The helpless workers finally fell into a deep sleep on the railway tracks. A freight car went over them. They were killed in their sleep. "Leaders" of this country wondered why they were lying on the railway line in the first place! A picture has gone viral on social media showing that the workers who were crushed under the wagons were lying on the line with rotis for their food. The great rulers of our country never once thought in what situation a person can end up lying on a railway line in a secluded place! They never once thought of the unimaginable exhaustion that could lead the workers to lie motionless on the tracks oblivious to the thundering approach of the wagons. It reminds one of the famous lines of revolutionary poet Sukanta Bhattacharya's poem, "Can you say why the rich man will ride a motor and why the poor will be crushed under that very motor"?
In the case of India today, one thing has come to the fore very nakedly, that this country is not a country for the workers, this country is not for the peasants, workers, toiling masses. This country belongs to Adani- Ambani and other billionaires. If they deign to scatter some offerings for the poor people, then everyone claps in glee and joins in the delightful dance of appreciation. In the meanwhile, since Tata has deposited Rs 1,500 crore in Narendra Modi's PM Care fund, the 'civil society' all over India has joined in praising him to the skies. Many are saying that a person who can donate Rs 1,500 crore in this grim situation, would surely have done any harm to the farmers of Singur? As if Tata did not raise Rs 1,500 crore by sucking the blood of the workers. It is mind-boggling to guess the amount of assets of a person who can donate Rs 1,500 crore with ease. The question is, how can he accumulate so much property in a country like ours where most people have a monthly income of less than Rs 10,000? The contribution of the workers, the peasants who produce everything, to the economy of the country, to the people of the country, cannot be taken for granted. It will be a tragedy of paramount proportions if they are crushed under wagons. But no action has been taken against those who pushed them into such conditions. Rather, the Supreme Court wondered what it could do if people choose to walk for thousands of miles, if they sleep on railway tracks! This is our country.
In such a country do we live. This "valley of death" is indeed our country. Even in wartime, the country depends on the workers and peasants to keep it going. They have to work when production is needed, even at the risk of their lives. Today, it is the workers and peasants who are working to provide us with essentials even in this corona situation, risking their lives to keep us alive. Healthcare providers are working at the risk of their lives. Maybe most doctors are people from the upper echelons of society, but in the end they are also workers, because they have to protect the health of the people with their skill. But the country is running in the interest of not workers and peasants but a handful of super-rich who control both the economy as well as the politics. Even the deadly spread of coronavirus in our country can be attributed to that handful of people. Because we know that if proper screening had been done at the international airports from the beginning, if the international airports had been sealed at the beginning, then perhaps India would not be facing such a situation today.
Such a sudden lockdown would not have happened, where millions of migrant workers were left homeless, without clothes, without food and helpless. Millions of workers who are not getting paid despite the government's promise to ensure their wages during the lockdown period are starving. Service workers, health workers are fighting the risk of life with the risk of death without safety geaars. On the other hand, a group is making a mountain of profit. This is our country.
This man-eating system to create a mountain of profit for few cannot be crushed until the millions of people of the country have risen against it. So we need to get organized. Let us unite to build a healthy society, a beautiful society, a system of production for the needs of the people, not for profit, and a healthy system of distribution, by changing the system that exists today. n