Meiyang Chang on the migrant crisis: It’s sad we don’t respect our labourers enough
The last few weeks have been quite challenging for the actor-singer, who, along with his friends, has been stepping out near Malad, Mumbai, to help migrant workers with food and water.Updated: Jun 03, 2020 15:44 IST
The last few weeks have been quite challenging for actor-singer Meiyang Chang, who, along with his friends, has been stepping out near Malad, Mumbai, to help migrant workers with food and water. And he has been doing this using his savings.
“The more we did for them, the less it was. I was heartbroken and helpless. It was like the Partition scene and looking at small kids walking miles with their parents to reach their home hit me so hard. Nobody deserves to go through this,” he tells us.
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दो साल पहले, #Kolkata में दुर्गा-पूजा में मैंने ये हुलिया बना रखा था ताकि लोग मुझे पहचान न सके और मैं बेरोकटोक, सबकी तरह, उत्सव का आनंद उठा सकूँ। कौन जानता था कि 2 साल बाद इसकी ज़रूरत फिर पड़ेगी; इस बार एक महामारी #Coronavirus से लड़ने के लिए? . अपना ख़्याल रखें, घर से बाहर न निकले। अगर बहुत ज़रूरी काम से निकलना पड़े, तो कपड़े का खरीदा हुआ या घर पर बनाया हुआ मास्क, रुमाल, गमछा ज़रूर लगाएँ। N95 और surgical masks डॉक्टरों और health professionals के लिए रहने दें। उन्हें उनकी ज़्यादा ज़रूरत है। We shall overcome #Covid19 🤗🇮🇳🤗
Narrating his encounter with one of the labourers, Sugrim, who he also posted about on Instagram, Chang, 37, says, “He looked drunk but was very ill and wasn’t able to stand. We thought he might be suffering from Covid-19. We then found out he was from Bihar and his parents were no more and his sister lives in Mumbai. We called for the ambulance, and the next day we went to the hospital to see him, we were told that nobody by that name has been admitted. It was as if he had given up on his life and left the hospital.”
Chang further shares that they found him three days later and got to know that the hospital refused to admit him “due to some formalities” and he was admitted at the same hospital. “It shouldn’t be so hard to access basic health services in this country,” he wrote on social media.
That’s when the reality struck Chang hard and made him realise that these migrant workers don’t get what they deserve. “We don’t respect labourers enough in the country because of the disparity in class, between the rich and poor, and socio-economic gap. The mindset, that they are below us, has crippled our society and needs to change,” he says, adding, “Many of them are an integral part of our film industry, and we’ve shared happy moments together. It pinches doubly hard that they’ve to leave this way.”
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When you see what is happening all over the country, you can't help but feel for the less fortunate. Count your blessings, see life through a new prism and help as much as you can. After all, 'कल की किसको ख़बर? एक रात होके निडर, ज़रा जीने दो।' 🌙 . #YehNayanDareDare in the absolutely dulcet voice of #HemantKumar , a sweet lullabyish composition by him, magical words by #KaifiAzmi from the movie #Kohra , addressing the graceful #WaheedaRehman ji ❤️ . Hope that this rendition helps you in whatever mood you are. If you're happy, may it amplify it. If you're feeling low, may it be the shoulder you can lean on 🤗 Let me know what you'd like me to sing next week 🎤🤗🎵 Stay safe my dear #WestBengal & #Orissa #CycloneAmphan #Kolkata
Not blaming the Government, the actor feels there could have been better plans and strategy to send migrants to their villages in phases, and better condition.
“Now, the risk of spreading the virus is much higher. We need a big movement to control this and provide relief to them and also create enough job opportunities for them in all states, so they don’t have to struggle for a living. There are still lakhs of migrants who want to return home because they can’t afford rent and food,” he rues.