nanda Gaolis and other dairy farmers in eastern Maharashtra are facing losses from the drop in demand for milk and broken supply chains, besides grappling with animal health problems and fodder shortages

April 22, 2020 | Jaideep Hardikar & Chetana Borkar

‘Even the boats must be missing their men’

The Covid-19 lockdown has battered the livelihoods of the Nishad boatmen of Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh. Many in the community, like Sushma Devi, a pregnant mother and widow, don’t even have ration cards

April 20, 2020 | Jigyasa Mishra

ASHAs: fighting a pandemic with no protection

ASHA workers in Haryana’s Sonipat district have been pushed to the frontlines of the fight against Covid-19 in a later-than-last-minute attempt to control a pandemic – with no safety gear and very little training

April 18, 2020 | Pallavi Prasad

Walking 104 kilometres without a break

Brick-kiln workers in Thane and Palghar, most of them Adivasi agricultural labourers, have been forced by the Covid-19 lockdown to return home with barely any income until the arrival of monsoon

April 17, 2020 | Jyoti Shinoli

Washing their hands of hope in Citizen Nagar

The Covid-19 lockdown has come as the proverbial last straw on the backs of the already suffering community of Ahmedabad’s Citizen Nagar colony, heightening hunger and sharpening existing health risks

April 16, 2020 | Pratishtha Pandya
Bags on their heads, fear in their hearts
• Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Bags on their heads, fear in their hearts

The Covid-19 lockdown-driven distress migrations have touched poets and artists alike. Here's a response

April 16, 2020 | Gokul G. K.

Wilting mahua, wasted baskets, silent haats

The Covid-19 lockdown has shredded the fragile economy of the Kamars, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group in Chhattisgarh, who depend on a trickle of income from weaving baskets and selling mahua flowers

April 15, 2020 | Purusottam Thakur

Lockdown burden on little shoulders in Latur

With their parents out of work or at reduced wages, school students from distressed families in Marathwada's Latur are having to sell vegetables on the streets despite the risky Covid-19 lockdown scenario

April 12, 2020 | Ira Deulgaonkar

'Now the melons are on the verge of rotting'

The Covid-19 lockdown has left watermelon farmers in Tamil Nadu’s Chengalpattu district in a fix. With few buyers and transporters, many are being forced to let their fruit rot or accept terribly low prices

April 11, 2020 | Sibi Arasu

'Some are eating only one meal a day now'

The Covid-19 lockdown has left many daily wage workers in Bengaluru without an income or fall-back options

April 10, 2020 | Sweta Daga

Watermelon farmers: left with no juice

Even before the Covid-19 crisis, watermelon cultivation in Telangana was risky, with high inputs and falling rates – and now, with the lockdown, farmers, labourers and traders are facing a bleak season

April 9, 2020 | Harinath Rao Nagulavancha

Barbers in lockdown: a hair’s breadth from ruin

In Latur district of Marathwada, the lockdown has severely hit barbers – they rely entirely on daily earnings, and for them the idea of physical distancing from their clients is unthinkable

April 8, 2020 | Ira Deulgaonkar

Hunger on the table, city under lockdown

The promise of free rations does not assure food on the table during the Covid-19 lockdown for domestic workers and municipal staff, many of them migrants, living in Pune's Kothrud neighbourhood

April 8 , 2020 | Jitendra Maid

Locking down craft: handmade, hung out to dry

Craftspeople all over the country have been hit hard by the Covid-19 lockdown. PARI speaks to weavers, dyers, toymakers and village artists from north, south, east, west and central India to gauge the fallout

April 7, 2020 | Priti David

The lady and the lamp – a poem for April 5

The nine-minute lights-off, lamps-on event of April 5 impacted different people in diverse ways. This was how one poet in Ahmedabad responded to it…

April 6, 2020 | Pratishtha Pandya

AP cops elevate Covid-19 messaging to art form

In Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, police rope in a mythological sorcerer in the battle against the coronavirus

April 6, 2020 | Rahul M.
Sundarbans: Mousani eats better in lockdown
• South 24 Parganas, West Bengal

Sundarbans: Mousani eats better in lockdown

A small, remote island in the Sundarbans, West Bengal, which has endured many disasters, is relying on its own resources to make it through the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown

April 5, 2020 | Abhijit Chakraborty

In Tamil Nadu: playing Parai on lockdown, live!

