Delhi

Life in Delhi village minus music, books and TV

Children standing on the boundary wall of the absent school in Badar Pur village in Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Anu Pushkarna

Children standing on the boundary wall of the absent school in Badar Pur village in Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Anu Pushkarna  

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Shah Rukh is a smart 10-year-old boy who resides in Badarpur Khadar village, situated on the Yamuna banks, in North East Delhi. Though he shares his name with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, he has never seen his film. Ask him to sing a song and he shies away because he has never heard any as due to absence of power in the village songs have never been played there.

All that Shah Rukh knows about Shah Rukh Khan or Amitabh Bachchan is that “unki photo hoti hai” (they appear in photos).

Born in a village bereft of electricity, Shah Rukh is not the only child who does not know what television and radio or films and music are all about. And unfortunately this is the story of over a thousand children in a village in Delhi.

All through the day almost all the children, most of them barefoot and poorly clad, simply idle away their time. In the case of Shah Rukh, a day is all about wandering around or playing “gilli danda’’, “kanche’’ (marbles) or at times kabaddi. He does not even know what cricket or football are.

When asked his age, Shah Rukh shies away. He does not know how to read or write. The village has no school and Shah Rukh like almost all the other children and other residents is unlettered. Needless to say no books, magazines or newspapers ever come to this village. Only about 10 children from the village attend school in Madola village in U.P. as the 100-odd families residing here do not have the resources for arranging for the education and transportation of their children such a long distance away.

The situation is very painful. Village elder Sarfaraz said though the villagers have kept aside a five bigha or nearly 5,000 square yard plot for a school and even spent Rs 50,000 on constructing a boundary wall around it, the Delhi Government has still not made any efforts to construct a school there. “The place is only used for conducting elections. They put up tents there for the elections and thereafter it simply lies vacant,’’ added Sarfaraz.

In fact, the voter identity card is one of the few things that this village in Karawal Nagar Assembly segment has got from either the Delhi Government or the Centre. “We have about 750 voters and for getting the cards made we had to go to Garhi Mandu about six km away in Ghonda Assembly segment. But while we can vote, we do not have ration cards as after our area was transferred from Jahangirpuri to Karawal Nagar following delimitation, our cards were taken away,’’ said. So the villagers are also deprived of subsidized grains, sugar and kerosene, which can be used by them for lighting lamps.

“We would like a ration shop to be opened in the village and a camp should be organised for making our ration cards,’’ said Nanhe, a resident.

An elderly village woman Aamna wanted to know why the Government has ignored this village all these years. “Kab theek hoga beta. Main jab se yahan shaadi hokar aai hoon, kuch nahin badla. Kehte hain ham khaddey main hain aur khaddey main rahenge’’ (When will things be okay, son? Since I got married and came to this village, nothing has changed. They say we are in the dumps and will always remain there.) she said teary eyed.

Aamna is most concerned that there is no future for the 1,000 plus children in this village. “They keep wandering around doing nothing. There is no school for their education, dispensary to take care of their medical needs or electricity which may give then access to lead lives like those of children in other villages or the city,’’ she said.

“Hamara yeh andhera kab door hoga’’ (When will this darkness go out of our lives)? she asked.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 6:59:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/Life-in-Delhi-village-minus-music-books-and-TV/article16885932.ece

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