Mahanirban Calcutta Research group


Migration and Forced Migration Studies with Particular Focus on South Asia and its European-Asian Dimension (2019-2021)

Concept Note

Migration and Forced Migration Studies with Particular Focus on South Asia and its European-Asian Dimension (2019-2021)

Media Segments 

What Happened to Refugees and Migrants in the COVID Year of 2020? 

A. Media Segment 

As the prolonged lockdown which accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic brought the wheel of life to a standstill throughout the country, migrant workers encountered severe — even unspeakable — hardships. In 2020, the Media Workshop of the Calcutta Research Group (CRG) devoted itself to understanding this disheartening impact which the pandemic inflicted on the lives and livelihoods of migrant workers. While examining the precarious existence of migrant workers, the Workshop questioned whether their predicament was not aggravated by the absence of appropriate government interventions. Even the Supreme Court and a number of High Courts had demanded that the government take a more proactive role in ameliorating the condition of migrant workers affected by the pandemic and the restrictions which followed in its wake. Please click on the link to view the report on last year’s workshop.

In 2021, as the pandemic situation remains critical, it may be proper to revisit the precarity of migrant workers by widening the scope of the previous year’s study and focusing on the following themes:

a) The impact of the pandemic on the lives of the frontline COVID ‘warriors’ at village, panchayat, block and municipal levels. (e.g., ASHA workers, paramedics, nurses, doctors, etc.);

b) Initiatives of solidarity taken by various civil society organisations, local clubs, municipal councillors, small groups of people, private or government employees, political workers and humanitarian activists — their linkages and histories;

c) Dynamics of slum (bustee) level protection;

d) Situation of returnee migrants, their reception in native villages and towns, fear of migrant workers as carriers of the virus, migrant workers' prospects of getting jobs on their return, their return to old jobs, responsibility of the state governments and local bodies, perception of the media about the returnee migrants, also the returnee migrants as an election issue;

e) The role of social media in the migrant crisis during the lockdown period;

f) The 'data crisis' around the migrant workers during the pandemic and the lockdown;

g) Court judgments and other legal aspects such as the efficacy of the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979;

h) The rehabilitation of the Rohingya refugees;

i) Also, 2021 being the fiftieth anniversary of the Bangladesh refugee crisis, one may like to revisit the situation of the refugees in India in 1971, around issues of life in camps, disease, violence, politics, and the return of the refugees.

The Media Fellowship

CRG had announced, on the basis of this year’s topic for its media programme, a short-term media fellowship to provide an opportunity for selected individuals to do some creative assignments and reports on the subject. An expert committee tasked with the selection process has awarded five fellowships for 2021. The fellows will be required to write a creative report or produce a photo essay or documentary.


Media Fellows Topics Abstracts / Full Paper
Sukanta Sarkar, Ei Samay (Bengali daily from Times of India Group)

Graduated from University of Calcutta with Commerce. Done MA in Mass Mass Communication. Started practice of journalism in 1988 in the Bengali News weekly ‘Paribartan as a Political commentator. Worked in the ‘Frontier’ as reporter after close the ‘Paribartan’. Covered movement against Big Dam in the South Bihar which is now Jharkhand. Written features in ‘The Statesman’, ‘The Telegraph’, and local newspapers. In 1995 joined the ‘AsomiyaPratidin’ as Capital Correspondent at New Delhi. But just after one year joined the ‘AnandabazarPatrika’, where spent maximum time of professional life, 21 years. Currently associated with the EiSamay, a Bengali daily of the Times of India. Sarkar is also attached with the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Calcutta as a Guest Faculty. He authored a book on Four Dying Rivers in West Bengal (NODI-BANGLAR KATHA_KAHINI). Just started a work on Climate Refugees in the Sundarbans.

