Dialectics of Modernisation In India: What Is True Progress?: As modernity ushers in Urbanisation, industrialisation as well as scientific and technological vigour which brings us to the function and notion of progression in this era. Rapid, cataclysmic urban growth/industrialisation gets rationalised by ever expanding bureaucratic powers, for civic living order and Development. Automated mechanisms of Construction, become hybrid voracious mechanics of constructs of man and machine, where ‘Labor’ and accelerations of Construction become sites to ‘deconstruct’.
As we deconstruct the ‘Labor’ term, we would like to observe its relation with ‘Migration’: Accelerations of development brings us to the influx of Labor as they migrate to the cities to construct worlds we imagine. Who are these labourers, the migrants who leave their homeland to construct homes, offices, and cities as we know? Let’s take a closer look at this force behind the industrial and agricultural industries, as they work in small scale industries, raise the economy for the Nation, as well provide food to the Nation.
A migrant, is a person enumerated in census at a different place than his / her place of birth, whereas Migration takes place in search of a living; or, due to unpleasant conditionings such as floods, mass violence, or a natural calamity. 93% of the working population is working for unorganised sectors in India. The organised or formal sectors refers to registered organisations, whereas ‘Unorganised sector’, also known as ‘own account enterprises’, refers to all unlicensed, self-employed or unregistered economic activity. According to the World Economic Forum citing Economic Survey of India 2017, the total number of internal migrants in the country (inter- and intra-state movement) is a staggering 139 million. The major destination states are Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. UP and Bihar are the biggest source states, followed by MP, Punjab, Rajasthan, and West Bengal. Agriculture, dairy, horticulture and related occupations alone employ 52% of labour in India. About 30 million workers are migrant workers, mostly in agriculture, whereas local stable employment is inaccessible to them.
The worst affected by the lockdown, the migrant labourers across India, are observed as small-scale workers, construction workers, agricultural landless farmers, who are mostly the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes, were caught at the vortex of the migrant-labour unfolding.
Some of the Artists have shown Spontaneous Solidarities through their works during the unfolding of the migrant crisis; some being a part of the journey with the migrants. Whereas, most of the artists representing here have been working closely with their immediate environment as inheritances of the land as genealogical tracings; as they subject issues related with the Daily Wage Labourer/ Child Labour/ Identity Representation/ Territorial encroachments, Marginalisation of the Farming Community, and Physicality of Toil. Concerns of the Landless Labourers-Farmers as they adapt to the pressures of the shifting times, depleting resources they inherited if any; as debts compel them to migrate abandoning Agriculture, as they entrap themselves within the Urban maze. The works allude questionings of the notions of Progress and Development as introspections of violation of Fundamental Rights as pointers towards Social Welfare Module. Migration and Displacement as Existential realities, become evocations for belonging, a Home, a Homeland; where Land and its relation with its People, becomes an inheritance of loss of memories and culture.
The Impact of lockdown on the migrant labourers: The Unfolding of Inequalities: Migrant labourers (from the urban-rural industries/construction/agriculture) were the worst affected social group, caught unaware when the lockdown was announced. With no safety net they moved towards Reverse Migration homewards, mostly by foot as public transports were abruptly stalled. Even on their arduous journeys many were being sent back from the state borders, or faced an unwelcome entry in their own villages, in fear they might be the carriers of the virus.
Caught off-guard, with no time to plan for such an emergency, raised alarming levels of Vulnerability, Disorientation, Alienation and Hunger besides the impending Health Crisis. Raising concerns of the Small-Scale Industries/ Social Distancing norms in clustered living spaces, a challenge for the civic authorities. The World Bank estimated 40 million internal migrants being impacted in India due to COVID- 19 national lockdown imposed from 24th March. An estimated 41 lakh had gone home by road across India.
Land, its People, within its Environment: As we observe ‘Forms of Labor’ and its relation with Migration, we observe the relation of Landless Labourers/ Tribals, and their plight for survival within Urban spaces. Industrialisation and urbanisation, as territorial encroachments have displaced not just the ecology but also the human condition as the farmers of the land work in the underbellies of the coal mines or as construction workers and so on. One may observe the accelerations of Power and Industrialisation for a better standard of life and opportunity, in a predominantly agricultural nation (which had an agrarian economy). We observe, Land and its relation with its people, as well Land as a mine of resources, as we question notions of progress. Which brings us to the relation of Land and its people within the framework of ‘Nation’, as we locate ‘LABOR’ within the ‘NATION’, as WE.
A m o l K. P a t i l
R a n j e e t S i n g h
P r a b h a k a r P a c h p u t e
B i r e n d e r Y a d a v
R a n d e e p M a d d o k e
L A B O R A N D M I G R A T I O N
V. G. V e n u g o p a l
S u d i p t a D a s
S u n i l A w a c h a r
O b a y y a
F A R M E R I S S U E S
U m e s h S i n g h
K u l d i p K a r e g a o n k a r
S a n j e e v S o n p i m p a r e
T H E I M P A C T O F LO C K D O W N
A p a r n a O l w e
T. N a r a y a n
Cartography Of A Nation: Man, is integrally connected to the Land, his Environment, the ‘NATION’ he is born into. A homeland.
