Filmmaker, Documentary and Portrait Photographer David Goldman is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography. These images are from his book and motion picture ‘Migrants Sugarcane Workers of India‘. To see David’s body of work click on any image.
At the end of the monsoon season, up to a half a million subsistence farmers will leave their poorly irrigated land and travel to where the sugarcane grows plentiful, thanks to abundant water and a large network of dams.
Migrants have been coming for well over 40 years to work at some of the 200 or more factories that spread across 3 states.
While profits continue to increase for owners, it’s the migrants that remain impoverished.
Household work, including cleaning, cooking and taking care of any cattle, gets delegated to the girls.
The ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) does not take into account the needs of rural Indians on the move, and thus ignores the children in these colonies.
Inhabitants make do without running water or electricity. As a result women and girls who migrate for work, face additional hardships. They have to collect water from a communal source for the entire family, and they are forced to bathe in the open.
Because they migrate, families also lose other welfare entitlements like foodgrain under the public distribution system. Food must be procured from different sources.
Two-thirds of Maharashtra’s sugar factories are in the hands of some of the state’s leading and wealthiest politicians. With next to no education or advocates looking out for them, the migrants future looks increasingly bleak.
This story was shot in the state of Karnataka in the southwest of India not too far from the Arabian Sea coastline. Karnataka is one of the largest sugarcane production regions in the world.
A detailed six chapters film
By David Goldman