My Story: While Growing Up On The Railway Station, I Would Dream Of A Better Future For Myself

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My Story: 'While Growing Up On The Railway Station, I Would Dream Of A Better Future For Myself'

Vishal Mridul lost his father in childhood, after which, his mother married elsewhere. At 8 years of age, he was left on the Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station to fend for himself.

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My mother married someone else after my father died. My stepfather did not like me, so I found myself at Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station at eight years. During the day, I, along with other kids, made water-bottle seals and ate food from the money we earned. I stayed at the railway station for two years, in which I have met all kinds of people. I kept myself away from all the intoxications and bad influences because I believed I would make my future. A few years later, PCI opened a centre at the railway station, where children would be called to the daycare for education and food. I went there intending to get free food.

When the teacher saw that I was a bright student, she sent me to the PCI shelter home in Wazirabad. While staying there, I passed grade 5, after which I was chosen for Bal Sahyog from Bal Kalyan Samiti for a better future. At 17 years, I was sent for several courses, but I could not study well because I was under pressure, since I would be provided for, only till I turned 18 years old. I have learnt vocational training in Bakery, English speaking, tailoring and several others. I applied for a job in Sri Aurobindo Ashram and went there. I have done rock climbing in several places in the country.

Worked In Several Places To Make A Living

In my life, I have worked in almost all places. I would teach dance until I got an opportunity from a renowned dance academy in Mumbai. While in the city of dreams, I applied for a job in Taj Lands' End Hotel and started working there. After working there for two years, I built several contacts and applied for a passport.

However, during the Police verification, the cops told me that I gave a workplace address; hence, my passport could not be made. The Police asked me to go back to Delhi. Yet, my passport could not be made.

Questioned My Indian Citizenship

I came to the village where my aunt lived. I gave her the address for all my government documentation and applied for the passport again in 2020. They again directed me to Delhi during the verification since I grew up there. Moreover, they raised a question about my citizenship. Now, since I have grown up in government shelter homes, the government already has my name in the records; what else should I give to prove that I am an Indian?

I have run from pillar to post in Delhi and West Bengal and met several senior officials. With many difficulties, I have applied for a passport several times. I went back to Delhi to find my birth certificate, and now, I have come back to West Bengal and have applied for a passport, with all the required filing, yet nobody has reverted. I have an online petition going on at Change.org for the same. I want to go abroad to earn and build a better future for myself. All my documents are in place, but I am still denied this opportunity. I cannot help but wonder, is my passport not being made just because I am an orphan? I have braved many challenges to create a life for myself, but the struggle I have had to get my Indian passport made has left me completely helpless.

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Editor : Snehadri Sarkar
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Creatives : Ratika Rana