TEA PLANTATIONS, IDUKKI DISTRICT, KERALA
Tea is one of many imported provisions that I take for granted. Since I was a kid I have had a big cup to start the day. To experience the strange landscape of the tea plantations and to witness the hard labour have made me conscious about the requirements of that daily habit.
A young man grown up in a tea worker family told me about his step away from the traditional work
at the plantation to become a rickshaw driver. The story is a common one. As the new work often means having contact with foreign people, the drivers learn to speak english fluently and with the curious and hospitable manner of an Indian they invite foreigners to their home. This is how perspectives on labour rights exchange between people of totally different cultures and as such become a threat against the system of holding tea workers in serfdom.
In Kerala, workers have a history of being organized in unions and act offensive to claim their rights, but when it comes to the situation of tea workers there is still a lot to obtain.