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A note from the editor: a moving tragedy

More Indians have moved from the east to the south of the country over the last decade for various reasons, including climate change

People have always moved in search of opportunity or to escape flood or famine.
People have always moved in search of opportunity or to escape flood or famine.

Around this time a year ago, when we were all adjusting to the start of a lockdown to limit covid-19’s spread, the lines of migrant workers making their way out of cities worsened the distress we felt. People have always moved in search of opportunity or to escape flood or famine. Increasingly though, the hidden stressor that sets migration in motion in India is climate change. More people have moved from the eastern parts of the country to the south, for instance, for work over the past decade, and while opportunity is the obvious reason, the less studied factor is climate change.

In India, the Sundarbans and its adjoining regions are slowly becoming uninhabitable due to the creeping effects of climate change—land salinity is increasing, storms are more frequent and more intense, changing weather and tide patterns affect river courses, and therefore, livelihoods.

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The loss of life due to cyclones may be limited owing to well-planned evacuation efforts, but property and livelihoods still get wiped out with every storm, and rebuilding these only to know they might be lost again is far harder. Our cover story this week makes these mostly invisible links between people moving miles from their homes in search of work and the changing weather patterns. In making the move, people contribute to the growth and vibrancy of cities, but city administrators are often not sensitive to their needs.

Migration runs through this issue in other ways. In an interview to Lounge, musicians Arivu and Dhee, whose Enjoy Enjaami has crossed 88 million views online, explain how their music is deeply influenced by the demand for equality. Both musicians have roots in Sri Lanka—Arivu’s grandmother was a migrant tea plantation worker—and their music highlights the deep divisions that still exist between the landed and labourers.

We have a story on chefs who have moved far from India but used the inspiration of its flavours and infused it with French gourmet techniques to create cuisine that appeals to people across the world while creating an understanding of India’s culinary history. And as always, Lounge also has stories on style, books, theatre, and more.

Write to the Lounge editor @shalinimb

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