Migration Diaries

Waiting for my son
Authors: Badu Rajama
Languages Known
Son, 5 Other Family Members
Migrated From
Sana Nolia Nuagoan, Ganjam, Odisha
Migrated To
Various distant Indian coastal states
Types of Work
Migrant fisherman


Reason for Migration


A. Achamma, is now 70 years old. Frail and crippled, this fisherwoman lives in the coastal village of Sana Nolia Nuagaon, abutting the Bay of Bengal, a part of Odisha’s Ganjam district famous for the large proportion of migrants.  Achamma speaks of the five people who live in her family and, with much sadness, speaks of her son A.Gareya – the sole provider for the entire family.

“I only have one son. I want to keep him in front of my eyes at all times but to provide for us, he has to work in different states, putting his life in danger trying to fish in so many seas.

Gareya is a traditional fisherman from the Noliya fishing caste. He is a migrant fisher from this small-scale community, who has been compelled to leave his home and work in other distant coastal states of India. He has to endure months of suffering and risk his life staying out at sea, often for a few days at a time continuously, with only the barest of necessities, in exchange for a modest sum of money.  Because some employers are harsh, migrant fishers like Gareya are occasionally compelled to leave even this meager sum of money behind and return to their home village empty-handed. His family then has to bear the double burden, not only of his long absence but the complex difficulties that result from being present but with an empty purse.

“My son cannot provide his children the joy of a father and cannot spend even a few happy moments with his family.”

“You have to bet on your life, put simple joys at stake, to save money these days,” Achamma concludes.

“You have to bet on your life, put simple joys at stake, to save money these days”.

Achamma shares her plight and those of her son, a small-scale migrant fisher.
Photo by B. Rajama.

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