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A Denotified tribe in Bhatimines: Pakistani migrants at Delhi ridge

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August Print Issue

Jigyasa Gulati
Student at IP college , Delhi

On the way from Delhi to Bhatimines the best way to save time is to take a metro to Chattarpur and then a local bus. Initially, you will encounter a number of beautiful temples like Lakshmana temple, Kardariya Mahadeva temple, etc. As you move forward you will encounter something strange. On the one side of the road you will see Lily White Hotel and on the other side people living on roads. On the one side there is Tivoli Garden Resort Hostel, Oodles Hotel on the other side there are pottery sellers try to sell pottery to earn their living. I guess it’s the tragedy of our country either there are too rich or too poor.

Then, the other tragedy of our country “Babaji”. There is an Asharam of Radha Swami spread across acres and if you visit on Thursday you may face traffic jam as it’s the day of “guruji”. People from across the country come to guruji in Hyundai, BMW with a hope that with the help of guruji’s “Ashirwad”, they can prosper more. You also start feeling that you are out of Delhi as that ridge area in the way has lesser noise from vehicles, not something which is so prominent in Delhi. As you enter Bhatimines, you encounter a totally different scenario from Delhi. Simple people, no cemented apartments, buildings, lights etc. despite of the fact that it is in South Delhi.

The people of this underdeveloped village which is actually a J-J colony ( jhuggi- jhopdhi colony) is facing a number of problems. They are basically Pakistan migrants who came to India in search of a better life but even here life is not less than a nightmare. The people of colony used to dig wells in Rajasthan but when they came to Delhi they started mining for red Badarpur sand and stone. It was declared illegal and mining was stopped in the 90s. It was the main source of employment for these people. Now they have to travel to the city for employment or work under contractors who provide them employment but on their needs or in other words they work as ‘wage labourers’. These jobs are not permanent and are without any social security and there exists “gender discrimination”. For instance, men get paid Rs. 450 and women Rs. 250 for the same work. Around Bhatimines, there is a forest which is actually Asola Wildlife Sanctuary which was notified in 1991. This area is restricted by the govt. In 2007, govt. erected a wall of 45ft of hardened plastic on an area of this sanctuary and made it a monkey dig. It has somehow helped people of the city to get rid of monkeys but has created a serious problem for the people of surrounding villages. As monkeys climb the wall, they attack and pinch people. This monkey menace is a big issue needs to be solved as monkeys enter homes, steal all the food, and destroy the house. Houses are not cemented, many of them doesn’t even have doors to lock it and save it from the Monkeys.

None of the homes have toilets which poses a serious threat to hygiene and cleanliness. People have to go to forest to release the waste which is dangerous because of monkeys, robberies and it’s even more dangerous for women especially at night. One of the major problem is of alcohol consumption. Half of the people are unemployed or don’t have permanent jobs which causes a frustration in men. Than they find a way out of this frustration in liquor. But it leads to domestic violence and to bad financial status of the families. “ chahe 200 kamai ya 400 aadmi toh sharab piaiga hi. Ghar mai khane ko roti hai ya nahi sharab toh pini hai aur fir ghar mai aakr hath uthana hai”, said a resident.

There is a “ theka” in the vilage which is always crowded. This addiction led to increase in liquor shops as well. But why don’t women raise their voice against this addiction, domestic violence? Why they are quietly facing all these atrocities? The answer is yes they can raise their voice but there is no one to listen. Every other man in the village is ready to silent them. It’s because of the presence of “patriarchy”, that women have no right to speak among men. “agar maar bhi denge toh kha jaegi lotke yahi aaigi”, said a men. There is a panchayat in the village which is dominated by those who are well off and by patriarchs. If any case of domestic violence comes to them, the verdict is always in favour of those who are able to pay bribe to the panchayat. Secondly, no one is there to listen to women. Consequently, women have to follow the verdict of panchayat which is usually in favour of the culprits.

In the 90s there were proper panchayats as directed by the Constitution but with time their nature changed. Now exists the above mentioned panchayat. People also have voter id cards, they do vote as well even in the recent MCD elections the turnout was 64% but these votes doesn’t show their choice. They are surrounded by a gujjar dominated area. The politicians (mainly from gujjar community) who need votes provided them with voter id cards so that at the time of election they can use their votes for their interests. Nowadays Aam Aaadmi Party has won from this village and some people do appreciate AAP for building roads but for some it’s only a single attempt to satisfy people so that they should not say that the govt. has made no difference.

The situation of education is even worse. There is only one school whose teachers are more interested in gossiping than teaching said the students. There is another school which is half built as it’s construction was stopped by the authorities. “ this area is illegal and building a school here will be illegal as well “. There is hardly any student who goes for higher studies and the number of girls going for higher studies is even less. But these students have to face a no. of problems. For instance, language- they are not able to speak in English, they have to travel a lot etc.

There is only one dispensary for the whole village. “ hum toh bahut kam jate hai waha itti saari goliya dete hai daar lagta hai”, said a resident. There is another doctor in the village named “ jhadh fukk wala baba”, who uses his power to treat patients. These two are the only option for the people for their medical needs. Deliveries still happens at home, children still live without any vaccination or polio ki davai. Surprisingly and fortunately none of the children face problems of mal- nutrition. You can still see a family of father, a mother, three daughters and two sons. But for them more children doesn’t mean more burden. They take it differently “ more children, more helping hands, more income”. The overall infrastructure needs a boost. They need to build “pucca” homes, solve drainage, sanitation problems, water and electricity supply issues, build schools, hospitals and most importantly exercise legal rights on the place where they are living right now that they will not be whipped out.

In all such problems, you can see a ray of hope among people specially among the women of the village. “ agar school khul jai toh hum bhi padhne pahuch jainge”, said a 62 years old women. They have a unity among them which keeps them strong and ready to face any problem. They work whole day, face violence at home, have sorrow in their heart but still have a big smile on their face. They need a motivation. “ humne novi (9th) ki bas usse aage nahi padhainge aur 16-17 mai shadi”, said a 14 year old.
People of Bhatimines look forward to state that it will take necessary steps to help them but nothing has been done so far except fake promises. The need of the hour is to look beyond the political gains and do something needful for the people. When India can develop at the international level, why it can’t something at the state level? Except making digital cities why cannot first do something for the people who cannot even afford two square meals? For the development of the country it is important that each and every citizen should contribute but how will it be possible when state has no time to look to it’s people?

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