This is a Remotely Produced Audiovisual Testimony of Indian truckers who suffered a lot due to the 21-day nationwide stringent lockdown that was imposed in India from March 25, 2020, to try to halt the spread of the Covid-19 Pandemic. This also brought transportation of goods in India to a near halt. Nearly 300,000 trucks with a payload worth USD 350 billion were stranded on highways across India. This caused the Trucking Industry in India, one of the critical sectors for the economy and operational 24×7 for 365 days of the year, a major choke point in the supply chains for everything from food to medical supplies. No work means no food for these truckers. Companies stopped responding to their calls and blocked their payments as they could not deliver goods. These truckers who already lost 2 trips due to this lockdown also ran out of cash currency in hand. They did not know when they would meet their families, who needed support in this pandemic time. This constant stress of uncertainty impacted their mental health badly. Truckers, stranded on the road, broke down emotionally and financially due to this unplanned, sudden lockdown. I strove to produce this remote documentary, as a direct response to the various lockdown measures undertaken in India and elsewhere. This entire remote collaboration with truckers was orchestrated over cross-platform messaging applications because I had no way to travel 2000 km to visit stranded truckers amidst the nationwide stringent lockdown. Chandan Kumar Yadav was one of those truckers who were stranded for these 25 days at a 2.5 km distance from truck Parking Zone, National Highway 6, Uluberia, West Bengal, India. He only narrated the entire story over a voice call that was recorded. I remotely guided Chandan and his fellow truckers Monoj Kumar Gupta and Sukhbindar Singh to capture visual evidence of their plights. All photographs were kindly provided by these truckers after responding to a request of mine. This audiovisual piece is an art object that commands its own space through photo-voice, found images, vernacular photography, remote guidance, democratic journalism over online social media applications and latest technologies.
This work is published by following media outlets:
Feb-2021: Artist Talk, Fotofestín – Festival de Fotografía México Jan-2021: POY Asia — The Covid Experience Dispatches from Asia: Truck Quarantine