Guddu

Ravidas Nagar slum is situated at the South side of Agra fort, in Agra city, Uttar Pradesh. It is home to 400 families who are living here since the last 50 years. During the harsh winter of December 2012, this slum was forcefully demolished by the Defence Department and the families were overnight evicted without any prior intimation and without providing any alternative housing arrangements. The 400 odd families were left with no choice and they were forced to live in an open space in a nearby ground in temporary plastic tents.

 

Guddu’s family was also one amongst the many who had to bear the brunt of this eviction and were left homeless. Guddu’s family comprised of his wife, five daughters and two sons. He earned the bread and butter for the family through
ragpicking but the income was minimal and it was very difficult to sustain the entire family with such meager earnings. Often the family would manage only one square meal for days and that too most of the stomachs will only be half filled. The eviction further compounded the family’s woes, the temporary plastic shelter was too feeble to protect guddu and his family from the biting cold, there was no provision of electricity and thus they could not use the electric
heaters to keep themselves warm.

 

Open defecation, lack of water and bathing facilities completely transformed the vicinity into an unhygienic dwelling and home to filth and diseases. Furthermore, the law and order situation in the area is dismal making it an unsafe abode for women and incidents of sexual assaults are rampant.

 

Concern for his family’s safety started keeping Guddu worried and he left no stone unturned to find an accommodation with his limited budget. But it became very difficult to find any rented house with such meager earnings. Frustration gradually started creeping in and with each failed attempt Guddu further plunged into depression and as recourse took to alcohol consumption. In one such attempt to find a rented house, Guddu gave some money to a property dealer but he was duped and the person fled away with his money. He could not bear this forgery and committed suicide. This shocking incident left the family completely distraught and a dark future stared before them.

 

Guddu’s wife, Kiran Devi, in a bid to save the family from hunger and poverty started working as a daily wage labourer but due to poor health she is unable to work at a stretch for longer days. A little ray of hope emerged when IGSSS came to know about this family during the implementation of the Home Initiative programme. The family is now linked with Manav Seva Sansthan, one of the partner organisations of IGSSS in Agra which is working for the cause of the homeless residents. Kiran Devi is selected for a livelihood training programme and on successful completion of the training she will be provided with financial aid and other necessary help to start her own livelihood initiative.

 

Reported by – Ms.Reena Khare,Trainee, Agra, Home Initiative Programme

 

Written By – Mr. Vijeesh, Executive Documentation, Home Initiative Programme, New Delhi