Rights of Working People

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Nolen Gur, the sweet syrupy taste of a Bengali winter Date molasses are liquid gold for cultivators with demand skyrocketing this time of the year

Many gourmands and gourmets across the country and abroad, know that Nolen Gur, which literally translates as ‘new jaggery’ also known as date molasses in its syrup form, is a winter special. For those who collect and process the molasses it is nothing less than liquid gold, as the demand rises when the annual calendar…

Carving flowers on wood, and praying for a better future Lockdown has robbed Birbhum’s furniture industry of its sheen, the artists are slowly turning into migrant labourers

The highly skilled carpenters of Paikar and Murarrai areas of Birbhum were once much sought out for the durable, and beautiful wood furniture they made. Now, along with thousands of daily-wage labourers, they find themselves in a precarious situation. They still make beautiful wooden furniture, but there are no buyers. Most of the adults of…

Silence of the Bauls Traditional folk musicians of Birbhum facing financial crisis even after end of lockdown

Bauls or traditional folk singers from West Bengal’s Birbhum region have had an especially harrowing time during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly during the Lockdown period. And now, even though the Lockdown has been lifted gradually, they are still struggling to put their lives back on track. Who are the Bauls? Sung by wandering minstrels Baul…

Prayers for stability during the festive season With Durga Puja around the corner, small traders pray that business picks up

It has been well documented that job opportunities have shrunk due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown and its aftermath. However expenses have continued to swell, especially for medical treatment. And now as Durga Pujo, the biggest festival of Bengalis approaches, the money crunch is being felt the most. Many middle income and low income families have…

Lockdown impact: “Those who once greeted me with ‘salaam’, don’t even talk to me any more” Part-9 of our on-going series based on CJP's Purvanchal fact-finding mission examining the decline of the traditional weaving industry

During our fact-finding mission in Purvanchal, we came across several instances of unemployed families forced to the brink of starvation. In December 2020, we met Mohammed Shoeb, an elderly gentleman from Revri Talab in Madanpura, who had not eaten a single morsel of food that day. “Food wasn’t cooked in our kitchen today,” says 65-yesr-old…

India’s ASHA workers: Overworked, underpaid and exploited? Baseline health activists still struggle with delayed payments and no incentives

As part of the government’s National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), a new group of baseline health workers called Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA workers) was formed in 2005 to address health related demands of the rural population, especially women and children, who find it arduous to access basic health services. The government guidelines laid down several…

Lockdown impact: Religion-based discrimination rampant in Varanasi? Part-8 of our on-going series based on CJP's Purvanchal fact-finding mission examining the decline of the traditional weaving industry

CJP’s fact finding mission analysing the plight of workers from the weaving industry and allied activities, in face of the Covid induced lockdown, has also come across several allegations of religion-based discrimination, even amidst a deadly pandemic. On November 29, 2020, our team came across Imtiaz*, an Aari worker who was forced to run a coffee stand…

Lockdown impact: Unemployed fathers, abused mothers and daughters deprived of education Part-7 of our on-going series based on CJP's Purvanchal fact-finding mission examining the decline of the traditional weaving industry

As part of CJP’s fact-finding mission in Uttar Pradesh’s Purvanchal region, we held a meeting with some young girls from weaver families in Saraiya in December 2020. They told us that after failing to find work the men in their homes would often vent their frustration by getting physically violent with the women. Some of the…

Lockdown impact: Lungi weavers left in the lurch Part-6 of our on-going series based on CJP's Purvanchal fact-finding mission examining the decline of the traditional weaving industry

CJP’s fact-finding team studying the impact of the Lockdown on weavers in Uttar Pradesh’s Purvanchal region, found itself in Shahpur, Azamgarh in November 2020. Here, we came across Ahmed Ansari, who weaves and sells lungis or traditional waist cloth. He told us how the increasing cost of raw materials and electricity charges as well as…

Human Trafficking Bill and the government’s Saviour Complex It denies agency to the women who it wants to save

At the outset the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care And Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021 comes off as a law aiming to introduce stringent measures to tackle the inhuman crime of forcing individuals into the murky business of flesh trade. Naturally, if such an inhuman crime exists there has ought to be a law to tackle it…

A dairy diary from Uttarakhand For the first time, Van Gujjars, traditional dairy farmers, feel they need govt assistance

The Van Gujjar community has been dairy farmers for millennia. Rearing cattle, and trading in milk and milk products, is the way of life they have inherited from their ancestors. They move with the seasons, their animals graze off the lands along the migration routes, and produce milk that is then consumed and traded. However,…

Migrant Worker Wives

Wives of Migrant Workers: A story of struggle amidst uncertainty CJP Grassroots fellows documents the plight of these women

As the women, who stay behind in their villages to sustain migration by supporting their men, face acute distress amidst a prolonged lockdown, CJP fellows Ripon Sheikh and Tinku Sheikh speak to them and bring out their stories. Support CJP’s grassroots fellows to enable people from the marginalized communities document stories that are often ignored…

Lockdown impact: A Zardozi artisan vows to never teach his children his craft Part-5 of our on-going series based on CJP's Purvanchal fact-finding mission examining the decline of the traditional weaving industry

In November 2020, while conducting our fact-finding mission in the Koila Bazar locality of Chuhatta in Varanasi, we came across Murtaza Hussain, a Zardozi artisan. The lockdown has hit him hard. His future is uncertain, but he doesn’t want his children to suffer the same fate. “I will never teach them this work,” he says,…

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