Gadia Lohar Nomads in Delhi

Dreams on Pavement: Children of nomads (Gadia Lohar) in Delhi

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“Gadia Lohar” the nomadic tribe in Delhi. Historically, this nomadic community has suffered deprivation and marginalization. Traditionally, people from the Gadia Lohar community earn their livelihood by manufacturing and selling iron tools and utensils.

Kumar Saurav | New Delhi

Saloni,13 and Suhan, 11, studying in 8th and 6th standard respectively, are siblings. Their daily routine starts pretty early at 6 am with the buzzing sound of an alarm. They get ready for their school which starts at 7:30 am. After coming from school they go to tuition in the evening. Yes, this might sound normal like other children’s routine. But it is not! Their journey starts from a shack on the pavement of Maksudpur, Vasant Kunj.

“I don’t want my children to enter the profession where I am indulged. I will do all the things which are possible for the betterment of my children” said Sanjay(father), looking at their children. This is the home of both the children. They are the children of Sanjay (father) and Gita (mother). They belong to a marginalized tribal community “Gadia Lohar” the nomadic tribe in Delhi. Historically, this nomadic community has suffered deprivation and marginalization. Traditionally, people from the Gadia Lohar community earn their livelihood by manufacturing and selling iron tools and utensils.

With the great determination of their father and mother and the support from the NGO and government, both children are able to go to school. An NGO named Malviya mission which also helps children in their studies like providing tuition after their school and also provides stationary. Both the children answered the basic mathematics and general science questions according to their class.

“They don’t want to indulge in the profession of what their family is practising, they want to become doctor and pilot,” said Saloni and Suhan. When asked their father about support from the government, he replied that he is able to avail the benefits like education services health like there is the presence of mohalla clinic but the family’s deepest concern is the lack of a permanent home.

As they are residing on the pavement in a temporary shack, which can be demolished by the authority at any point in time, this can ruin the dream of both children. Due to the temporary house, the family has to suffer a lot like they have to wait many days for a water tanker. Once they get water, that water has to use for many days. The family doesn’t have a caste certificate. Due to this, they are not able to avail reservation benefits in government jobs and in other areas as provided.

There are many children like Saloni and Suhan from the Gadia Lohar community like Riya,11 and Ritesh,9 living with their parents in a temporary home on the pavement near Munirka bus stand, suffers the same as Saloni and Suhan are suffering! The lack of proper house which results in poor hygiene has an adverse impact on these children. The announcement of pacca-home in the recent election by different political parties give hope to those families but at the same time, they are sceptical about the promises made by political parties. Nobody knows when children like Saloni, Suhan, Riya and Ritesh will move from that pavement to a Pacca-home.

Written by Kumar Saurav, He is Journalism graduate from Indian Institute of Mass Communication New Delhi.

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