India, is a pluralistic, multilingual and multi ethnic society. If Language is the carrier of culture; the Land is not just a cartography of its geographic condition; its forests, rivers are not just fluid narrations of the everyday, but also reservoirs. Reservoirs of Power. A topographic view of the territorial transcendence, as we deconstruct the notions of Power and Progress: We subject the concerns of the social as political, within the ecological.
Observing our relation with the land, one may question the authority of reservation of resources. Which is not the sole authority of mankind, but of all living beings. This shared resource, a source of energy, interfaces with the notion of progress, as we exercise the full potential of mankind, as we use the fossil fuel to produce energy which enables us to stretch night into day, enabling mass transfer of energy. Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics suggests that deriving energy from fossil fuels has been able to provide an explosion of human knowledge to the world. But an over withdrawal of these resources, subjecting overuse of coal, gas and oil out of this earth are the causes of global heating and climate change.
As industrialisation and urban planning leads to an exploitation of water and land, edging the dwellers of the land into spaces within the cities as labourers, uprooting their syncretic living systems. Notions of Progress and Power underlines violence, as an erasure of cultural and ecological habitat. Building into an infrastructure of displacement, environmental degradation and inequalities.
Statistics: The 2011 Census of India, India has a total of 121 major languages and 270 mother tongues, with scheduled 22 languages. With 28 states and 8 union territories, with a total of 36 entities, within which flows the Seven major rivers- Indus, Brahmaputra, Narmada, Tapi, Godavari, Krishna and Mahanadi, along with their numerous tributaries which make up the river system of India. The Scheduled Castes /Scheduled Tribes constitutes to 16.6% and 8.6%.respectively.
Artists representing the Labor and its connect with We- the people of the ‘NATION’- They subject Land and its connect with its People and Environment/ Privatisation of Land, River and Natural resources, and interrelationship of the Farmer issues/ Black truths of the underbellies of repositories of Power/ Ecology – Urbanisation conflict/ Tribal Art as living traditions- Art and Life as the Social/ Tribes of India as syncretic India; and Intersections of syncretic Forms of Culture. Pedagogy- ‘Education’, as an apparatus for learning- unlearning the taught; Education, as a Path towards Emancipation, for the oppressed communities. As well, Labor and its connect with Agriculture/Economy/Architecture, as they subject the construction sites of the spaces we live in, as well as monuments as constructs of Cultural Identity but also forms of cultures that shape a Nation.
Artists collectively allude to voices of Dissent, as they respond/represent the dual framework of Labor-Nation, its interrelations; as well as the ‘Unfolding Inequalities’. What leads to Forms of extreme Isolations, discrimination, displacement? What could be the directions towards Emancipation? Methods to learn-unlearn the ‘taught’, for a true progress of a society. The promise of equality enshrined in the Constitution of India, ensures ‘Education’, a means towards progress, a path towards upliftment of underprivileged communities. Articles 15 and 16 of the Indian Constitution, allows the Indian government to set quotas to ensure any "socially and educationally backward classes of citizens".
‘Some of the Artists’ works register the unfolding of the Existential crisis of the migrant labour crisis, as a National crisis, as a shifting form of ‘Inequality’, unfolding a critical overview, a trajectory of an ‘Inheritance of Forms of Inequalities’. We invoke the directive principles through the understandings of Constitutional morality, a reminder of the Dignity of Labour, as the voice of the Nation. We the People.
We locate, identify and centralise Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s contributions towards the labour movement and labour laws which he incorporated for a protective measure of a developing country and its people, especially the vulnerable. Dr. Ambedkar symbolises the ‘Constitution’ and the notions of ‘Equality’ itself which becomes the fundamental reason to invoke him in the current times. A social reformer, an economist, researcher, lawyer, editor, politician and a visionary leader, especially of the oppressed classes. The foundation of the Nation built on the foundation of the Constitution and its directive principles, as he laid the principle concerns entrenched within ‘People’ and its connection with the ‘Nation’, as he ensured ‘Equality’ through the modes of ‘Directive Principles and Social welfare’.
The project observes the flouting of labour laws in Covid-19 times, as the politics of economics is twisting humanitarian concerns, an exodus of inequality. Within a new formation of the Nation, Dr. Ambedkar’s integral contribution was not just about the Constitution and the Fundamental rights, but he worked towards a specific concern for the working classes- ‘the labor rights’. He brought in 8- hour working from the 14 hour. On 8th Nov, 1943 Dr. Ambedkar brought the Indian Trade Union(Ammendment) Bill for compulsory recognition of trade unions.
