03 December, 2020

OPINION | The Plight Of The 'Nowhere People' -- Of Pain, Labour and Humiliation

Imprisoned by barbed wire, lacking basic amenities and rights, people trapped within the enclaves along the India-Bangladesh border lead wretched lives, writes filmmaker Aparna Sen

No Land’s Men
For inhabitants of Karala 2 chhit, lives behind the barbed wire are bleak, with little hope in sight
Photograph by Mudar Patheria
OPINION | The Plight Of The 'Nowhere People' -- Of Pain, Labour and Humiliation

She is in labour. Her contractions are coming faster, getting more intense! But she still has to walk the 500 yards from her home to the large black gate with barbed wire all around, and guards outside.  And when she reaches the gate and informs the guards, it will be a one to two hour wait before permission is granted for the gate to be opened, the big black gate to the outside world...and then, if she's lucky, a car to take her to the nearest hospital 15 kilometres away. Can she make it? She must make it! She must!

I am watching Sacred Games sitting in my favourite armchair. My back just hurts a little from sitting so long, which all my doctors have forbidden me to do, but I just have to finish this engrossing episode!

She has barely reached the barbed wire fencing, when her baby decides to arrive with little regard for time, space or convenience. The women accompanying her crowd around, trying to shield the intimate process of birthing from the eyes of the male inmates of their prison. The baby slips out onto the earth amidst the dirt and the muck....



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