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Slums: Hell on Earth

On the way to the New Industrial Town of Faridabad’s Sector 4 and 5 near the Hanuman Mandir and the cremation ground, is the slum which has been the target area for us for the last several year. There are at least fifty children there who have no access to education or basic facilities like water or electricity. All those who have driven past the slums can only imagine what kind of lives these children lead. Their muddy faces, matted hair and rags clinging to their emaciated bodies speak volumes.

A closer look at the slum is even more distressing. The first Jhuggi that I saw had a small Mandir (temple) at the entrance. Despite the hell-lke conditions they live in, amazingly, they can still keep faith. Before getting to the jhuggis, one has to cross an 8 ft. wide drain, full of muck. They are a few bamboos balanced precariously to form a bridge. I wondered if we could even get across without falling into the slush, but we made it and found hell on earth.

In a cluster of these jhuggis is a little boy living there. His parents are no more. He lives on the bounty of others who do not have much to offer themselves. One day he was sitting, surrounded by filth, eating some left-overs he found when a dog pounced on him and bit him. This happened on a Saturday when the school was closed. On Monday morning when I saw him, I took him to the doctor. He was given a tetanus shot. It was too late for anti rabies, but fortunately the dog wasn't rabid and the little boy healed from the bite.

The boy would walk around the school with his legs bent. He believed that he had polio.  We suspected  but believed him seeing the way he walked. Our doctor friend who checked him claimed  he was normal. He made him race with another boy and he ran normally. We now know that he had been made to believe that he had polio and to act accordingly to make for better success when begging. What all goes on in the slums!

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