Migration Narratives: The SHRAM Blog

The Story of Rajkumar Sonkar

A common feature of living and ensuring livelihood in Uttar Pradesh is occupying caste and caste determining occupations. I had also a curiosity if I ever find Pandits (Brahmin by birth on public road ferrying goods. So this morning I asked Rajkumar his name and he responded by his first name only. I was adamant and asked him his surname – response was sonkar. This is in my understanding a caste at the bottom – my understanding rests on oral communication, so may not be reliable also.
My core point centered around his household and efforts to live biological life. Rajkumar is a boy of 18 engaged as a hawker selling vegetables and fruits moving on his bicycle his bth his legs and capacity of his vocal cord to make people listen to his claim over exchangeable public resources. While buying fruits from him I came to know his father is also engaged as a hawker selling goods moving around on public road. Each one of them earns around Rs. 200/- per day and the day remains non-liquid if he is not on the road laboring as a hawker. He has a younger brother studying in class five perhaps waiting for drop out. His mother died few years back for illness or for non-access to public medical facilities. Poor households do not remain ill – they live or they die.
What Rajkumar visualizes is continuation in this self-employed work over time he is able to remain engaged – he has no idea if his earning per period will ever increase. At present their total household income feed them in terms of their need. My understanding is poverty cycle will continue for Rajkumar in spite of his hard labour.
This is a short story of labour – so, I abstain from projecting how Rajkumar could be elevated above poverty line or any such line invented by the economists-statisticians.

Bhaskar Majumdar

Bhaskar Majumdar

Bhaskar Majumder is at present Professor of Economics in G.B. Pant Social Science Institute. Previously he served as Professor and Head of the Centre for Development Studies, Central University of Bihar, Patna. He got his Graduation, Master's Degree, M. Phil., Ph.D., all in Economics, from the University of Calcutta. He is engaged in teaching and research for more the past 39 years in Calcutta, Allahabad and Patna in a number of Institute and Universities.
Professor Majumder has written and published so far nine books on social sector. He has authored so far sixty nine research papers in around twenty referred journals. In addition, he has contributed thirty chapters in books on social sciences, apart from several review articles for journals and magazines, plus publications in national and international Conference proceedings. He has so far completed 23 research projects sponsored and supported by World Bank, Ministry of Rural Development (GoI), Planning Commission, ICSSR (GoI), Industries including NTPC and Tata Chemicals. Many students got D.Phil. from the University of Allahabad under his supervision.
Bhaskar Majumdar

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