Dara Prasad, 54, Andhra Pradesh (India)

Dear fellow humans.

My name is Dara Prasad, born in what used to be one state (it is now two states), Andhra Pradesh, India. My age is 54. I have no family. I am working in a restaurant. From 24th of March onwards, all restaurants and most other places were shut but our restaurant could still offer take aways and delivery service so I was very lucky that I did not lose my job as it happened to millions of people in India and also elsewhere.

Just before the lockdown, I had an accident. To get my wounds treated, I needed to go to the hospital but it was difficult to get there and to come back because all traffic was stopped, so there was no public transport and no autorikshaws. Although it was strictly forbidden to leave the house I did take the chance to go without authorisation. Luckily the police did not stop me.

During the time of the lockdown, I had, originally, planned to go to south India to continue searching for my family. I had run away 39 years ago, at the age of 15, because of the poverty we were living in and because of all the pressures that came along. Also, my father was very abusive. From then on I don’t know what happened to my family. I don’t know where they are today and even whether they are still alive. My family was from a Dalit community so we lived on the outskirts of the village. As migrant labourers my parents used to work at various places. Last year, after years of searching, I eventually found the hamlet where I grew up but no one seems to know where my family had moved on to. So all the time, be it lockdown or not, my mind and heart would be busy with that.

It is very difficult to put in words what I experience with regard to the pandemic people all over this planet are going through (which differs very much, depending on the surrounding one lives in). It feels more like survival than life. And it is sad to see why, during the lockdown, people are responding so differently to the lockdown and to the social distancing orders. Where people have a certain level of financial security both measures may work but for so many others – those millions and millions who lost their jobs, their income, often also their accommodation, and who are either being stranded on the streets of the places they had worked in before or are trying to make their way back home on foot, sometimes hundreds of kilometres away – it means to make a choice between fighting for their daily survival and protecting themselves from the virus. Others, living in crowded conditions, don’t even have that choice. Within a few hours, they have been left without any means for survival and are stuck in surroundings in which distancing is no option.  

What I wish is that we, as responsible humans, should not think about countries, continents or races. We all should take individual responsibility to protect the person next to us and we should respect all people on this earth and also care about future generations.

Bericht erhalten durch Tamara Enhuber, Fachpromotorin für Global Verantwortliches Wirtschaften, MehrWert! e.V.

Video eines Aktivisten gegen Schuldknechtschaft und Kinderarbeit in Indien

Umesh B. Nooralakuppe, Social Activist, Karnataka/Indien

My name is Umesh. I am a social activist. I work for the abolition of the bonded and child labour system. Also, I work with agricultural labourers, daily wage labourers and workers in the unorganised sector.

During the lockdown of the covid-19 crisis, in my area many labourers are suffering [because of] food problems and [because of not being able to satisfy their] daily needs. When Corona affected my area, it meant no work, no wages, no benefits [that is, social security]. And also, everybody has been afraid of the corona virus:[1] agricultural workers, daily wage labourers, street sellers, autotaxi drivers, plumbers, painters, and also construction workers – [all] mainly Dalit and tribal people. Everyone is suffering [because of the lack] of food and [of any means to cover one’s] daily needs and hospital expenses [that is also medical expenses].[2] Our government is giving 40 kg rice, 1 kg dhal.[3] What about other things, like oil, sugar, tea powder, onions, masala powder, vegetables and other cooking items? If people want to purchase [these things], they don’t have money. How to manage life? [These are] very very bad conditions. But, by the time, some of the NGOs and political leaders are giving some donations for food packages. It is very good but not sufficient. But even today also many village labourers, [that is] agricultural and daily wage labourers, are suffering for food [from hunger] and [so many other difficult life] conditions.

I demand from our government, it should take full charge of [maintaining/restoring the full life security of] our agricultural workers, daily wage labourers and Dalit and tribal people (…). It means food package for one year, monthly honoraria,[4] free children’s education etcetera etcetera and also [free] hospital [treatment, this is, medical service].[5]

Thank you.

[1] Besides being afraid in health and economic terms, particularly poor people also fear other effects of getting diagnosed with Covid-19 such as being put in quarantine in public badly equipped hospitals and also getting ostracised afterwards in their workplaces as well as socially. Therefore many people shy away from getting a check-up done in the first place.

