World Refugee Day 2018: Delhi loves you back, Say refugees in a home away from home: There’s a reason why the national capital, Delhi is known as the “Dilli dilwalon ki”. The city is known for accepting every people from all over the world with its open arms. The sentiment is shared by those who have sought refuge in the national capital, Delhi.
In this World Refugee Day, we will be discussing how some refugees take shelter in the national capital. The city, its lanes, and its ways have a strong hold on the lives of all these refugees.
“Yes, there is the pain. Yes, there are scars… but Delhi has given us a chance to rebuild our lives,” says Shabber Kyamin, a grateful, Rohingya from Myanmar.
As we all know several people from the various lands have been settled here, in Delhi, which was actually introduced to their cultures, and some of its areas became synonymous with them — Majnu Ka Tila with Tibetans, Old Delhi with Afghanis, and Jamia Nagar with Rohingyas. So this is very clear, that, Dilli hai sabki!
‘It feels like home’
Majnu Ka Tila that houses the Tibetan community is very similar to the Little Tibet in the heart of the Capital. Thousands of refugees have settled down here, and successfully, engaged with their own businesses, gaining popularity for their culture — from fashion to food.
“My parents shifted from Tibet to Delhi… perhaps in 1962. They tell me several stories of how people left Tibet in hordes… when they came down here, they started a small eatery and now it’s one of the most popular restaurants in the area,” says Sanya Wangdue (name changed), who also has a guest house in the area.
“This is like our own country now. We’ve never faced any discrimination or hostility. I don’t know if it would’ve been possible for us to start life anew in any other country,” says Sanya.
The fighter from Afghanistan
In the bylanes of Khirki Extension, prior to the rubble, we find Sydeqa. She fled Afghanistan after attacks on her life. She is trained in combat and weapon handling, and perhaps the tools she is having as a warrior which permit her to combat the struggles of her new life.
She is hoping to receive refugee status in a few months. “I am thankful to
this country for providing me home and safety. I live with my husband and a newborn baby,” she says, adding that she does miss the little things but realizes that arrives at a cost. “Vahan Eid saat din tak manayi jaati thi, yahan bas teen din ki hoti hai,” but due to targeted attacks, common people lived under threat. “Kabhi barood gir jata tha…”
The 35-year-old is relieved that her baby is far away from the war-torn environment, but she also want to have a stable and good income. “Yahan Afghanon ke liye kaam nahin hai. My husband earns on a daily basis and that, too, if he
finds work,” she says.
though Nooran Qasim, who arrived in India in 2009, works at an Afghani restaurant in Old Delhi, and she just loves the
city and the “somewhat successful” career. “I love to be here every day when I wake up. Dilli sabki hai… yahan bahut communities hai, toh acceptance high hai.”
When not all hope is lost
“No one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear saying — leave, run away from me now, I don’t know what I’ve become, but I know that anywhere is safer than here,” says Shabber Kyamin, a Rohingya from Myanmar, who left his hometown in 2005, shares the last verse of a Warsan Shire poem describing what his life went through.
“The conditions were deadly there. What one could see is genocide, ethnic cleansing, and politically targeted groups. We had no option [but to leave]. I came alone, but now I’m married and have two kids. I run a mobile accessory shop and have my own small business in Rajasthan… All I can say is that I’m thankful for this country, this city.”
a few years back, Shabber got the refugee status. “In Delhi, more than 800 Rohingyas got the refugee status.”
He also works with Rohingya Women Rights Initiative. “We are trying to uplift our community in terms of health, education, and shelters,” adds Shabber.