Jammu and Kashmir News
“My father had an affair with my Sister-in-law. When I protested, I was thrown out of my own house.”- R.P.Singh
R.P. Singh has been fighting hard from the day of his birth. Homeless and jobless from years, he has been struggling for his survival in this city, since 2006. He currently runs an open phone booth which has been shut down many a time a before, is blind by birth, lives away from his family for the sake of money and still has a wee hope that the government will soon pay some heed to his neglected appeals.
Ravinder Pratap Singh, aka Soordas(as the nearby people call him) was born in a small village in Faizabad District and has been living homelessly from over three decades. His father kicked him out of the house after Singh got to know about the illegitimate love affair between his father and his sister-in-law. Ravinder has two sisters and two brothers- none of whom fought for him or even supported him a bit. Ravinder vehemently protested against his father but nothing seemed to be working in his favour. The whole family except his brother-who was still unaware of the unlikely relationship between his father and his wife- conspired and threw him out of his house. From over 25 years this poor, old, blind man is struggling for a job and a home.
After he was kicked out, he moved to Nagpur and spent over a decade begging on the streets to earn his meals. Later, he married a girl from a poor family in the same village and had two kids with her. His wife worked as a maid in nearby houses, while he begged on the streets as he didn’t have any job.
After struggling for 14 years in Nagpur, he decided to return to Faziabad along with his family. His brother-who got to know about the illegitimate love affair of his wife-was dead by now and had already killed his two daughters by dumping them into a river. A case was registered against the father but the family got it closed in return of hefty money. The villagers however, kept supporting the brother but no legal action could be taken against his father. Later, his wife- who now feared that after killing the two daughters, he might kill her as well- resorted to poison him and kill.
Hi father- who was still affectionate towards his daughter-in-law after losing his two sons- had willed all of the land and the property to her and her son. After Ravinder returned to the village, he was threatened again, so he took his family back to Nagpur.
In 2006, he came to visit the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi Jammu and decided not to return. Being blind, his prospects of getting a job were already narrow, so he kept trying but even months’ struggle fetched him nothing. That is when he decided to meet the SSP Railway, Shiv Kumar Sharma and other Railway officials for help. He requested them to arrange some work and the SSP arranged an open telephone booth for him outside the Railway Station. He has been working at the same place from the past four years now.
In 2012, he filed a case against his father in a local police station but no output came as his father persistently refused to appear in the court. No legal action was taken against his absence and Ravinder was back to square one with no share in his father’s property despite his regular appeals. He even wrote letters to DM Faizabad, SSP Faizabad, Home Minister of India, Home Minister of Uttar Pradesh, President of India, Human Rights and Prime Minister Narendra Modi but none of the authorities have shown any concern till date.
From the PCO that he is running, Ravinder manages to earn Rupees 300 to 400 at the maximum. He visits his family every few months and sends them money once or twice a month. Despite the lack of support, he has managed to come this far and is still struggling and moving forward with the wee share of luck he has had throughout his life. He knows all the areas around and can walk freely without anybody’s support. He is aware of the money his customers pay and keeps a tight record of the payments. He knows well enough to operate the machine and to recognize the due bill just by the machine sounds.
However, the PCO booth is not a registered one and that has taken its toll on him many a time. He fears that anybody can complain against him and get it shut as that has happened before as well, however, he always managed to re-open the booth. He only wants a permanent source of income from the government. He has not let himself become a captive to his blindness and has been struggling hard for his every day survival. He refused to lose the battle of life and refused to quit. While sharing his tragic tale, he didn’t show a single frown or any sense of fear and sorrow, but of strength and will to go on. The only wish he has is that the government should provide him a permanent source of income as running an unregistered phone booth at the station is barely fetching him anything.