is this the India we want

In my last post I had vented some of my thoughts in response to a question I had been asked about feeling helpless at the plight of poor children begging at red lights and other places and of course one had to refer to the 'two Indias' and the widening gap between them.

Yesterday once again a story was aired on TV aptly named the Real Face of India. The story began thus: In the state of Andhra Pradesh, there is a swanky international airport, a controversial one, and on the other side, there are school students taking their board examinations in knee deep water. One would be justified in thinking it was a joke of some kind but sadly no! The pictures actually showed children giving their Board examinations with their feet in water! And if that was not enough in another school kids were made to write their examinations in a pitch dark room by candlelight! In a country where the marks you obtain decide your future I wonder what would happen to these children.

I also wonder if this is the India we hoped for. One where some are reaching the sky while others are being pushed into deeper holes. Talking of holes one cannot but think of the little Vandana who fell into a 45 feet pit and was rescued only 28 hours later. The question that one needs to ask is why was a bore well left gaping and who was responsible.

But it does not end there. Young Rinky brutally thrashed by her teacher for having chosen another tutor dies in hospital this morning after long months of agony. Wonder who will pay for this death.

Yesterday Roshni who works at our women centre, has seven children and barely survives, told us that the reason she had put her daughters into a private school - read teaching shop - because they did not have birth certificates - the poor woman did not know that an affidavit would have solve the situation - had also to send them for tuition to the class teacher. I wonder if they would have met the same fate had she refused to do so.

Is this the India we want for our children: one where corporal punishment is the order of the day one where an insensitive administration forgets to cover the holes they have dug, one where children have to write their destiny defining examination in the dark or in water!

Yesterday TV channels were all praise for the Army team that rescued little Vandana. We salute them too but is it not ironical that soldiers have to be called to cover up messes made by the so called administration? Who will hold the administration responsible.

Yesterday again TV channels vented their anger on Rinky's death and demanded answers from the faceless, heartless and soulless administration. Many luminaries joined the show and every one agreed that education stinks, that children are innocent targets, that teaching is now a simple commercial activity - but does one beat one's customer -. One anchor was honest enough to say that the nation will express its outrage and anger for a day or so till the next news comes to hog the limelight. Ominous words they were as while Rinky's pyre still smoldered the same channel had to - TRP obliges - shift Rinky's story from its lead to replace it by the very juicy interview of a cricket biggie caught in a net of corruption.

The children of India - oops I should say the children of one India - have been let down by each and every one. Whereas the constitution guarantees them free education, schools run by the government are in an abysmal state and children are brutally beaten each and every day in all schools.

Vulnerable children are beaten mercilessly as a nation watches and does nothing.

Where are we going...

Is this the India we want