‘Baar baar aate hain…todo! todo! chillaate hain. (They keep coming and shout break! break! — referring to the home)’. Meet Khusbhoo Borasi of Bhuri Tekri, Indore, who misses her friends. ‘Acchha nahi lagta hain…hum saath mein khelte hain, lekin majboori thi toh unko jaana pada. (I don’t like it. We used to play together. They had no option and had to leave)’, she says.
Listen to her story in her own words, or read the complete transcript below.
My name is Khushboo Borasi and I would like to speak a little about this area. My family has been living here for about 20–30 years. This area used to be quite good, but off late there have been too many demolition drives.
Family and me
A lot of people live here. It’s too noisy. I am in the eighth grade and I need to focus on my studies, but I am constantly disturbed with all the noise.
Troubles and eviction
The municipal corporation people come repeatedly to break down our houses, they shout that they will break the house down.
Water tankers used to come every day. We had a bore well, about 10–20 years old and that’s the first thing the corporation people stopped by cutting off the pipe at the bottom because it was considered illegal.
All the trees in our area were also cut down. Wasn’t that an illegal thing to do? We used to have such a great green cover, but so many trees have been cut down now.
My grandfather is 75 years old. The policy says that people above 60 years will not get a house. Where will he go now? Otherwise, we will have to pay, but where will we get the money from?
At Bhuri Tekri, we are not allowed to build multi-storeys above 3–4 floors, yet they keep building higher structures. What if they collapse? There are very strong winds here too, so what if the structures break down?
Everday fear and violence
The authorities keep coming to torture us, and 3–4 times the police have arrived too. They use force to evict us and people get beaten up. We feel very scared.
I want facilities like running water, clean toilets, lifts in our area, a community hall, and a nearby bank. Instead of having to move, if these basic services can be provided here, I would much prefer to stay here. This seems better.
On losing friends
My friends were also forcefully evicted from this area and live elsewhere now because they didn’t have an option. I feel bad because we always used to play together.
#UprootedChildhoods is a collaboration between YUVA and Leher, attempting to spark dialogue on a critical yet oft invisibilised concern — the views of children on housing. The campaign draws from YUVA’s in-depth interventions with children over the years across cities, and Leher’s focus and commitment to child rights, with a preventive approach towards child protection. Through the different blogs, photo essays, video stories, infographics and other formats we hope to present many faces of urban childhoods. Stay tuned.