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We, the Children of India!

June 30, 2008


Is this just that worth all the pain? We were strolling by a busy area in Bangalore for an evening cup of coffee at Barista or CCD. Much to my amazement of observing street fights, I noticed all people on the road gazing in one direction – this made me all the more curious to watch what was happening myself. This time, it wasn’t a fight; it was much more than that. A girl who was in her blooming childhood that most of us have lived in all care and love, was now walking there, on a rope tied in a kind of a circus setup – all in an attempt to earn the daily bread for her family. She could not even think of play, friends, fancy dresses, PC games, weekend getaways, restaurants that our genX children grow in or did she ever knew that anything like these existed? The busy locality that she was exhibiting her exorbitant skills in, is regarded one of the most posh localities of Bangalore – would she not be watching her age-mates dressed in all color, speaking English, being pampered by their mom and dad? Why has she been denied the privilege? Do you reason this with the typical Indian philosophical concept of ‘Karma’? Why doesn’t this happen in the Europe or the USA when ‘Karma’ is a universal concept? Wasn’t this one of the things why Houdini became that popular for? And it’s nothing spectacular that we see many such road-artists in India; I wonder as one of the mails that spoke about a mysterious gift to Mr JRD Tata quoted ‘I wonder what this guy was doing on the streets of India’? And I understand, there are things worse than these in Africa or elsewhere in the underdeveloped world.

But my question is – is this commendable in what is regarded as one of the most powerful third-world countries, one that is regarded as the most growing economies, one from where feature the ‘Ritchie Rich’s in the Forbes’ top-ten? What was even more paining was how the people around the event received it – all the ones there gazed at it in all excitement but when the child’s mother went around begging for the tips; there were all sorts there – a few gave a damn for it while a few others were generous enough to reach to their pockets to lend a penny and remember you, this was all happening at a place where you have some of the most expensive shops and the most infamous Bangalorean mall where it is very unlikely to find ‘poor’ people!

This has quite engrossed my thoughts since. Was this all worth happening in a place like India which carved out a niche from the rest of the world for it’s history that stood for generosity and the birthplace of philosophies like Buddhism? Many questions have been haunting me since, but I know this will die down in me for the friction my living in a buzzing city poses until something else enlivens my forgotten thoughts again. This event has added to all the menace I had carried from my deputation to Germany – why was our country no where in comparison with these and I find no progress headed anywhere in this direction. Out there in the West, there were laws that governed how children had to be brought up in absolute peace – hitting children is a crime there! There were laws that made people have children play-parks every few yards. Children ought to be in school for not more than 5 hours – they have compulsory arts and sports classes; we have them too, amongst which, most of them end up as supplementary classes to the unfinished portions or at times it’s even worse, there’s no teacher for all that! Every year I see a number of hoardings of new schools that claim to be of International standards; most of them established by the creamy section of the society, but, I receive very few mails that ask for a donation to save a poor child’s future! Can these schools not be opened for the deprived? Do we promise our children the fundamental rights of education they deserve? Do these children have no right to seek education – have their births deprived them of all rights to make themselves fit for a decent living? And we crib for the ascending crime-rate each day! Have we nothing to do with all this?

Who is to blame for all this? The Democracy? The population explosion? or the Ignorant? I would not blame the politicians , for, we know nothing happens if we do! It is no worth trying to convince our politicians what a massive explosion of population can bring and what’s quite apparent now and that these children would be a major part of the contribution to tomorrow’s India. I wouldn’t blame the children’s’ parents either, for, they could have taken measures not to have the child if they couldn’t afford to provide their children the care they need. I cannot reach them with my plea either – none of them would read the blogs or newspapers! Is there no rescue? Are there no Ram Shankar Nikhumbs to save each of those unfortunate Ishaan Awasthis who can not even make it to a school?

What else is worth taking from the West than the parties, pubs, hotdogs, burgers, pizzas, style…? There is a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Buffett’s philanthropy that contributes quite an amount of his earning to the charity, Jolie-Pitt Foundation and many more – do we have a Reliance Charitable Trust, Mittal’s Charity Foundation, AB Corp’s or Red Chillies’ Charity Organisations? What happened after Mother Theresa left us? Does that put an end to India’s featuring on the top charity offering institutions? The trend I see is even more scary – the educated get more rich, get their children educated and the cycle limits itself to the rich; what’s happening amongst the deprived – the poor have no money for themselves, they keep getting poorer and eventually evolve as the ‘bad’ Robinhoods!

At the least what have we to do with all this? Do we just see them as passing clouds that trigger an impulse of thoughts that ring and die by the time you have your next encounter at the road with a rash motorist, your spouse or your boss the next day? Who is going to save this young generation at all? Will India survive the competition with all this? When we can afford for a 40-for-a-cup coffee or a 200-for-a-feast lifestyle, can we not contribute that fraction of our earnings to pay for a child’s education? How pleasing would it be to see that sparkle of a smile on a poor mom’s face on the pavement or a traffic signal when her child gets a piece of clothing or a toy gifted? What an enchanting life would it be to support for that fortunate child, who would have been on the streets earning her life the hard way otherwise? How delightful would your maid’s happy face make you each day because you have supported her children to go to the school every day or you have paid for their school vacation? How amusing would it be to embrace the smile on the Dhobi’s otherwise tired face if you bought his son a nice book or a toy? The poor seeking help in India are ubiquitous, have we ever extended our arms to them? Have we ever thought of these little mundane things that are no less than a spiritual experience or if we have done, have we ever tried materialising it? For those who have come this far, my hearty gratitude. And for the other soft-hearted, I hope this piece of portrayal from me atleast triggers that latent passion to make India a brighter place.

(Disclaimer: This article is written by one of my friends who hasn’t blogged yet and wishes to bring his opinion to the public)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2008 7:38 pm

    the world needs you and me,that is it.that is what we are here for and to do it we need to be together! YU! for it is youth unite!

  2. creativerajat permalink
    June 30, 2008 8:16 pm

    My thoughts on this : Similar problem in different forms exist everywhere in the world . Do you know that in Britain only 3% of the population really get married and have legal children ? The flip side of this is 97% of the people are either divorced or live together ..Result is 1 orphan children out of the every 5 children you meet..How is this impacting the society ? Teenage Crime has increased and there are 16 murders in London in last 6 months all due to teen violence..and the knife culture among teens. Maybe India is better in such case, I think the point is not the problems , its rather what we should focus, based on our core skills we need to take small steps and solve them, there are orphanages like Narendra Nele who take all rag-pickers and other children and educate them and lead them to lead a better life at no cost…It would perhaps be good if you and your friends take the ownership and try to solve this problem. If you need further info do contact me.

  3. bharati kurien permalink
    July 1, 2008 1:11 am

    This and more is true. However there are literally thousands of child prostitutes, some babies, in the US. American female ( and male) friends tell me of incest in their homes. This does not excuse India or me but makes one wonder why you feel this happens in India. In the US 500 teens die every year in work related incidents: almost 2 a day. Many people watching this are poor themselves. However I agree everyone but everyone who thinks must help. LOL

  4. Sakhi permalink
    July 2, 2008 1:50 pm

    good thought provoking post and i agree completely with rajat and bharati!

  5. October 23, 2008 2:36 am

    Come and see my blog
    I am going to read your blog. I may even have some quesitions for you.

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