Lockdown: ‘Big-city school’ dreams shattered for migrants’ children
GURUGRAM [Maha Media]: Fear of starvation amid the coronavirus-forced lockdown ended Shyam Babu’s dream of “big-city school” for his child as the family packed their bags to return to their remote Chewara village in Bihar. For the last two months, he has been struggling to make ends meet.
As Babu reminisces about the last eight years, since he moved to Gurgaon in the search of work, and ultimately got his son admitted to a school here, his 8-year-old son Neeraj is reluctant to leave and pleads his father that he will stay back and go to school when it reopens.
He fears that there may not be any coming back to Gurgaon and he will have to study in a village school from now.
“I have been in Gurgaon for eight years now. I have worked as a labourer at different construction sites. I always wanted my son to study in a big-city school since those in villages are not that good. “Neeraj got admission in a government school here. His fees and meals were taken care of and we were happy that he will get a good education and will not have to work as a labourer when he grows up,” Shyam Babu told a news agency.
With no work and wages pending, Babu’s family had to vacate their rented room and were waiting for a chance to catch a train back home. “Neeraj wanted to stay back so that he can resume school when it reopens. But how can we leave him here alone?” he said.
Unhappy about visiting his village suddenly with all their belongings, Neeraj said, “I like the school here. I wish I am able to come back and the situation turns normal soon. If they will let my father build houses, I will get to come here too.” Tirath Kumar, a rickshaw puller, says that in his village in Bihar’s Sheikhpura district big-city school is a sought after thing. “A rickshaw puller can work anywhere, but we chose to do it in a big city so that our kids get to study there. It is a very sought after thing there if your kids study in ‘bade sheher ka school’. We have the same government schools there also but teaching is good in city schools.
The country has been under lockdown since March 25 to contain the spread of the virus. The curbs have now been extended till May 31. It has thrown economic activities out of gear, rendered many homeless and penniless, beginning an exodus of migrants to their home states. While trains and buses are being arranged for them, lakhs of them continue to wait for their chance as they struggle to make ends meet.