Monday, June 1, 2009

Angels and Demons

Nope, never and surely not the Tom hanks’ stuff!
Eight months plus- a period, perhaps during when I was halted to swing in to burst out things for which I can never do anything alone but with support, to see a 100% positive and pleasing results.. No, this doesn’t mean that my anterior pituitary is malfunctioning, neither non-functioning. It’s all just because the priorities I have given were not so self-invoking to explode in this uniform resource location.

The days went on after the last September. Like what happens with us, when somebody whom we know leaves this real world… happened to me as well. The thoughts about the core of my previous blog, gradually moved on to a phase ‘not-so-frequent’ and probably will go even more diluted as the incumbent moves to top and usually we do not regret for that and that is what is called ‘nature’ in this context. Nevertheless, something else that keeps on striking my mind ever since I realized the immense suffering of which is part of the so called developing nations.

I think it was a decade and a half ago, when I started understanding the probable trauma a child could undergo and trying to withstand when he/she has to work for the family at a very young age. Yes, the popular term ‘child-labour’ was not so obvious for me before and by then, but as I grew up, thanks to the news, articles etc., on the happenings and effects, the ignorance of such sufferings got uprooted from my inside.

I should acknowledge my family, relatives and friends primarily, probably, to develop a very intimate affection towards children since I was a child (?!!) I think that might be a reason to start analyzing the above mentioned. One of my friends used to say “The very big, worst and only problem a child has is… it cannot be a child always and it will grow up”. That’s the very feel-bad-factor, indeed?! An absolute true thing is that a child cannot be as a child ever. So why people look for labourers in the form of children?

The answer may lead to ‘poverty and illiteracy’ for a country like India. It is true that it is not only the contribution by the people who employ children but also by the children themselves and their families too. Understanding this bottom line, the Indian government has setup a system that starts from Gurupadswamy committee and moving on through Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act and adding with a National Policy on Child Labour, all of which contain the usual and standard government format of information delivery, as we can read and understand.

But, how effectively it has been implemented? It may sound like, perhaps once again, blaming the government. Notwithstanding the implementation of laws and acts, as the government’s research and analysis explains or states that it is very difficult to eradicate it completely because of the basic reasons, but how effectively various alternatives can be made, for example building schools for providing education, in the regions where the problem is in extreme condition. The papers add on with a list of hazardous occupations and processes in which a child’s entry as a labourer is completely banned (more on Child Labour, Child Labour in India). I think we can even add for the kids who are used for Fashion show ramp walk too in this list. Read this: Lakme Fashion Week

We may ask; So what? As common men, what else we can do to protect a child from such conditions? At times it is very difficult to skip ‘Social darwinism’ but may be altered as ‘artificial-selection’.

Couple of considerations I could think of:
1. Why don’t we avoid buying things from such children? (if everybody does it - we may indirectly develop an intention to steal things if it cannot be legally obtained)
2. Why don’t we stop going to hotels/ restaurants/ shops, where children are employed? (if everybody does it - we may end up in aggravating poverty, because of loss of job).

Beyond this if we still look more, we may get doubts like - How do we know for all products we use in everyday life does not involve child labour for which we can again easily point to government as is the case : a legal measure / law / rule should be implemented to print that info on the pack after verification.

Then what? Probable suggestions:
1. Primarily try to have empathy more than the natural sympathy and try to trigger the same in others too
2. General awareness through word of mouth - spread the message to near and dear
3. More intensive awareness programmes either self-initiative or through service organizations
4. Violation of rules (the rule base says: employee’s minimum age 14)may be informed to the government officials (dial toll free : 1098)
a. Info by Times of India
b. Info by Karmayog
5. If solely possible, adopt the alternatives (it is very clear, not adoption of the child) for the child like providing education, food, clothes etc.; else join hands with more people, again through existing NGO services or form a group of people through which things can happen legally and smoothly - of course lots of efforts to be initiated for the latter

Though our independent India’s first prime minister officially and publically made his birthday as children’s day, still we are witnessing child abuses and ill treatments in random

Though the laws have been legally floated for three decades, it is only a very meager improvement in terms of what government ‘expects’ and what the children want

Though sometimes we adults act as demons for the cute little angels, the angels are always angels.

