Fading Innocence. Aren’t we responsible???

My friend, Rakesh, shared this pic about two weeks back and I had requested him to let me use this pic in one of my posts.  

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Picture Courtesy: Rakesh Sharma
“I saw a boy today…. he was staring at us from a distance with a small baby in his hands, while we were busy enjoying our snacks at nearby sweet shop. Out of generosity, we offered him couple of laddoos. He came running with a spark in his eyes, as if he has got the best treat of the day. 
 
He gently took the plate and sat down in the corner. 
 
I thought he will finish them in no time. But the next moment I was surprised to see that the boy took a small piece from laddoo and started feeding the little baby, while looking towards opposite direction. Probably he was afraid if he looks at the laddoos, he might get tempted and eat babies share. I kept observing them for a while before I clicked this picture. The boy did not even once looked towards the plate. 
 
I met a baby today… who has got the best brother in the world…. “

Hats off to the boy for his patience, compassion and kindness towards his little brother. How many of us are able to control our cravings or desires? I am a mother, and yet I am not sure if I’ll ever give away everything for the sake of my little ones. I am being very honest. 

This pic struck me because that very day I was out with family on an outing and saw something which made me really really sad. I saw another family at the restaurant, a husband, wife, a baby girl and a toddler about 7-8 years old, dressed impressively. Along with them was another girl who was aged about 9-10, dressed shabbily. She was their domestic help. The family was having food, while the little girl was engaged with the baby. When the ice-cream came, the toddler told his Mom to serve for the little girl too, but the lady said, “Kamli khaana ghar par khaa legi.” (Translation: Kamli will have it at home.)

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I felt so bad about it. First you hire a child illegally to help you with your household chores, and then you don’t have the basic courtesy to offer food to him/her. How much will it cost to feed a 10 year old child? That too one that is just about the same age as your kids. If that was your intention, you should not have brought the kid with you at all. While you want the very best for your children, you shamelessly choose to neglect another child completely, even though you are utilizing him/her for your own benefit. What example are you putting forth for your children?

Another similar case

Every morning, on my cab route at one of the pick-up points, I see a boy (around 14 years of age) crossing the road with another boy dressed in school uniform. One day, the boy in school uniform stumbled and fell down on the road. A lady rushed out of the house on the opposite side of the road and furiously slapped the other boy, who surely must be their domestic help. I am a witness that there was no fault of the boy. He was pleading that it wasn’t his mistake, but the lady didn’t even bother to ask anything or listen to him. Would she treat him the same way if it was her own child?

It is such irrational behavior that wipes off their innocence and fills them with aggression and hatred for the society, which is us. Isn’t it our social responsibility too to help the children get out of this kind of inequality and torture?
child-labour-poster

Child labour is the practice of having children engage in economic activity, on part or full-time basis. The practice deprives children of their childhood, and is harmful to their physical and mental development. Poverty, lack of good schools and growth of informal economy are considered as the important causes of child labour in India.[1][2]The 2001 national census of India estimated the total number of child labour, aged 5–14, to be at 12.6 million.[3] The child labour problem is not unique to India; worldwide, about 217 million children work, many full-time.[4]In 2001, out of a 12.6 million, about 12 million children in India were in a hazardous job.[5] UNICEF estimates that India with its larger population, has the highest number of labourers in the world under 14 years of age, while sub-saharan African countries have the highest percentage of children who are deployed as child labour.[6][7][8] International Labour Organisation estimates that agriculture at 60 percent is the largest employer of child labour in India,[9] while United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates 70% of child labour is deployed in agriculture and related activities.[10] Outside of agriculture, child labour is observed in almost all informal sectors of the Indian economy.[11][12][13]

Article 24 of India’s constitution prohibits child labour. Additionally, various laws and the Indian Penal Code, such as the Juvenile Justice (care and protection) of Children Act-2000, and the Child Labour (Prohibition and Abolition) Act-1986 provide a basis in law to identify, prosecute and stop child labour in India.[20]

Information Source: Wikipedia

Say-No-To-Child-Labour

Child Labour is so prevalent in our country that you see it happening in every nook and corner. This is something we know is illegal and yet we find it happening around us and we comfortably choose to ignore it. You get to hire children for domestic help at very cheap rates and there is no check on the agent through law and order. They deliver you a girl aged 10 and on papers she’ll be 18+. Lack of education and employment opportunities are the main reason for this social menace. 

My question is how does your conscience allow you to make a child work like this?

Aren’t we responsible for the growing number of child labourers? 

The Chotu who serves you tea, coffee, maggi at the roadside eatery, the 13-14 something rickshaw puller who is working out to support his family because his father didn’t have an employment, the Raju who washes the utensils outside the countless Aggarwal outlets….the list is endless. The children of the presswale bhaiya in the neighborhood bunk school and help their parents in delivering the ironed clothes to various flats in my locality. I ensure to give them a lamba lecture on the subject such that for the next full-week they do attend school and come back to me and inform me what they learnt that week. Feels good.

I believe Each One, Teach One is the mantra that can help. Sometimes, your words can help someone somewhere.

  • Refuse to accept minors as domestic helps. 
  • Try and help the kids get into schools
  • Help them in whatever little ways you can by offering old clothes, books, utensils, etc. 
  • Help their parents find an employment opportunity
  • Make them aware of the need for education
  • Spread the Word – Ensure your friends and family do not end up being a catalyst in spreading child labour. 


Save-The-Children1

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6 Replies to “Fading Innocence. Aren’t we responsible???”

  1. This was such a nice comprehensive post which speaks volumes about how passionate you are about this particular topic and are not just engaged in giving lip service to this particular cause.

    Kudos to your efforts in this regard.

  2. Your will to do good, be good and spread good shows through yours posts. Thank you, Rekha. Very few have the time or the inclination to bother. Particularly love the pointers in the end. Sharing your post on twitter, if you don’t mind. 🙂

  3. Loved your post. Sometimes when I see such people who not only hire minors as help but also mistreat them, I feel like shaming them in public. You have so correctly said that we see so much of wrongdoing going on around us and we comfortable choose to ignore it.

  4. Hats off, Rekha for this post. It’s such a shame how you exploit children. After all, how much money it will cost to make the poor girl happy by buying her a scoop. 25, 50 or 75?! Shame! Shame on them! And, you slap the poor boy. I wonder what will prick their conscience! Long time back, I wrote something on robbed childhood and I will re-blog it.

  5. I’ve come across people who bring minors from their home-towns to work as full-time domestic help. These kids look about 14 years old, but they’ve all been coached to claim that they’re 18.
    Your comment about the schoolboy’s mother slapping the domestic help is absolutely correct. We ourselves create anger and frustration among large sections of society. Also, the same mother may have taught her son the answers to various questions in subjects like Moral Science and Civics the previous evening!

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