Art n Life

Ignoring a focus on the malady!

Richa Dogra | April 13, 2020 05:31 PM

Railway stations , busy  road crossings , outside the temples , on the streets , almost anywhere we shall find small children petitioning for alms. It is either their parents or patrons who have pushed them into this state of living. Their bad physical health and hygiene as well as nutritional deficiencies reflect too openly how they are leading a subhuman life. We rummage the pockets and part with a few coins to help them. That done , we think our reaction to their predicament has offered a solution.

In fact this kind of apathetic approach is responsible for incentivizing their back-stage manipulators , be they parents or the kingpins of begging. In many cases they are children abducted and initiated into this mode of existence , often living at the mercy of their heartless masters. These children find themselves trapped in a tunnel without an end. Even where the people who push them into begging are the parents , these children end up becoming beggars for a life time. Any gesture of  misplaced help that we offer only pushes them further down the slope.

Overpopulation and poverty are the usual alibis offered for perpetuation of this social blot. The truth is that if a child below a certain age cannot be employed under the law, such children doing it at somebody’s behest should be taken into custody in order to apprehend their wrong doers. If begging is discouraged , these children are used by their promoters to sell things at the crossings. Again this kind of employment is unlawful. They usually sell balloons and toys or window blinds for cars.

As an Indian festival arrives , they can be seen offering things related to the festive occasion. They sell mini Tricolours near the Independence Day and Republic Day. They sell masks of characters from the Ramayana near the Dussehra days. Come Diwali , and they can be seen offering candles and diyas or fancy electric lights of Chinese origin. Are these children so well informed ? Are they planners in marketing ?

Surely , it is a clever mind working non-stop behind these maneuvers. It is the people owning the road side itinerant vending conducted through small children. Everything happens in public view and yet no one takes the trouble to confront this issue. The human resource department keeps its eyes closed. The police excuse themselves in the name of being already over-burdened. Consequently , these children are left to  the mercy of their handlers who can shift them to different locations or even sell them to new masters. Then , they may end up as exploited workers in some forbidden industry where life is full of health and moral hazards. We know it . The agencies who must act know it too well. Yet , we willfully avoid a focus on the malady and think that someone else shall do it one day. That day does not really come ! The things go on , because a focus is lacking !

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