Letters on November 6 issue

Letters on November 6 issue
A seminal discourse on social justice in neoliberal times

The discourse on migrant workers in India, narrated by Tarangini S and Nitya V (Bearing Witness to the Covid-19 Lockdown: Migrant Workers in Proof Regimes, October 16, 2020), is really a seminal one. It testifies how the delivery of social justice in our neoliberal times is mediated by the documentary mechanisms of the state, in the context of delivery of public goods, both by the state agencies and non-government organisations. Moreover, policing of migrant workers through the coercive power of the state gets organically connected with the protective measures of the state, meant for them.

Truth-telling by the migrant workers in Covid-19 times does not find recognition in the corridors of power unless it is filtered through the regime of official documentation/proof. In fact, the migrant workers are caught in the Foucauldian regime of power, and their communities are dissolved into segregated individual identities in the neoliberal notion of justice.

At the end of their discourse, the authors emphasised workers’ own ways of truth-telling and noted that the workers have "created their own 'archival pact with the future'.” In a communitarian society like ours, memory, both individual and collective, plays a big role in negotiating with the past, particularly for the people belonging to the subaltern social groups/classes. Memory goes beyond the world of writing/documentation in shaping imagination of the future.

Arup Kumar Sen, Kolkata
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