The Land of the Impotent

The title may generate mixed feelings. It may appear confusing, weird, incomprehensive, dreary and maybe even funny to some; but whatever the feelings maybe, it is the truth. Welcome to the Nasbandi Colony in Delhi. Well, it is actually in the NCR region, in the Ghaziabad District but nonetheless you will be surprised to find such a “colony” in close proximity to the capital of India.


Nasbandi means vasectomy, the surgical process of sterilisation. The colony had a more refined and a polished name till about two decades ago. It was called Buddha Nagar that time. The original residents of Buddha Nagar were Bangladeshis. They were driven away by police in surprise raids. The entire families were washed out of the colony. Some came back to sell their houses and then drifted again into oblivion. But, that was then. To tackle the problem of ever increasing population, the government came up with an unprecedented offer; get nasbandi, get a free plot of land. About five thousand people went for the scheme and soon Buddha Nagar became Nasbandi Colony.


The ‘offer’ takers were given 50 square yard plot at Buddha Nagar. It was more like a jungle that time. The situation has still not improved much. The roads are unpaved, the streets are full of filth, mosquitoes hover upon open drains, no source of potable water has led the residents to dug hand pumps, houses are unpainted, the people are even deprived of the modest privacy facilitated by curtains; the scenes are enough to make one gape in horror, disbelief and in pity. The situation is so bad that many have died due to diseases arising out of filth and many are suffering from liver complications. The ill health of many is the courtesy of dirty water and filth all around. The horrific conditions of the colony are enough to run a reality check for most of us. We all are used to cribbing when our air conditioners don’t work for even an hour in summers due to power cuts, think of the Nasbandi residents who have electricity for barely six hours. While we may be filling buckets crying over the ongoing recession and the cuts it has having on our pockets, those people are just swinging on the poverty line.


Most of the residents are Muslims. Some houses serve as factories. People earn menial livelihood by selling buffalo meat, making brass buttons, metallic springs, bakery shops, tailors and some spurious jewellers also. The amount of money these people make is sure to shock many of us. The buffalo meat is available for just Rs. 5 per plate, others earn around Rs 70 to Rs 200 per day. The movie lovers can watch a film on vcd in makeshift halls for Rs 5. While despair looms in the colony, hope floats!


The government has not bothered to open up any schools or colleges in the area. Probably they thought that after the ‘nasbandi’, there will not be any children and hence they didn’t feel the need for educational centres. But the fact of the matter is that there are children and they need to be educated. The children attend the private schools or madrasas. The children are denied even the simple luxury of parks. The budding cricketers hone their skills playing cricket in lanes. This is a place where, let’s completely forget the rich and such classes, even the municipality workers will not like to visit. Is it the case where the government started a colony and then completely forgot about its residents and the colony itself?


In case you are wondering that Nasbandi colony will not be having many residents, your expectations are just going to be gone for a toss. After the vasectomy, how is it that the colony is so crowded? How is it that the impotent people are still producing children? Now, we all are familiar of the fact that whenever the government brings out any scheme, people definitely find ways to circumvent it. The same happened in this case. While the deal was to induce men to get vasectomy done, they led their wives into going for the surgery. They got the promised plot and along came a new wife to bore them children. So the polygamy is at its peak and so is the production of children. Who knows what population control means!


This seems like a government project gone awry. There are many pitfalls. Not only the government failed to recognise the basic needs of the people and provide them with civic amenities, they have also failed to keep a tab on the polygamy practiced by menfolk. The women have been pushed beyond all dignity levels and the rights of motherhood also taken away. They struggle to feed their only children and also try to live in harmony with their husband’s second wife. The life is a constant struggle for these people. Visit the colony once; to see the struggle of the people, the horrific conditions in which they live and to see how the government ignores its people!


Shikha Tandon



[Image source:]


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