*Ground Reality of Nationwide Lockdown*
As India is fighting with the pandemic COVID-19, there is another huge problem that lies underneath. As the country is in lockdown for over two month now, the availability of bare necessities in the small towns and villages could be a big struggle. India being a diverse country, many people migrate from different place to earn their livelihood. These people belong to a large population who earn a day’s income to provide them with their family with food and shelter. With the spread of the virus and the lockdown, they are stuck in various parts of India.
There is a small town in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Balaghat, which is facing the problem of not having basic necessities. This town is located at the border of state Maharashtra which is highly affected by the pandemic with over 30,000 COVID positive cases. As a result of lockdown, the people who used to make daily earnings are now forced to beg for food.
On 14th May, 2020, a lady from that town was roaming in our residential areas begging for food. She was going door to door and then knocked on my door in DeendayalPuram Colony. I opened the door and was heart broken. The lady was holding a 3 year old baby in her arms and was standing in the porch. I welcomed the lady in the veranda and asked her to wait. I went inside the house to get some money and ration for her. I spared some change with her and asked her to relax for sometime. Out of curiosity and empathy, I asked the lady the reason for her condition. The lady then explained me the situation in the town which has forced her to beg for food. She is from Rajasthan and as her daily work, she makes small mops of bamboo everyday for living. After the lockdown, her small scale business shut down, resulting in the crisis of money. She also told me about her community which live in the suburbs of the town. After hearing this, I was intrigued.
In the evening, I along with my friends (Rohan and ishwar), visited the place to witness the situation ourselves. I was shocked with the ground reality amid lockdown. There is no food and people are living in the worst condition. I tried to contact Social Workers to provide support to these people but as these people are migrants, they don’t have a Ration card. The government is providing basic food to people though ration shops at cheaper rates. This is only for those who has valid ration card. I asked the local politicians to help them but couldn’t find any support from them either. I am not earning right now and being a student, I couldn’t afford to provide for all these people.
With no support for authorities, I started a donation drive over social media. With help of some contacts from Whatsapp and Twitter, I managed to get some donations. My friends and I then started making food packets that could last for a week. Looking at this gesture of ours, the local shopkeepers also contributed to the campaign by giving the commodities at a lesser rate. With help from all the people, we made 150+ food packets and distributed to the community.
I believe this story is worth sharing because it can inspire students to give back to the society. In times of crises, the entire community has to be together and not just the government officials. Students can come forward and help the district administration through personal small scale efforts, as it is rightly said, “A small pebble could make the largest wave in the pond.”