Legislative Theatre

Legislative Theatre


The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the developing migrant labour crisis of our country. The practice of migration happens such that the worker loses all their rights and entitlements as they migrate. They live in inhuman conditions, for only a slight increase in daily wages. There is rampant exploitation at the hands of the thekedars, contractors and employers with no benefits or security, sometimes not even guaranteed wages. These are usually unorganized sector workers, on whom no labour laws are applicable leaving no room for a redressal. The existing laws have many loopholes through which accountability is avoided, they are ineffective, and not well implemented.

Jana Sanskriti, in conversation with those who had returned to their villages during the covid-19 lockdown, found about multi-fold challenges faced by migrant labourers in our operational areas of South 24 Parganas and Purulia. Our interactions with them led to the recognition of the need to listen to and document the stories of their lives. We conducted surveys to understand the conditions of their migration, wages, employer-employee relations, causes for migration, living and work conditions etc.

Through Forum Theatre workshops these fact-based stories were developed into two plays, “Porijayi Kene” and “Ga Hatche Shohore”, and performed across the two districts. The idea of this project is to continue the process of Forum Theatre so as to be able to capture and document the exploitation and oppressions faced by the migrant labourers. These will then be developed into plays, and performed by the satellite groups, which will highlight lacunas I existing laws.

Once the Forum has concluded, the audience present will be asked to put down their recommendations in terms of legal amendments to curb exploitation and end oppression. Lawyers, subject matter experts, and local government representatives present among the audience, will discuss the amendments suggested and add their contributions. In the last stage of advocacy, these amendments drafted into bills by lawyers would be pushed for implantation at the local, state and national level. This will include laisoning with MPs and MLAs, government labor Committees, labor rights organizations etc. towards setting up a safe and accountable national network.

In this way, the Legislative Theatre Project, aims to connect the electorate with the elected, carry and amplify marginalized voices to the avenues of power, ensure people’s participation in legislation beneficial to them, and thus strengthen representative democracy.

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Kolkata - 700128
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Email : janasanskriti@gmail.com

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