The Interstate Migration Alliance and HELM Studio invite you into a conversation with migrant workers employed in the garment and domestic work sector in Gurgaon—a bustling industrial hub within the Delhi, National Capital Region. Lockstitch Lives: Migrants and the Megacity, a 360-degree interactive documentary, transport the user to the neighbourhoods of Gurgaon. Using 360-degree video, multimedia interactive images, photography and video, Lockstitch Lives provides deep insight into living and working conditions in the Delhi, National Capital Region.

India’s Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR)—the most populated city in India—is a spectacular manifestation of imbalanced economic growth within India, fueling rural-urban migration and the attendant concentration of migrant labour within this urban industrial hub. As Delhi-NCR expands across distinct village, municipal and state jurisdictions, exclusion of migrant communities from urban planning strip Indian migrant citizens of their citizenship rights within their native countries. As a result, while national citizenship may be at once universally inclusive in membership it is all too often unequal in distribution.

Lockstitch Lives: Migrants and the Megacity bring the challenges associated with exclusionary urbanisation to life. Explore the neighbourhoods of Dundahera, Mullahera, Sikanderpur Pahadi and Kartarpuri. Venture into the homes where migrants live and listen to their stories as they describe the challenges they face in accessing clean water and sanitation facilities, navigating relationships with landlords and keeping themselves safe from violence at home and at work. These experiences are deeply personal, unique to the Delhi, National Capital Region—and are also reflective of the living and working conditions faced by migrant workers in megacities across the globe.

Sikanderpur Pahadi

Sikanderpur Pahadi

This informal settlement is described as a “village” in comparison to the bustling SikanderpurBasti. Local residents have blocked the most direct road to SikanderpurPahadi. Now, in order to reach work, school, medical facilities and other civic amenities, workers and their families must choose between a circuitous route or a more direct but dangerous walk where there are robberies in broad daylight and women fear sexual assault.

Kapashera

Kapashera

Migrant workers and their families live packed, side by side, in single rooms, under the strict control of unregulated landlords. In this workers housing unit, more than 70 families share 8 toilets. Lacking sanitation and waste disposal, human waste and garbage collect in an open stream less than 10 meters away from workers’ homes.

Sikanderpur Basti

Sikanderpur Basti

This informal settlement is home to migrant workers, especially from Bihar, West Bengal and the Northeast, who have built the metro line, roads, hotels, office buildings and malls that now surround them. Within the last 10 years, it has grown from 200 to 2000 people. They have no running water, toilets or electricity. Sikanderpur Basti is routinely scheduled for demolition.

Dundahera

Dundahera

This tenement housing is home to informal sector migrant workers. Due to unstable employment relationships in the garment and other manufacturing industries, workers are routinely dismissed without notice—landing them in vicious cycles of debt. Landlords capatilise on their vulnerability, overcharging workers for even the most basic necessities: rice, flour and any energy expenditure beyond one bare light bulb and a ceiling fan.

Kartarpuri

Kartarpuri

Kartarpuri is home to migrant workers employed as domestic and housekeeping help in expansive housing complexes and office buildings in Gurgaon. Without access to public transportation, twice a day, migrant women workers walk for miles to reach their workplaces—some leaving as early as 2 or 3 in the morning. Leaving before sunrise and returning after dark, women face regular harassment and worse.