Whatever we could do, will ultimately be made possible in India, only through the couple of ministries - Ministry of Labour and employment; Women and Child Development. Let us wait to see, how the new Cabinet Minister and MoS are going to react and respond to this issue.
Mallikarjun Kharge - Cabinet Minister: Ministry of Labour and Employment

Harish Rawat - Minister of State: Ministry of Labour and Employment

Krishna Tirath - Minister of State: Ministry of Women and Child Development

Let us look forward positively.

At this juncture, I remember a quote by Rabindranath Tagore
“Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of humanity.”


JohnNRI said...

The pictures and message are so touching Venni. I think the root cause is poverty. I believe there wont be many parents who send their kids to work though they earn enough money for their basic needs. Our country gives free education, that is great. It would be good if they can give a minimum amount of money to disabled people who cant work like pension. And laws about minimum wages per hour should be enforced strictly. What we see is a pathetic situation where private schools hire teachers for as small as salary as Rs.1000 per month and less. I agree with you. Childhood is precious. No one should have to work during childhood.

Vennimalai N said...

Thanks for the comment 'GDN'John.
It is very much true which I fear if I can't contribute anything to this issue. For sure, i require non-confusing possibly implementable suggestions through which we can do something!

Vijay said...

1. Why don’t we avoid buying things from such children?
2. Why don’t we stop going to hotels/ restaurants/ shops, where children are employed?

Nice considerations, Professor. But, what do think will happen if we say an abrupt 'no' to the services of child labour? Do you really think those kids will pack their lunch boxes and go back school? My best guess is most of them will end up in conditions much worse than what they are going through now.

Most children work under those conditions only because there are no better alternatives available for them. And, because they are working for lack of any better available alternatives, any efforts aimed at improving the lives of child labourers must not jeopardize the jobs that they already have.

Vennimalai N said...

no 'professor' please..., you mean it?... ahem! neither 'doctor' too.,
never mind any ways!!

I do agree that there will be a drastic downfall for their income inturn in their daily bread and butter or idly and chutney or kanji and venkayam. As you said, the 'alternatives' must not jeopardize- but not the job instead their life. Those may probably be from 'grown ups' who possess more money and contribute more on india's (others too!) economically imbalanced reserve.
Indian National Economy
source: href=""
With over a quarter of the world's poor concentrated in India, poverty is the government's biggest priority.

Classified as a "low income" country by the World Bank with a GNI (gross national income) of $450.
Great inequality in the distribution of wealth: the richest tenth of households hold 33% of wealth, while the poorest tenth only hold 3%
29% of the population lives below the poverty line; 70% of these people reside in rural areas
86% of the population lives under $2 per day; 44% lives under $1 per day
25% of the population does not have enough money to eat adequately
Because of the high levels of poverty in the countryside, huge numbers of migrants are flocking to the cities in search of a job and a better life. The cities cannot support this swelling much longer, meaning that rural living must be improved to retain people.


CIA. The CIA World Fact Book: India. 10 Feb. 2003
Datanet India Pvt. Ltd. 7 Feb. 2003
Press and Information, Embassy of India. Embassy of India, Washington D.C. 7 Feb. 2003
The World Bank. India Data Profile. 7 Feb. 2003

With such conditions, yes, the little children are always or mostly forced or have no other way to go except to choose this. But still I believe and trust the economically and wealthily pushed-up people will contribute and so will the children's sufferings be possibly wiped off soon or if not gradually in future.

Vennimalai N said...

If the condition during 7-8 years back was so worrisome, we can estimate the present and so is my trust for the future.

I do want to, probably, show off little bit that I wish I would be one such wealthy person, atleast to start putting a big 'full-stop' for this!