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Warding off the virus with Corona Drishti in Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Floor drawings, especially those made by variously connecting a grid of dots using white rice flour powder or paste, are often seen at the entrance of people's homes in Tamil Nadu. Known as the kolam, these designs are typically executed by women as part of early morning household chores and renewed daily as a recurring motif of everyday life. This kolam depicts the coronavirus as the evil eye that will protect, but equally harm, if not heeded.

Taking the migrants home: Part 2

Shramik Special trains were started to take home lakhs of stranded migrant labourers and their families to their hometown. Many of them have run of out of money and food because of the restrictions imposed to combat the Covid 19. The relief mesaures have been ill planned. Those coming from Surat in Gujarat have alleged that they were charged Rs 800 against a ticket with a printed cost of Rs 630. The labourers said they had no choice but to pay the money if they wanted to return. 

Waiting for food

With no forewarning of nation-wide locked as announced on 25 March 2020 amid the Covid 19 pandemic and no relief measures in place, millions of people, especially daily wage and migrant labourers, in India were caught unawares. Extention of the lockdown even while there were talks of relaxation further added to the woes of the people.

Here one can see people hanging their utensils on railings, while they wait to collect food distributed by volunteers, at Mayur Vihar in Delhi.

Migrants' walk 2

Thousands of stranded migrant labourers and their families have been making desperate attempts to reach their villages amind the lockdown in India imposed by the Centre and state governments to combat Covid 19. The police in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, found at least 18 workers hiding inside a cement mixer bound from Maharashtra to Lucknow on 2 May 2020.

 

Migrants' walk 1

When on 25 March 2020, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, announced immediate lockdown in the country to stem the spread of Covid 19, without a forewarning, it left millions of migrant workers unemployed and no way of sustaining themselves. While thousands undertook walking on foot, many rushed to the inter-state bus terminals before they too were shut down.

 

Staying in

“I barricaded myself and stared out the window, without seeing anything but my own unhappiness.”
                                                                                 ― Thomas Bernhard, The Loser

Staying in the circle

I am at an ATM cash machine at 9 pm waiting in my circle for my turn. Ayanagar, New Delhi. It was the first time i found myself physically disatanced in public place. A big change from the evening before where I was jostled as usual in a grocery shop by customers at 8pm. "I thought that you were not yet buying, only looking," said the only one who bothered to answer.

 

 

Taungthaman Bo Bo gyi: Strangers be aware

This oral narrative was collected by the students exploring the word concept - belief

“There are many beliefs that are linked with Taunghtaman lake and Taunghtaman Bo Bo gyi, our guardian spirit. I was told by my grandparents and we also believe that strangers who visit U Pein bridge should not shower in Taunghtaman lake because the bather will take the place of the one who died before him/her.

According to another belief, if someone misuses the word ‘kyar/tiger’ (an animal which killed the guardian spirit) and then visits the lake... that person dies.

Taungthaman Bo Bo gyi: the guardian spirit

This oral narrative was collected by the students exploring the word concept - belief

In U Pein Bridge, our group interviewed a second-year law student from Yadanabon University which is located near U Pein Bridge. She shared a story which she had learnt from her grandparents:

“We believe that Taungthaman Bo Bo gyi is the guardian spirit of the village. Now there is a pole erected in the middle of the Bridge to mark his death. It is known as Thet-pyauk-taing .

Learning to be an anthropologist 2

When we went to the field to collect oral histories or stories or experiences of U Pein Bridge, we did not know how to explain our tasks or talk about them. Our group then applied what we had observed the foreign anthropologist do -  smile and make eye contact. We adopted this when we spoke to a fried-fish seller who we first thought may know about something of the U Pein Bridge. First, we bought a pack of fried fish with 2000 Kyat before asking her about U Pein bridge. So, we used our money to get data and we were very happy.

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