Amidst the violence against minorities intensifying in various provinces of Pakistan, Hindu families are leaving their homes, their land, everything behind, and migrating to India. Most of such families are tribals.
In Pakistan, their homes and lands are purchased at low prices, and the money they receive is barely enough to cover the expenses of passports and visas. Yet, after completing their formalities at the Atari-Wagah border, they enter India with dreams of a brighter future for the generations to come.
On entering India, they are left with only a few thousand rupees in savings. They usually use their savings to buy small portions of land to build makeshift shelters, but they don’t receive any official documentation for these lands. These pieces of land, usually government plots, are locally called ‘kabze ki zameen’.
Since the time of independence, the exodus of marginalised Hindu communities, including Dalits and indigenous people, from Pakistan has been ongoing.
One such settlement is located in Gangana village, just 10 kilometers from Jodhpur city in Rajasthan. The houses are usually made of bamboos and tarpaulin sheets. Amidst the scorching heat of April and May in Rajasthan, they endure the harsh conditions, working as daily wage laborers.
In April end this year, the Jodhpur administration demolished several houses built on such ‘kabze ki zameen’. The administration may have been right in their place, but did the refugees have any other option?
When Sewa Nyay Utthan Foundation learned of this incident, its founder, Swati Goel Sharma, personally reached out to assist these families.
The settlement comprised many children, elderly individuals, and women. While the men and women went out for labor during the day, the children and elderly struggled through the intense heat of May, living as best as they could. The foundation arranged three months’ worth of ration supplies for all the affected families, addressing immediate food needs and providing relief to them. This lightened their burden for the next three months.
The settlement where these displaced families resided was situated on a rocky hill. The temperature here would exceed 50°C during the summers, with strong winds blowing during the nights. In such harsh geographical conditions, a simple cot was hardly enough to ensure their safety.
Considering this, after the ration distribution, over 100 affected families received building materials such as bamboo, bricks, ropes, and cement to construct shelters. Swati Goel Sharma was personally present for this distribution, ensuring that the materials reached the families without delay.
The work was in alignment with our nation’s cultural values that teach us to treat guests as gods and believe in the concept of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the world is one family). Thus, we extended a helping hand to these families residing in the refugee camp. Their ongoing efforts provide essential food and housing facilities, reaching out to uplift these families and contribute to their brighter future.
See the visuals below: