As Aam Aadmi Party prepares to be sworn in as the ruling party, news hits that Kejriwal has refused official bungalow accommodation in the interest of continuing to live among people as their representative. While not unexpected, the confirmation comes at an opportune time.
While not in Delhi, at a mere 2 hour drive, riot victims of Muzaffarnagar languish in horrendous conditions. To quote a Times of India report:
Life is cheap at the riot victims’ camp here. In the past weeks, 11 children have died here; 74 pregnant women, 24 in advanced stages, battle malnutrition and skin disease; children amble barefoot in the cold, some not even in woollens; 85 girls have been married off as their parents thought it was the best way to save honour.
This dark void of humanity, while Delhi zings with hope may be an opportunity for AAP to set a standard for governments in India to live up to. If AAP leaders will be refusing government accommodation, how about emptying a few bungalows of any precious content and turning them into emergency dormitories for pregnant and nursing women to shelter for the winter? Both from Muzaffarnagar as well as the streets of Delhi. This is no weather for women to be risking their own health and health of unborn children.
It shouldn’t be impossibly expensive. Also strictly the women, to prevent issues with privacy as well as squatting and denying space to more needy. No elaborate arrangements. Clean mattresses on floor, simple gym lockers for essential belongings, toilets, nutritious meals, so that they don’t end up as statistics of the death of humanity.
Eventually, shelters for vulnerable women could be created and the bungalows made empty again, for whatever government purpose they could meet next. Nor do you need jurisdiction in UP to extend an invitation. A big heart and invitation is all it takes to shelter another and the women could easily land up on the streets of Delhi because they heard they can get help here.
Is it not rather sad, that the Delhi that could roar with rage over a rape that wouldn’t even be considered a rape last year has not found the space in their hearts to help their neighbours in the coldest time of the year?
You would get the blessings of some of the Aamest of Aam Aadmis at the most desperate crossroads of life and perhaps allow some kids to have bright futures instead of childhoods fighting health complications to survive. If they survive.
Think about it.
You begin a new dawn tomorrow. Can it bring hope to some desperate people as well?