Labour Train



Labour Train
A lattice of bodies packed themselves in the train while a sundry arm here or a sundry limb there dangled from the doors and windows of the train as it chugged off the station. Which train is it? Farakka Express, though locals of Malda Town call it the Labour Train. It goes to Delhi. Every day thousands of labourers go to places like Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana, Kerala from various parts of West Bengal. Sometimes they return…at times, their dead bodies or even worse, only the news of their death arrives. During the Lockdown, these people have been given a new identity––migrant labour. Their lives are now part of the breaking news or headlines. Labour Train is all about these people and their lives––before and after they turned to headlines.

Manjira Saha, a passionate photographer, spent a part of her life in photography installations, and organising performances in the streets of Kolkata and also in alternative art groups. An MA in Education, Manjira started her teaching journey in a school in the border areas of India-Bangladesh in 2009. Ever since she has been writing about the people who live in the border areas. In 2022, Manjira received the Pradip Kumar Bose Smriti prize for Labour Train (in Bengali, 2020).

Purna Banerjee, who translates Labour Train, possesses a strong urge to promote Bengali literature onto the world landscape. Purna teaches English literature at Presidency University, Kolkata; before relocating to Kolkata, her home-city, Purna taught in different universities in the USA.

Calcutta Research Group, as a forum of public activists and socially committed researchers, is well-known for its research, dialogues, and advocacy work on issues of migration and forced migration, displacement and dispossession, peace and conflict resolution, borders and border-conflicts, citizenship, autonomy, labour and women’s dignity, and other themes relevant to democracy and human rights. Over the last 25 years of its work, CRG has been able to build a strong network of scholars, activists, and institutions across the globe.

Honourable Association