As the world’s harshest COVID-19 lockdown is announced in India, 1.3 billion people are commanded to stay home, on a mere warning of four hours. Trickling out of megacities are millions of migrant labourers, stranded without jobs and wages to live another day. They are walking the burning highways, back home to villages.
While many will be forced to walk to their deaths, Prime Minister Modi makes theatrical dinnertime appearances, calling upon the struggling migrants to “stay home and look within.” In Mumbai, some migrants build a sea-facing high-rise in exchange for rice and potatoes, all the while dreaming of striking against the lack of wages. On the streets, the scenes are a biblical forced exodus of 11 million.
Mid-pandemic, the government also does away with globally hard-won standards of labor as reflected in Indian labor laws—virtually selling off the workers as slaves to capitalists. Trade unionist Comrade Vivek Monteiro breathes in his Marx and Lenin, and sets out to organize a grand protest against the capitalist-communal government.
Is this the time for revolution?