“I wish to go home. But who will trace my roots and who will take me there? It’s enough that they take care of me,” said Ram Singh, 47, a Nepalese, who is bedridden for ten years at an old age home in Shimla.
Ram Singh is from Gunam in Rolpa district in Nepal and had come to Himachal Pradesh in search of employment while he was a minor. He injured his spine, when he worked as daily wagers in forests under a private contractor with the State Forest Development Corporation to lift the logs of woods.
“I was admitted to Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) hospital in Shimla with serious injuries by the contractor, who never returned after leaving me there. I was hospitalised for long and was then shifted to this Home,” Ram Singh told The Statesman.
“I don’t even remember my home in Nepal as I left it in childhood for work,” said another inmate from Nepal, Sonam Bahadur, 43.
Sonam’s legs were amputated some years ago after he met with an accident in the forest. He has, however, learnt to brave the odds of disability as he moves around on inexpensive indigenous seat, which he manually operates.
Like Ram Singh, Sonam too was abandoned in the hospital by the contractor he worked with and his treatment expenses were also reportedly borne by Red Cross Society and the authorities at IGMC, then.
These are not the isolated cases of poor Nepalese housed in this Old Age Home, Basantpur in Shimla district, run by the Social Welfare Board.
There are eight such inmates here, who belong to Nepal and had left their native place long back in search of livelihood, for poverty back home. Among others, these include a deaf and dumb widow, Ganga Devi rescued from Rohru (Shimla) with her husband (who died later) and elderly Bal Bahadur, who earlier lived in a self-created cave like structure in abject poverty a rock near Shimla.
In all, there are 38 inmates from different parts of India in the Home.
With no official requirement of documents in hand, the Nepalese inmates have no clue about their roots. By the time they grew up here, they lost touch with their family members in Nepal. There is no mechanism in the state, as well, to find out their background in routine, for lack of link ups, resources, time and above all, priority.
“Where to go? It’s our compulsion to live in captivity. God has at least given us shelter and food,” said Sonam.
He points to the lock at the gate of Home that bars all inmates (even the normal ones) from moving out for a puff of fresh air. This conveyed his ‘untold pain’ even more.