Bundelkhand and the lockdown: Stories of struggle and heartbreak. A photo essay
People living in Bundelkhand have been dealing with many issues like water scarcity, no job opportunities and migration for years. But, It will take them a while to recover from the lockdown
| Updated: May 30th, 2020
Bundelkhand is divided between the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Amid this nationwide lockdown, Gaon Connection reporters Arvind Shukla and Yash Sachdev travelled to Bundelkhand for about a week and visited many villages.
The region has been dealing with many issues like water scarcity, frequent droughts, no job opportunities, and rampant migration for years. However, with this lockdown, new challenges have emerged. People have been migrating from Bundelkhand in search of jobs. There were many ghost villages in the region. While many are still stuck in different cities, many have managed to come back home. “What next?” is something that, presumably, they must have been thinking about on their way back home.
Lalitpur, on the Uttar Pradesh-Madhya Pradesh border, was buzzing with activities. Thousands of migrant labourers who had to go to their hometowns in Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh had arrived here — in trains, in trucks, on foot. A cow shelter has been converted into a shelter home for these migrant labourers. Many buses were plying from here. Social distancing was the last thing on the minds of these labourers. They just wanted to get back home … somehow, anyhow. There were exhausted faces, staring blankly into nothingness. There were women and children who were battling hunger, thirst, and heat. “What next?”
In every village, people were discussing jobs, or the lack of them, no ration, no water, no cash. It remains to be seen how people living here will deal with the aftermath of the lockdown. They said they have bigger problems to deal with and wearing masks was the last thing on their minds. Or washing hands. Well, they can’t wash their hands, not frequently at least … there is water scarcity.