[2] This is particularly hard for people with chronic ailments, e. g., malaria, diabetes, heart problems, kidney failures (dialysis patients).

[3] This was a one-time provision by the government.

[4] Honoraria, in this case, means some income support / social assistance for ongoing bills to be paid such as for rent, water and electricity, and so on until people will have regained some source of income.

[5] Another demand, which Umesh B. Nooralakuppe added in a phone conversation, aims at a special package for people who were infected by Covid-19 and may, due to social ostracisation, not be able to return to their workplace. This entails economic assistance, free access to medical services (“regaining physical strength”) and mental/moral support for those who have been affected. This has, however, also to be linked to educational and awareness programs for the general public.

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Transkription/Textedition sowie Ergänzungen und nachträgliche Erläuterungen (Klammern und Fußnoten) in Absprache mit Umesh Nooralakuppe

Bericht erhalten durch Tamara Enhuber, Fachpromotorin für Global Verantwortliches Wirtschaften, MehrWert! e.V.

Unmeel, Schüler (12 Jahre, 7. Klasse) in Mysore, Indien

Übersetzung des Videotextes:

„Mein Name ist Unmeel. Ich lebe in Heggaddadevana Kote (Indien). Ich bin in der 7. Klasse an der Mahabodhi Schule in Mysore. Mein Vater heißt Umesh. Mit seiner Arbeit setzt er sich für eine Beendigung von Schuldknechtschaft und Kinderarbeit ein. Meine Mutter heißt Sumithra. Sie ist Hausfrau. Ich habe noch einen kleinen Bruder, sein Name ist Sunoj. Er ist bis vor kurzem in die Kinderkrippe gegangen.

Es ist gut, dass ich [durch den Corona-Lockdown] nun seit 55 Tagen (wieder) mit meiner Familie leben kann. Seit einem Jahr gehe ich nämlich in einem Internat zur Schule. In dieser Zeit habe ich meine Eltern sehr vermisst. Allerdings haben wir momentan – während des Lockdown – nicht genügend zu essen. Mein Vater verdient kein Geld in dieser Zeit. Nun habe ich verstanden, welchen Wert Essen hat.

In H. D. Kote haben alle Angst vor Covid-19. Viele Familien wurden auseinandergerissen. Doch vor allem: Dalits, Indigene, Latrinenreiniger*innen, Straßenkehrer, Tagelöhner*innen und andere Arbeiter*innen im informellen Sektor hungern und haben kein Geld für das Notwendigste. Gleichzeitig gibt es momentan keine Umweltverschmutzung und viele Leben wurden gerettet, da es keine Autounfälle gibt [Erläuterung: Der Autoverkehr wurde fast vollkommen eingeschränkt.]. Das finde ich gut. Viele Frauen sind froh, da aktuell auch der Alkoholverkauf verboten ist. 

Ich kann in dieser Zeit viel lernen. Ich habe mir einen Stundenplan gemacht, wann ich spiele, lese, tanze, bete, meditiere, fernsehe* usw. Und mein Vater hat mir einen Roman gegeben. Wenn mir langweilig wird, lese ich darin. Ich bin sehr stolz und glücklich, dass ich mit meiner Familie sein kann.

Ich wünsche den Menschen, die an Covid-19 oder dem Corona Virus erkrankt sind, dass sie geheilt werden. Und die Beziehungen zwischen den Ländern sollten wachsen. Ebenso sollte es zwischen den Menschen mehr Liebe, Freundlichkeit, Teilen und Füreinandersorgen geben. Zuletzt wünsche ich mir, dass das Kastendenken, Aberglaube, Ungerechtigkeit und Ungleichheit verschwinden und dass Menschlichkeit das ist, was bleibt.

Danke an jede*n und alle.“

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(Freie Übersetzung, in Absprache mit Unmeel; *einige Aktivitäten wurden nachträglich schriftlich durch Unmeel ergänzt ;-))

Ein Foto von Unmeel’s Vater gemacht: Es zeigt Unmeel’s Bruder Sunoj (mit seinem Vater Umesh), 4 Jahre, beim Hausunterricht.

Der Stundenplan von Unmeel

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