The city I belong to,Delhi, does not have one ethnicity, community, religion or tradition. Delhi and its outskirts are filled with refugees among many other communities. But there was one community I found, about which not many of us know. So I thought it was worth exploring – The Pakistani settlers in the Faridabad Township area.
As I entered the New Industrial Township area of Faridabad, Haryana in India, none of the locals seemed to recognize where the Pakistani Mohalla and Frontier colony were. But as I moved ahead, a rickety old board that read ‘Frontier Colony’ welcomed me. The homes there looked just like any other semi-urban residence of Delhi, but the people living here are the ones who make these colonies special.
Since 1968 till present, Pakistani migrants have inhabited these two colonies in Faridabad, often called as the refugee colonies. Majority of these people living here are from the Bannu district of Pakistan.
They fled here to protect their women, and their religion from being ransacked. They live among many memories of the yesteryears when they had to struggle for their existence in Pakistan.
They lost everything in that battle and were forced to settle in India. When they arrived here they were only left with dreadful memories of their lost ones.
People here have had new battles everyday to face since they arrived in a land foreign to them.
They have pulled rickshaws, sold items on streets, worked in small scale factories and industries to raise their families.
And then slowly, the industries faded away. Come 90’s, most of them managed to start good businesses of their own and their next generation began to flourish and carry the same baton forward, making progress from their petty jobs.
Written and photographed by: Himani Singh
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