During the recent spurt of communal violence in Delhi, the most affected in terms of localities were the poverty-stricken areas and underprivileged groups like women, children and senior citizens, in terms of citizens. Although, terror and panic were felt across Delhi. However, despite this horrifying situation, the savda-ghevra slum resettlement of Delhi was free from any kind of violence and fear. Instead, during the outrage, they witnessed communal harmony in their area.
The reason is the empowered women of savda-ghevra, who take pride to be called as the “Harshingar Mahila Samuh”.
When the situation was tense across the city, this women collective of savda-ghevra took a pledge among themselves that neither will they allow any kind of violence to take place in their area, nor they will allow any unrest and chaos to prevail, thereby preventing havoc.
They completely understood the seriousness of such a conflict situation which was prevailing in the city and also had the ability to analyse the horrific consequences of these conflicts.
They did not just educate themselves about the consequences but also educated their children, husbands, neighbours and other concerned people of the area regarding the aftermath of such large scale violence.
They gathered, discussed the existing situation in Delhi and made their own plan of action to not disturb the communal harmony in the area. By doing so, they became the flag-bearers of peace and ray of hope to maintain communal harmony.
These efforts present an example that when women of any society become active, even a conflict situation can be resolved peacefully.
On one hand, in some parts of Delhi, section 144 (ban on assembly) of the Criminal Procedure Code,1973 was imposed; people were restraining themselves due to the havoc and on the other hand, these women of savda-ghevra were taking out peace rallies with the police authorities in the wake of the Delhi communal violence. Isn’t it commendable? Indeed, it is. Not even a single report of violence was filed from this particular area.
People of savda-ghevra are living peaceful and harmonious lives when there is hue and cry across Delhi. The women of savda-ghevra stood as a wall to protect their community.
Savda-ghevra, a slum resettlement colony lying on the outskirts of North-west Delhi has witnessed momentous efforts by women to battle injustice against them through legal means.
Savda- ghevra has a population of approximately 40,000 people. Barely 10 years ago, the same colony was isolated, mosquito-infected, and an overgrown patch of land with no water, toilets, clinics, schools, roads or even public transport.
Previously, the women were facing a lot of problems especially water, sanitation, hygiene issues etc. The women of savda were living a very depressing life. With the continuous intervention of Multiple Action Research Organisation (MARG), they were made aware of their right to information, the procedure to obtain the information, and awareness regarding WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) rights.
With a lot of struggle and hardships of many years, now, the people of savda get adequate water which has eradicated many of their problems. Henceforth, there is no turning back for the women of Harshingar Mahila Samuh.
It is one real story of women which exemplifies that empowered women are limitless and strong. Their insight made them a “shantidoot” (messenger of peace) in this outrageous atmosphere.
The women of savda have their own voice and they don’t hesitate to ask for their fundamental rights. The right to live peacefully comes under the purview of Article 21 of the Constitution of India i.e. “right to life and personal liberty”.
The women of savda-ghevra are the real stars and inspiration to many other women living in underprivileged societies. They exemplify the saying” “your courage is your strength”. We hereby take a pledge to make sure that these efforts reach each and every Indian.