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As Religious Tolerance Wanes, Karwan-e-Mohabbat’s ‘Last in Line’ Documentary Offers Hope of Secularism

The short documentary delves into the lives of Delhi’s homeless.

As crimes against minority groups continue to rise in India, Karwan-e-Mohabbat’s short film, Last in Line — Katar Mein Peeche — raises hopes about the country’s fabric of unity in diversity remaining untorn. Narrated by Satyaveer, a social worker with Hausla, Last in Line presents a glimpse of how the homeless in Delhi live, indifferent to the communal divisiveness creeping into the society at large.

“The ones who are at the back, those who are last in the queue, who are economically and socially disadvantaged, these people are a deprived society in every way,” says Satyaveer in the film. He adds, “If you want to see brotherhood anywhere, this is where you will find it. Let us say, there is a group of four-five people. When even a single member earns, all of them share it.”

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Satyaveer, who was also homeless in Delhi for a few years, after moving to the capital from Fatehpur, in Uttar Pradesh, says there is the only reason why the destitute choose to relocate from their villages to the city — scarcity of job opportunities in villages as compared to the cities. “The people are helpless. They do not have any other option except for migration.”

“…These homeless people get up in the morning, (and) first, they visit the temple because Hanuman temple is nearby,” says Satyaveer, describing the daily routine of the homeless men and women. Adding that the people eat the temple offering of poori kachori for breakfast, Satyaveer remarks, “After that, they go to the mosque. If they want to eat non-vegetarian (food), they find it there. And when they find nothing elsewhere, they go the Gurudwara in Sis Ganj and come back to the night shelters and sleep.”

According to Satyaveer, this is what it is for these people. If these people were asked, what their idea of India is, they would say, “Where one can sleep well (and) where one’s stomach is full… That is the India I want.”

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