The Artists representing the ‘Unfolding Inequalities’ within the ‘Nation’ framework subject - the Constitution for Hope/ WE the People/ Social welfare system and Fundamental rights/ Acts of Solidarities, as spontaneous documentations of the times/ Labor Laws/ Equality- Inequality/ Notions of ‘EQUALITY’ and 'Humanism'. The Unfolding of the ‘Forms of Inequalities’ uncovers- ‘BODY as the Social and the Political’- Reclaiming Blackness; Transgender community and Social identity through research based representation/ Forms of Hegemonic Domination /Forms of Caste- community atrocities as Existential conditions of Stigma , Social Alienation and Displacement/ its relation with extreme forms of Sanitation workers, where Death, Stigma and Social Isolation are underlying aspects of lived realities. The world has seen an unprecedented number of fatalities due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Which imposed isolations for the fear of the touch that the contagion can bring in, that directs our focus to how we regard ‘Death’, which brings us to the current times of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
K u m a r i R a n j e e t a
Y o g e s h B a r v e
M o h s i n M a t w a l
B a l a j i P o n n a
M a y u r i C h a r i
M r u d u l a K u n a t h a r a j u
S a n j i b M a n d a l
V i k r a n t B h i s e
R u p a I i P a t i l
S u c h e t a G h a d g e
A n i l T h a m b a i
S y e d A l i S a r w a t J a f r i
V e n k a t S h y a m
A m r i t a D a s
S u d h a r a k O l w e
E D U C A T I O N
A S E M A N C I P A T I O N
P o o n a m J a i n
R a m b a l i P r a j a p a t i
N a n d k u m a r J o g d a n d
T e j s w i n i S o n a w a n e
U N F O L D I N G I N E Q U A L I T I E S
‘B o d y’ a s s o c i a l a n d p o I t i c a l
S i d d h i J a d h a v
R a j u P a t e l
M a i t h i l i B a v k a r
F o r m s o f I n e q u a l i t i e s
V. V. V i n u
K h a n d a k a r O h i d a
P r a m o d b a b u R a m t e k e
G o p a l G a n g a w a n e
P i s u r w o
R a j u B a v i s k a r
N a r e s h S u n a
P i n a k B a n i k
S a v i S a v a r k a r
P r a k a s h B h i s e
K r i s h n a R e d d y
A r u n V i j a i M a t h a v a n
P a l a n i K u m a r
Territorial-Power: The ‘Pandemic’ brings in a historic moment of bringing the world to a grinding halt, as we reflect on ‘Human Impact’ on its environment. These crossover of territories, intrusions of Power between man over nature, brings us to our current times, where the contagion circumnavigates the ecological landscape. Where a microscopic virus transcends its territorial animal host to a human. Has the human condition mutated its ecological environment in pursuit of excess? A power, which is self-destructive, and disrespects ecology. A power which has come to a grinding halt, a standstill. A recalibration of nature, as nature affirms its power to strive for what is good for life as a whole. Earth, as one living organism strives to preserve itself, and not any specific species.
Today as we confront fear of our own existence, as we witness Power as a self destructive mechanism. One may contemplate the many notions of power. Power, which is bureaucratic or institutional; Power, which excels excellence towards terms of Progress; Power, which is a resource, a reserve. What is true progress? An ignorance, an inability to think rationally, brings us to an uncertainty, a state of denial, desire, and doubt about our geopolitical situation, in context with our survival reflex, as we look for imagined stabilities. Can we neutralise our fear of our own power. Human activity is determined by human law, our erroneous actions are conflicting nature, though we are a part of it. If only we could consider a new terrestrial social contract.
Urbanisation–Ecology: Urbanisation and its conflict with Ecology as territorial invasions, become questionings of the notions of Progress and Power, ushering an age of ‘Surveillance’ and biometric system. The artists reflect on Human Impact on Earth/ Consumerism and Culture of Excess / Territorial invasions as loss of Habitat/ Urbanisation and Forms of ‘Power’/ CONTAMINATION and Toxicity/Community Engagement/ Marine Biodiversity/ Ocean as a reservoir, as an ECOLOGICAL concern.
One should introspect the Toxic Human Behaviour to revisit ideas of ‘Coexistence’.
‘Broken foot’, a societal defunct can be marked as a ‘Social Blind Eye’, a societal blindness, a deliberate deathly silence and deafness towards defunct systems and societal blackholes.
Can we take a collective Responsibility?
Can we ‘Refresh’ societal as well as ecological systems? As nature has pressed the refresh key to refresh the system, we as human beings also need to refresh our understandings and ideas of People, Labor, Class, Caste, Race and EQUALITY.
U R B A N I S A T I O N - E C O L O G Y
M a n g e s h K a p s e
P r a s a d N i k u m b h
R o h a n P a w a r
R i a z S a m a d h a n
N a v i n C h a h a n d e
B h e e s h m a S h a r m a
S U R V E L L I E N C E
A n u p a m R o y
S u j i t h S. N.
E C O L O G Y
P a r a g T a n d e l
P r a j a k t a P a l a v A h e r
S O C I A L B L I N D E Y E
P r a b h a k a r K a m b l e