Anjali Singh’s family remembers the 20-year-old as a happy person who enjoyed producing Instagram Reels and playing with kids. Her death in a horrible hit-and-run case has spurred protests in India. Dilnawaz Pasha of BBC Hindi puts together a picture of the woman whose dreams were violently crushed one chilly winter night.
Anjali used to post videos of herself dancing and lip-syncing to well-known Bollywood tunes while wearing glitzy outfits to her now-deactivated Instagram account.
Her day-to-day existence was very different.
Anjali was the only provider for a family that relied on free meals that the government provided to Indians who were struggling economically. She supported herself by providing women in the area with makeup services.
Although they led a difficult life, they never lost hope, according to her mother Rekha. Before now.
In the early hours of January 1st, Anjali perished in Delhi, the capital of India, when her bike and a car collided. The five people inside the car allegedly panicked after the collision and continued driving for distances while dragging her body. They were taken into custody.
The provisional cause of Anjali’s death, according to the post-mortem report, was “shock and hemorrhage owing to damage to the brain, spine, left femur, and both lower limbs.”
The fact that Anjali’s body was found naked led to her family alleging that she had been sexually assaulted, although police said the post-mortem examination revealed no evidence to support this.
While the inquiry is ongoing, Anjali’s family is having a hard time accepting what happened.
The responsible daughter
Anjali was a member of the Dalit (previously untouchable) caste, which is at the bottom of India’s strict, merciless caste system. She resided in the Mangolpuri neighbourhood in north-west Delhi in a modest one-room home with a kitchen.
She was the second of six children, and as a teenager, she left school to help support her family.
Rekha lost her job as a low-paid assistant in a school during the Covid lockdown. Her spouse had passed away eight years before. Around that time, she began to suffer from severe kidney disease, which rendered her unable to work.
Her mother claims that Anjali thereafter assumed full responsibility for the family.
She took makeup classes at a nearby beauty salon and soon started assisting neighbours who wanted to dress up for weddings and other events. At weddings, where she typically worked with a group of other ladies who welcomed guests, she would also make some money.
A younger sister and two of her sisters were married. Anjali, however, asserted that she would get married when her younger brothers, who attend a local government school, completed their studies.
Rekha explains, “She stated she would only be married if her spouse agreed to stay with us so she could keep looking after us.”
Anjali maintained her optimism despite the difficulties she was facing.
“She never stopped grinning. She enjoyed dressing up, making reels, and films “says her mother.
Anjali was well-known in her community as well; according to Rekha, her daughter’s protests to local officials led to the street’s potholes being filled. She had been working to get a suitable drain installed in the region around the time of her death.
Rekha claims that her neighbours even urged her to run in future local elections after asking her to do so.
Anjali borrowed money and purchased a scooter to aid with her transportation five years ago. She was riding the same scooter when she passed away just as she was about to pay it off.