Bengali! A collective name for all Assamese, Biharis, Tamilians, or Nepalis who strive to make out a living in Kerala. The Migrant labourers in Kerala who does any job, day and night for a living is a Bengali. They form the significant economic force in the state. There were around 2.5 million internal migrants. Every year, the migrant worker population in Kerala increases by 2.35 lakh (235,000) people. It was expected to increase. Definitely, their assumption was true. Kerala had around 3.5 to 4 million inter-state migrant workers in 2017. This is not an exact figure. An estimate stat which is only expected to increase.
“Kerala is the Gulf for Bengalis”. The Bengalis around there are ready to accept any kind of job. Carpentry, Masonry, Construction, to Hair cutting, the Bengalis are everywhere. The Famous group of Trollans expects them to do the job of Priest in the recent future. Only a few such jobs lack a Bengali today. God’s own country is Bengali’s own state.
They are comparatively cheap. And the amount of effort they put is more. While Kerala labourers take one month, Bengalis will complete the same work in 15 days. Their Wage is also less. Less Wage, Work more. But what makes it difficult is their culture or style of living. Anyway, we Keralites will find it difficult to learn their language and culture. But why don’t we teach them our language and culture? If they start understanding our language, consequently things would become easy. Certainly, the problem lies with the communication. Why can’t we Teach Migrant Workers our Local Lingo?
How many of you heard about Peruvallur in Malappuram district? The people out there are doing something very interesting. Thanks to Olakara Government LP School. The lower primary school in the quaint village have introduced a programme. An exclusive literacy programme for migrant labourers in and around Peruvallur. Their intention is quite simple;- “To make the labourers speak Malayalam”. The Functionaries of PTA have launched it. Migrants are here for long. If they start speaking Malayalam, probably they might get a better treatment than before. They are a significant economic force in the state. Hence we have to treat them well.
“The migrant workforce is fast becoming the backbone of several sectors in the state”
Njangalum Vayikkum (“we will also read”), like the title, project aims to enhance their reading skills. We have to appreciate the school PTA for introducing such a programme. Above all, they are in our state. Therefore we have the responsibility to look after them. At least they could communicate better now, especially during difficult times like recent floods. The literacy programme will definitely help migrant workers. Not only to communicate better. This also makes them interact more effectively with the locals.
Only with good responses, such Projects become successful. Already 30 labourers have been enrolled in the scheme. They are from states such as Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and West Bengal. The majority are from Odisha. Camps are held during weekends at the school. In the Camps, migrants are taught the basics of Malayalam. Facilities such as school bus are provided. This helps them to reach the class on time. Tea and snacks are also provided during breaks. Another reason to attend the class!