Parai artists Manimaran and Magizhini are tapping into social media to continue performing under lockdown, and spreading awareness about Covid-19 through talks and recorded videos

April 4, 2020 | Kavitha Muralidharan

Anantapur lockdown diary: March 19-April 3

Corona consciousness is growing very slowly in the city and district of Anantapur in the Rayalaseema region

April 3, 2020 | Rahul M.

Ladakhis stuck in Covid-19 test limbo in Iran

As many as 254 Indian pilgrims from Ladakh, most of them elderly, have been stranded for over a month in the city of Qom in Iran, sparking tension at home

April 2, 2020 | Stanzin Saldon

And miles to go before they sleep – or eat

The Covid-19 lockdown has left migrant Adivasi brick kiln workers in Maharashtra's Palghar district with little money and food – and an ultimatum from their village to return, where only uncertainty awaits them

April 1, 2020 | Mamata Pared

Pardhis in lockdown – begging the question

Some Phanse Pardhi Adivasis in rural Maharashtra, especially older ones in their late 70s, depend on begging to be able to eat at all. What happens now, when they cannot enter the villages that feed them?

April 1, 2020 | Jyoti Shinoli

Where country roads don’t take you home

With the COVID-19 driven lockdown, Chenakonda Balasami and other pastoralists in Telangana, on the road for months, are finding it difficult to access food and new grazing grounds – or return to their villages

March 31, 2020 | Harinath Rao Nagulavancha

Still cutting cane amidst corona and curfew

For the lakhs of labourers hired by the sugar factories of western Maharashtra, social distancing is a distant dream. Many in Sangli district are still chopping cane in unhygienic conditions despite the fear of Covid-19

March 30, 2020 | Parth M.N.

Locked down with cancer on Mumbai footpaths

With their money running out and little food and water available, cancer patients living on footpaths near the Tata Memorial Hospital are caught in the lockdown, with no way home

March 30, 2020 | Aakanksha

Corona refugees on a 538-kilometre journey

Some reporters in rural Chhattisgarh are trying hard to cover people migrating in distress

March 30, 2020 | Purusottam Thakur

In Chhattisgarh: barricades as social distancing

Across parts of the Bastar region, people are setting up barricades denying entry to ‘outsiders’ – and restricting the access of even migrants returning to their own villages

March 30, 2020 | Purusottam Thakur

Sanitation workers – the wages of ingratitude

Sanitation workers in Chennai are walking long distances to work during the lockdown, or journeying on garbage lorries. Taking leave for a day during this period invites penalties, even sacking

March 29, 2020 | M. Palani Kumar

‘Soaps won’t save us if we die of hunger first'

Most of the Adivasi families of Kavatepada in Palghar district survive on daily wage labour at construction sites. That work has stopped with the Covid-19 lockdown, and they are fast running out of money and rations

March 28, 2020 | Shraddha Agarwal

What we should do about Covid-19

The government’s ‘package’ responding to the crisis is a blend of callousness and cluelessness

March 27, 2020 | P. Sainath

Tuljapur's temple economy goes into viral mode

In Marathwada's Tuljapur, shopkeepers, vendors and others whose livelihoods depend on the famous temple in town, are struggling with no sales after the March 17 lockdown measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19

March 24, 2020 | Medha Kale

Essential services, expendable lives
• Mumbai Suburban, Maharashtra

Essential services, expendable lives

That’s the story of Mumbai’s safai karamcharis on the frontlines of the battle against Covid-19. Wages delayed, and with little protective gear, they’re still clearing garbage even in the toxic air of the Mahul area.

March 23, 2020 | Jyoti Shinoli