Mission Delhi – Mobeen, Matia Mahal
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The main street of Old Delhi’s Matia Mahal is a sea of people, this afternoon. One person in the crowd is crouched on the ground. The gentleman is dragging himself slowly along the packed lane, his right hand is simultaneously pushing an artificial leg lying atop a pair of crutches. He agrees to share the recent developments in his life.
“I am Mobeen. I was working in a power loom factory in Bhiwandi, near Mumbai. I lived with my wife, Rihana Banu, and our daughter, Shifa Banu. I earned enough money for us to live comfortably. Our daughter would go to school everyday.
“Around six months ago, we decided to visit my wife’s village in UP. One of the reasons was to bring the wife’s aged mother to live with us. We were travelling in a train, I don’t remember its name. The train stopped at Azamgarh. I got out to fill our water bottle from the station. The train started to move while I was still on the platform. I immediately rushed towards my dibba (coach), but while climbing, I slipped and fell on the tracks. There were six dibbe behind me… I was taken to the hospital. Later, in the hospital, doctors had to amputate my right leg.
“We decided to temporarily settle in the wife’s village. My daughter is in 12th grade but have been unable to continue with her studies. Weeks after the accident, I was advised to go to Jaipur, where they give free artificial leg to people in my condition. I travelled alone to Jaipur, I received the leg, and it was indeed given to me for free. On the way back, I got off in Delhi railway station, and decided to stay in the city for some time, hoping to find a way to earn here.
“I was finding no work in Delhi, and my mobile phone also got stolen. Since then I have not been able to contact my wife. She must be worried.
“I sleep outside Jama Masjid. During the day I travel through the bazars, and kind people give me rupya-paisa.
“I’m hoping to stay here for six, eight or 12 months—-so that I can go back home with some amount of money, may be 25,000 rupees. I will use it to start a grocery in the village.
“These days I’m not able to use the artificial leg because of a wound in my amputated part. I have got it dressed in a hospital.
“I have made no friend in Delhi. I keep to myself.”
[This is the 529th portrait of Mission Delhi project]