The ongoing lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has devastated India's poor and marginalised. Nearly two months after the lockdown was abruptly imposed in late March, thousands of migrants trapped without food, money or shelter in the cities that they had moved to for work are still on the roads, often walking hundreds of miles to their hometowns and villages. Many have died on the way, consumed by hunger, exhaustion or accidents.
The government has done little to help them so far, leading to an unfolding humanitarian disaster.
In this poem – the first in a series – the poet and lyricist Gulzar movingly expresses the plight of the migrant workers.