Moving Away

Some time ago we watched a news broadcast on television about a cargo ship carrying nearly 1000 Syrian migrants from Turkey. The ship had been abandoned by the people-smugglers near the Italian coast. All those people in the ship had fled from the destruction of their nation and homes in search of safety and a better life. What must have been the state of their minds ?This migration of people has been going on for ages.

It is said the people of my community migrated from the northern parts of our country sometime in the 3rd or 4th century and settled on the western coasts of South India. They had been invited by a king of one of the ruling dynasties. In those long ago days going back would have been very difficult.

A few years ago I read Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh. The story is set during the British rule and it tells us about people who were forced to go to other countries as plantation workers. This reminds me of all those people, who through the ages had been made slaves and carried off from their places of birth. That was forced migration.

In our country, farmers depend heavily on the rains and many a time, lack of rain or excessive rain destroys all that they have and they are forced to migrate. Usually they go to big cities in search of work and hope for a better life. But whether their dreams are realized is big question. The other day, my mother and her neighbour were standing near their gate. A young couple and their three children approached them. They did not look as if they belonged to our place. My mother spoke to them. They had come from another part of our state on the assurance of getting work here, but this was in vain. They had not eaten much that day, my mother and her neighbor gave them something to eat and a little money. They went their way. What happened to them, did they find work or were they forced to go back? Conditions in their place must have been bad for them to have come so far away. In spite of their poverty why was it necessary for them to have three children? A life of so much uncertainty and unanswered questions. Many people from the northern part of our country are working in and around our place as construction labourers . We often see them in labour markets where their services are bought for the day. They are ‘transported’ in trucks to their places of work. Their existence is mere survival from day to day. It is a difficult life to imagine. But life goes on. I have seen some of these workers going back home, talking and laughing. Necessities of life are different for different people. They must have learnt to take life as it comes.

The other day I re-read Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. Those books were as interesting as they had been when I first read them 🙂 It is shown that in those days of the far future, human beings have migrated to different parts of the Galaxy. And Earth is nowhere mentioned !!



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