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Radical Housing and Socially-Engaged Art

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16 June 2015, Satender Tiwari

When I was roaming around the Khoj Street I found the shop where a women sitting in front of her computer alone in the shop and I saw the shop name ‘Shri Ji Solution’ above on the board. Then I entered into the shop for taking her views and thinking about women at Khirki Village and Hauz Rani, specifically for Khoj Street. When I entered in her shop she asked me, how can I help you. I think she thought that I was her customer. I replied, “Mam, I am from Khoj and doing a project in Khirki Village and Hauz Rani” and explained about the project. After hearing me she replied, you could talk with other girls or women in Hauz Rani, they are more helpful then me. After further request she agreed to talk.

The owner’s name is Sonam Gupta. After her permission I sit on the chair in her shop and ask her what do you think about your shop’s street in concern to the women and girls and why they are very less visible in comparison to men. Then she answer me there are all workers living in this street in front of the streets and backside of street. They all are standing in the street on road and talking with each other in a loud voice and they don’t bother about anybody who are walking around and traffic.

These workers are living in a small rooms with 5 to 10 person for sharing their rent. In their small room there are no enough space for everyone to stay together and rest together, then they all are on the road and sleep also at night.

There are cloth factories/workshops, biscuit factory, workshops and contractor who need these workers for their work. They live with their own community.

I asked her, are they misbehaving to anybody or anything wrong?

“When they don’t have any work they stand in a group at any shop and chat. They enjoy looking at girl and women, sometimes whispering, whistling. The ladies and a girls who wear short dresses, they pass comments and it’s a normal thing in Khirki and Hauz Rani.

Most of Khirki women and girls ignore this street to pass through another street just before the cobbler to access the main road. I also do but due to my shop I use this street otherwise I don’t.

Building in front of shop was not there 4 or 5 years ago. Before this building there were 700 workers lived on this land but after this building they moved in Khirki but most of them spend their time in the Khirkee street.”