Stany Babu


The COVID-19 pandemic in India laid visible the stark disparity and unequal distribution of resources in the Indian society. With the imposition of one of the harshest lockdowns in the world , the migrant workers in the country (both interstate and intrastate) have taken the cruel brunt of this pandemic. These internal migrant workers were left in the urban economic centres (cities) with no proper housing, jobs (most of them being employed in informal sectors) and any form of income generation. This led to a mass exodus of migrant workers from urban centres to their rural homes in the hope that they may not go hungry and will have a roof over their heads. The global crisis brought to the forefront that the pandemic is being experienced differently by different economic strands of the Indian society. By severing the public transportation (buses and trains), to mitigate the risk of spread of the virus across districts and states , the migrant workers were denied the only means of affordable movement. This paper will chronicle the many obstacles and hardships that were faced by the migrants when public transportation was denied, on their long journey 'home', without any certainty of reaching their villages alive.


How to Cite
Babu, S. (2020) “Not all Lockdowns are Created Equal: Indian Migrant Crisis in Times of COVID-19”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(3), pp. 105–114. doi: 10.32891/jps.v5i3.1370.
Author Biography

Stany Babu, University of Bahrain

Ms Stany Babu holds a MA in Architectural Design (MAAD) from the University of Sheffield , UK in 2017 and a Bachelor in Architecture from SRM Institute of Technology, India in 2015. Her ongoing researches include Socialist architectural heritage of former Yugoslavia in collaboration with Mrs Layla Karajica, Democracy of public spaces in India – Women in protest spaces: The case of Shaheen Bagh and memory, identity and politics of architecture during conflicts. She is also a collaborator for Co:Lab, a design and research collaborative based in Chennai, India. She is part of the team heading a community led public space design project based in Damistan Beach in the Kingdom of Bahrain under the non profit organisation Mawane. She is currently teaching in the University of Bahrain and is a consultant designer with ongoing projects in Kerala, India.


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