This Woman Walked 160 kms Immediately After Giving Birth To Reach Her Village. She’s Strong But The Plight Of Migrants Is Heart-Wrenching
They say that we don’t value the things we have in abundance. Sometimes, we tend to take a lot of things for granted and most of the times does more harm than good. Take a look at our situation right now. While the country is under absolute lockdown, everything that we could possibly need to get through these turbulent times, at least the basic, are all available to us. Yet, we are all ready with our next set of complaints about how this lockdown has curbed to our freedom. See, the thing is we are basking in the comfort of our homes because we aren’t the ones injured (figuratively) by this lockdown.
The people who are at the most risk during this pandemic are the migrant workers. They are at greater risk of getting infected and have barely any awareness of the gravity of the situation. Not to mention that they are unemployed, stranded and have no resources left to get back to their families in their villages. They are the collateral damage of this pandemic and so when I came across this story, I knew it had to be told since it reflects just how badly they have been hit.
A group of 16 people including Shakuntala, the heavily pregnant wife of a migrant labourer, her husband and their two-year-old daughter decided to walk 1,000 km from Nashik in Maharashtra to their village in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh. Shakuntala walked for around 70kms and then delivered the baby on the roadside of the Agra-Mumbai national highway with the help of four female companions. She rested for one hour and then continued to walk. Shocked already? It gets worse.
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Shakuntala, wife of a migrant labourer, set on a journey on foot from Nashik to Satna in the 9th month of pregnancy.
On the way, she gave birth to her baby on the roadside and continued the journey after resting for an hour.
— Indian Muslimahs (@IndianMuslimahs) May 11, 2020
Shakuntala was noticed by a team of police officers when they reached Bijasan town located on the MP side of the Maharashtra-MP border. On seeing this the police team were “moved beyond words” and they checked on her to see if she needed any help. They were stunned when heard about the arduous journey that Shakuntala had covered.
As it turns out, she had walked about 160kms after giving birth cradling her newborn child in her arms. Her husband Rakesh Koul told a publication that they had all lost their jobs as industries in Nashik shut down due to this lockdown. The only option they had left was to return to their village since they had no money or food left. A Sikh family in Dhule, gave them clothes and other essentials for the newly born child.
The police officials at Bijasan provided their group with food, water and footwear for the children who were walking barefoot. There have been arrangements made to send this family to their house in Uchhahra village by bus.
Though there is a happy ending to this story it doesn’t change the fact that it is a testament to the struggle that these migrant workers are facing due to this lockdown. Despite all the government has claimed they have done for them, migrant labourers are still being forced to walk hundreds of kilometres to reach their villages. They are at more risk of starvation than they are at getting infected with the coronavirus. Though, the fact of the matter remains that the lockdown is a mandate and not a choice.
The least we can do here is help out as much as we can so no woman has to endure what Shakuntala and her family did.