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Modi's campaign, Congress reaction "political gimmick", won't improve chowkidaars' lives

By Sheshu Babu*
"Dekh raha hai kya kya sapna raat ko sone waala /Ho sone waala/  Yeh na jaane aankh khule to kya hai hone waala/ Haa hone waala 
-- 'Yeh duniya nahi jagir kisi ki...' by Rajender Kishan in 'Chowkidaar' (1974).
(What dreams the person sleeping might have been dreaming/ O! That sleeping person/ It is unknown what would happen when eyes are open/ Yes! What would happen)
While one person is using 'chowkidaar' as a political tool to increase his popularity, other one is branding 'chowkidaar' as thief. But no one seems to be interested in knowing the plight of watchmen (chowkidaar) and their hard- work. When the world sleeps these brave watchmen wake up not only to life and freedom but also save and protect many lives and property.
The daily life of watchmen is riddled with frustration and lack of security. According to a recent report, "For many watchmen, who are among the millions in India's vast informal economy where workers are often poorly paid and barely protected by labour laws, Modi's campaign is a political gimmick that is unlikely to improve their lives. A 37 -year old watchman from Utter Pradesh does not know why they started the campaign. He said that they have done nothing since the past four years.”
The media mostly debated on the campaign and Congress counter. An analysis of the subject indicates most channels deviated from the actual sufferings of watchmen. Only some programs like prime time with Ravish Kumar on NDTV India exposed the problems of watchmen and exploitation by employers and many instances of watchmen being paid very low wages.

Need for improving lives

Most 'chowkidars' come from poor families and migrate from villages. Many of them are from neighbouring countries like Nepal. The economic as well as social condition of these watchmen is precarious and vulnerable with lack of healthy living. They are often forced to perform duty for twenty four hours. 
Their difficulties can be estimated from various interviews conducted by media and journals in the country. In a recent article, watchmen interviewed expressed the futility of such campaign and how they are forced to work in order to support their parents and family. Many are skeptical about any change in their lives.
Mere political gimmicks have do not have great impact on the welfare of watchmen. The need of the hour is providing them with safety and security, decent wages, concern for their health, protection to their families and providing education facilities to their children. Proactive measures for their empowerment are essential but praising their courage without doing any substantial assistance may not serve any purpose. 
All the political parties should be made to hear their grievances and work for solution but the mainstream parties are using them as a ' political capital'. Real lives of chowkidaars are very tough and loaded with risks which the leaders have failed to address so far with sincere commitment.
---
*The writer is from anywhere and everywhere

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