It is a little after 10 am. In the bylanes of Aman Nagar in Hyderabad’s Old City, children are playing, while their parents sit outside their homes, with nothing much to do. For instance, Mohd. Jawed, 38, an artisan, who would have had twice as much work at this time of the year, during Ramzan, has been out of work since the lockdown was imposed.

“I embroider designs on clothes at a workshop and used to earn about 800 a day. I’d be generally working for 12 hours or more a day during Ramzan, when we get more work.” Jawed will be happy if he finally finds work once the lockdown is lifted.

Since 23 March, thousands of workers like Jawed, who pin their hopes of earning a little extra during Ramzan, have not only lost their livelihood, but have also been stripped of their dignity as they now have to rely on government handouts or donations by good Samaritans.

This is much different from the usual picture Hyderabad’s Old City portrays. The Old City is usually a big economic engine during Ramzan, as businesses are open till late at night, while eateries are open till dawn.

However, this year most people are struggling to survive. Like Jawed, whose income almost doubles to 1,500 per day during Ramzan, 27-year-old Mohd. Ghouse has been losing out on his income of 700- 1,500 that he usually earns a day in Ramzan.

“I don’t have a single rupee with me now. We have also not received any help from the state government,” Ghouse laments. His wife, who did not want to be identified, chipped in saying that families in their area of Aman Nagar received some ration from non-governmental organizations a few weeks ago. “That’s all,” she says.

The lockdown has been particularly harsh for women, who have to run their households and also stand in queues outside fair price shops to collect subsidized rice and other essential commodities. The Telangana government had last month announced that nearly 89 lakh white ration card holders will get 12 kilos of rice and 1,500 cash per person, while migrant workers will get 500 and 12 kilos of rice per person.

However, rice alone is not enough, people say. “Some people got 500 and ration card holders got money from the government. However, there are some like me who don’t have ration cards and used to rely solely on the income men in our families earned,” points out Shehnaz Begum, a resident of Talab Katta in the Old City.

Businesses that hire temporary workers at eateries especially during Ramzan have also taken a hit. It will be difficult for businesses in general to run even after the lockdown in lifted, says Umar Aziz, the owner of Nayab Hotel.

News Source: Livemint


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