Nearly 400 migrant workers have fled from Kozhikode amid fears over fake audio clips that surfaced on WhatsApp. These clips said that migrant workers from northern and eastern parts of the country were facing death threats in Kerala.
It all happened, when pictures of a West Bengal youth who allegedly committed suicide, appeared in the social media. The youth was apparently working in a hotel in Kozhikode.
Rumours were spread through WhatsApp audio clips and messages. One such fake audio clip said that the hotel owner in Sweet Meat Street in Kozhikode, beat up this Bengali worker and later snuffed him out by hanging.
The idea of the campaign was to scare and trigger panic among the workers. The rumours were spread mainly among the migrant workers from Assam, Bengal and Orissa.
What interests me is why do people go to such extent to spread rumors…
Mallus love their migrant workers and cannot do without them and I believe the feeling is mutual.
What I meant to say is that Kerala’s labour economy is a paradox.
Though it has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country, Kerala is home to 25 lakh or 2.5 Million domestic migrants, most of whom hail from West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Jharkhand, UP and Bihar.
In other words, migrants constitute 7 % of Kerala’s total population.
No, why do these people prefer the Mallu Land?
Simple… it provides a higher standard of living compared to other places in the Indian Union.
I am not being partisan here…it’s just a fact…ask any of those guys…ask about the salaries they get….
On top of this, we have to cope up with such crap…
Keralites who have migrated abroad in search of greener pastures, play an important role in the state economy, and likewise the migrants makeup for the decrease in the workforce.
So, it’s more of a symbiotic relationship…so that the void is filled.
Every mallu knows the high level of priority these guys and girls get in their workplaces…
Although, their accents (forgive me, I am not being racist here), or their mannerisms, may bring a smile to many mallus, it is evident that without them many restaurants, service stations, workshops, hair salons, supermarkets, industrial factories, construction sites, would literally be paralyzed.
They may not know the language, but the guys are smart and hard-working and the girls …. very pretty (you can see the extra smile they get from the shtylish mallu!)
They have even become part of the local soaps and sit-coms.
Wouldn’t be surprised, with the mallu’s flair for creativity, they would soon be featuring in movies!
Anyway, jokes apart, they are an important lifeline to the states workforce.
Just check the below figures and see the amount of money, the migrants have transferred to their states.
While the migrants remitted ₹ 17,000 crores back home in the fiscal 2014, Kerala’s economy is also dependent on the remittances from 24 lakh Malayalees who work abroad. In the fiscal 2014, non-resident Keralites sent back home ₹72, 000 crores, according to the Kerala Migration Study 2014 of the Thiruvananthapuram-based Centre for Development Studies.
Given such a scenario, I cannot in the remotest sense understand, why in the world would any Mallu want to pick on a Bengali Babu…
Besides, Kerala is the first State in the country to enact a detailed social security scheme (if you get the time, do check out the facilities provided to the migrant worker in case of accident/ death etc!)… Yes sir, you will be quite surprised.
In short, migrant Workers in Kerala definitely are not differentiated based on their caste, creed or skin color. (pardon me, am not being racist here!)
Of course, we definitely would like to make fun of them from time to time…
Bery Cheap Bhegetables Sir!
These Bengali Babus will drive me…In Sen!
No Sir, Keralaya sbagatama…!
I hope my Bong friends will understand!
I am sure the migrants would also be making fun of mallus, as I can see most of them laughing between themselves and passing comments at us, which none of us mallus understand…
Satire may rule in Kerala… but the social protection that Kerala provides its migrants is definitely a small revolution in a highly neo-liberal country, that is further marked by its oppressive caste system.
What more is there to say…