Yesterday the trend that took Twitter by storm was #MeTooMigrant. Under the hashtag, a group of people shared their 'migrant' stories of living away from home.

Simply put, from the comfort of their homes with access to all basic necessities, a privileged section of society decided that the way to highlight the plight of workers in India, was to say they were the same!

Migrant Worker Exodus
Source: WSJ

The world of keyboard warriors conveniently forgot that the very privilege that allows them to 'tweet' in anger, also dissociates them from the physical struggles of a worker walking hundreds of kilometers, with only one hope - to be with family.

Source: Jansatta

Reportedly, at the start, the purpose of the hashtag was to highlight the migrant workers' crisis and the discrimination in the treatment of migrant workers from different income-groups.

Workers sprayed with bleach
Source: Yahoo
workers walking home
Source: Reuters

But, social media did what social media is infamous for - distorted the real purpose of the story to make a mockery of the plight of workers while tooting their own horn.

Citing examples of not being allowed enough leaves to head home or having to shift cities for work is an insensitive, apathetic take on the struggles of a worker who had to spend his entire life's earnings on a train ticket. That too, for a journey that never materialized.

This is not to say that people who belong to a higher-income group can not have struggles.

But to compare them to the plight of migrant workers was akin to men responding to #MeToo stories with #NotAllMen. It just defeats the purpose and highlights your sense of entitlement.

Yes, technically speaking, you may be a migrant too. But, if you have a roof on your head, food on your plate, job security, basic facilities, and the means to talk to your family, then you and the migrant workers hiding in cement mixers to find a way home are NOT the same.

The images that come to my mind when India's migrant crisis is talked about, don't include lapsed leaves, frequently changed homes, and annual trips back home.

No, they include Delhi's crowded bus terminal, a 12-year-old girl collapsing after walking for four days, rotis flung alongside dismembered bodies on railway tracks.

Rotis
Source: Twitter

If not for these workers, whose plight has today been reduced to a single hashtag, India would still be struggling to build houses, work heavy machinery, harvest crop, clean sewage lines, and in some cases, even cook.

migrant exodus
Source: FT

A hashtag, no matter how well-intentioned, will not save the lives of the migrant workers. If you really want to do your bit, help them in a more tangible manner.