Mohd Aasif | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI – “Waheguru has asked me to come in here and start the langar,” says advocate DS Bindra who practises law at the Karkardooma court and is now a prominent presence at Shaheen Bagh. His langar service on the lines of the free food service by the Sikh community is continuing at the protest site for many days now, and he is doing his best to help the sit-in protesters here.
Initially he didn’t think the sit-in protests would continue for very many days. Now, he is short of funds to organize the langar on a daily basis for longer periods. He would not leave this half-way, and decided to sell one of his flats to raise money for continuation of the langarl’.
About a hundred metres away from the protest site, under the foot over-bridge at 13A Road, Bindra with his wife and son runs the free food distribution programme.
While the anti-CAA protest in Shaheen Bagh has received tremendous support from across the country and members from different communities kept coming to the site to demonstrate their solidarity with the protesters, the langar service is seeing many men and women lining up under the over-bridge every day. Recently, a group of Sikh farmers from Punjab came to participate in the ongoing protest sit-in.
An advocate-turned social worker, Bindra believes that a particular community is being targeted by the BJP government at the Centre. “Muslims are being humiliated and downgraded more, in comparison to the members of other communities,” said Bindra, extending his support to the sit-in protest.
While leaders of the BJP have been spewing communal venom over the Shaheen Bagh sit-in campaign, Bindra says he wants to highlight the fraternity that exists between Sikhs and Muslims. The act is simply to turn the slogan of ‘Hindu-Muslim-Sikh Isayi, aapas me hain bhai-bhai’ (We are all brothers) into meaningful actions. “It’s easy to raise a slogan but not so easy to implement it,” notes Bindra.
Though many have admired Bindra’s langar service at Shaheen Bagh, the police and the local administration are not enthused. They tried to thwart the langar. Bindra notes that one day the police came in, disrupted the service and took away all the utensils from Bindra. Still, Bindra made sure that the langar continued, though at a modest level. The food was prepared in the parking area within the vicinity of the protest site and then distributed. The cause, he believes, is for the wider humanity.
A deep sense of respect for the women of Shaheen Bagh is reflected in Bindra’s words. In his eyes, these women are not mere human beings; they are brave and resolute lionesses. It has been 20 days since the langar is on there. Bindra says he had not thought of such a long period for the protest, or for the langar he started, and hence he faced financial constraints. He already spent more than what he could afford to. Then he decided to sell one of his flats to fetch some money.
Bindra says he has a home and two more flats under his ownership. He is resolute that he would continue with the langar service as long as the protest continues.
Condemning the communal views being expressed by leaders of the Hindutva brigade, Bindra says, “It does not matter what the invading ‘Mughals’ did long ago, and all those actions cannot be a justification for the wrongs we do now.”
“We are creating new history here now. Whenever the Shaheen Bagh sit-in protest is remembered, this langar and the fraternity of two communities too will be remembered,” he says.
The langar got massive support of the common people in the neighbourhood. Bindra notes this and says the people of Shaheen Bagh are doing an excellent job in continuing with the protests.
PLEA TO NEW GOVT IN DELHI
The chamber in Karkardooma Court has become less interesting to the advocate, these days, as he strives to continue with his philanthropic act. Keeping in view the expected results of the Delhi assembly elections, he pleads to the new elected representatives and the new government here, in advance, to come and talk with the women. “If they fail to do so, the struggle will further intensify,” he says.