Migrant labourers in the sinking islands of the Sundarbans


Devika Singh Shekhawat, Ambedkar University,Delhi

Devika Singh Shekhawat is a writer, educator and researcher in the field of sociology. She is a published author with Zubaan Publications on the history and memory of migration of tea plantation workers of Assam and a co-author of a book chapter with the Programme of Social Action’s The Research Collective on the Ecological Crisis of Shrimp Aquaculture and discourses of migration and infiltration in Coastal Odisha. Having completed her bachelors from St. Stephens College, New Delhi she has completed her Masters in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and is currently pursuing her PhD from Ambedkar University Delhi on questions of work, health and labour in tea plantations of Assam. She has a keen interest in writing, teaching, curation and research work and her expertise lie in the field of gender and sexuality studies with a close emphasis on intersections of gender and labour, ecology, cultural studies, sociological theory, oral histories, folklore studies, migration, and developmental issues. She is currently working on questions of work, health, education and labour in tea plantations of Assam with special emphasis on understanding the dynamics of health governance, labour relations and the changing political economy of tea production in Assam.

Work, Health and Labour: ASHA Workers in Tea Plantations of Assam


Nivedita Manpoong (Nellie), Arunachal Times

A reporter and proofreader at The Arunachal Times, with over seven years of experience in journalism. Primary assignments have included covering current events, with focus on student welfare, political developments, and human interest. Extensively covered the Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) riots in 2019 and reported on the anomalies in the state civil service examinations as well as the corruption in the state staff selection board examinations. Recipient of the Arunachal Pradesh State Gold Medal for contributions to the field of journalism in 2019. Winner of the V Ravindran Excellence in Journalism Award in the Politics and Governance category (2019) and Gender Issues category (2014) She has contributed a short story in the anthology, ‘The Inheritance of Words’, edited by Padma Shri Mamang Dai and published by Zubaan Books, 2021, and an essay titled ‘COVID-19 Pandemic: An assessment of Arunachal Pradesh’ in the book ‘COVID-19 Anguish, Resilience and Determination’, edited by Nabajit Deka, K Jose SVD and Bhaskar Das, and published by DVS Publishers, 2021.

Arunachal Pradesh’s response to migrant workers during COVID-19 lockdown: A case study in Itanagar


Aman (Siddhant) Gupta, News Click

Aman Gupta, working as Freelance Journalist. Covering stories for The Caravan, News Laundry, Media Vigil and Down to Earth etc. After completing my Diploma in Mass Communication from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi and some desk jobs in media outlets, I decided to be on ground for reporting. Political reporting and Public Policies are my core interests in reporting.

Bundelkhand jaise elakon mein corona ke baad majdooron ki sthiti


Shuvankur Ghosh, Commissioned Photographer, Roli Books

Shuvankur Ghosh began his career as a journalist working for some leading magazines and newspapers while he was still a student at Calcutta University. He later assisted quite a few well known directors and worked for making films and shows. After that he worked as Post Production Producer and Associate Director for various shows on Star Jalsa and Mahua Bangla channel.
His first photography project 'The Distant Calls' was exhibited by PIX magazine in New Delhi. In 2012 his photos were shown at an exhibition by CRY India, in Kolkata. The same year Forward Thinking Museum selected him as one of the runners up for their 2012 Artist Level Contest grant. In 2013 he received a Special JURY Commendatation for Photography from Toto Awards , India.
Shuvankur was selected for the workshop at Chobi Mela VII 2012, under the mentorship of Morten Krogvolt. He also showed his work at the 1st Madurai International Photography Festival in 2012. In 2013 he showcased his work at Chobi Mela VII in Dhaka and as a digital projection at the Delhi Photo Festival. He was also selected for the ‘ Work in Progress’ workshop at Delhi Photo Festival 2013, under the mentorship of Munem Wasif. Fabrica, an Italian talent promotional research institute commissioned him for the ‘ Loksabha’ project in 2014. Since then he has taken photographs for organization like Getty Images, HT, Roli Books, ORF, CRY and others and made documentaries for various NGO's and corporates.
Founder of 'Old Culcutta Road'- an archive of more than 10000 discarded film negatives collected from dump yards across the city of Kolkata .

How migrant workers from the Sundarbans are reimagining their future at a time of uncertain work prospects during the pandemic


Photo Essay

Research Segments

Media Segments

Teachers Online Course and Workshop

Events / Public Lectures / Webinars

Reports & Publications

Past Programmes 2020

Audio Visual Materials

Disseminations / Resources / Important Links

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