The anti-migrant political environment in the city of Mumbai has created a confused sociopolitical and economic environment, where the migrant worker, essential to manufacturing and service provision, is able to find work, but is unwelcome in terms of occupying physical, social, political and cultural spaces in the city. The paper attempts to bring this contradiction to the fore through a study of elderly migrant labour employed in the private security provision industry. From the study it becomes apparent that the reality of the lives of workers is shaped by factors beyond work and wages. Their living conditions, inability to cope with any exigency, including illness or death, the atomised lives that they lead in the city in comparison to the villages, and absence of social security or access to quality welfare services force these workers and their families to live in precarious conditions.
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