The Great Abandonment: the extraordinary exodus of India’s migrant labourers

In 2020, the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, announced one of the harshest Covid lockdowns in the world, causing nearly 200 million migrant labourers to be stranded without wages, food and housing. Many undertook long journeys to return to their home villages, while others, caught in limbo with their families, were forced to wait, living on the street or under flyovers they had once laboured to build. And as workers’ rights eroded, the push for unionisation gathered momentum in the country.

Filmed in Mumbai, this documentary reveals the deep divide between those who have and those who do not, while questioning the actions of India’s leader. For further reading on the updated status of migrant workers since the pandemic, read an associated article by Global development here