The picture is a little hazy, just like the dreams these kids dare to dream...maybe it is better that way.
These are children celebrating Independence day 2006. It was their decision, their planning and they even invited to local SHO, Mr Khan who always makes it a point to come.
They sang patriotic songs and spoke about freedom and what it meant to them. It is with pride that they hoisted the national tricolour and saluted it, their eyes looking up with hope and barely formulated dreams.
Most of them are OBCs or belong to some reserved category and yet not one of them knows it, let alone what it means and how it can change their lives. Most of them did not even go to school when pwhy decided to clean up a garbage dump and start its work. Today most of them have integrated school and some even topped their class. Suddenly the dreams seem less hazy.. or so they believe with their tiny hearts..
When I see these kids and realise how they trust us, I am at a total loss. The reality that they will grow up to seems bleak if not black! The protection that was so carefully crafted by those who wrote our constitution got hijacked without their knowledge and remodelled to suit other interests by the very people who should have guarded them. These kids will have their dreams shattered one by one at some stage or the other, it is is just a calamity waiting to happen.
As I watched students being doused by water guns in one of the anti quota rallies, I somehow felt that they may not have protested had children like the ones in the picture been the beneficiaries. But to reach that door, they have to walk passed many that still remain shut. The portals of the primary schools, the gates of the secondary one and then the entrance to higher education.
One does not need to be a rocket scientist to see the game Machiavellian game being played. The vested interests will ensure the loyalty of their vote banks while also perpetrating their illiteracy and hence their manipulability and all will be well in independent India where children of lesser gods have no voice.
I wonder what those like Gandhi or even simple people like my mother, who decided not to marry unless her land was free so that her child would not be a slave to the British would say?
Sixty years down the line, Indian children are still slaves: slaves to the greed of others, slaves to hidden agendas and much more. The Right to Education Bill lies unattended, dismissed, sent off to states whereas the bill to raise MPs was passed without a murmur.
That is the state of India, a tale of unkept and hijacked promises