Don't lose faith in her
were my pa's final dying words. 'Her' in this occurrence is India. That was 21 years ago. I must admit it has been no easy task to keep the faith, specially as for the past 13 years I have seen its underbelly in more ways than one. One often plays the game of comparing persons to animals. In India's case it would be loads of hyenas and vultures who feed on the helplessness, hopelessness, vulnerability and despair of others. To keep faith is not easy task and yet when you are about to give up, a cameo appears unexpectedly and brings back to your senses. This has happened to me over and over again and perhaps that is why in the midst of corruption, scandals, gimmickry and aberrations one holds on to that little glimmer of hope.
For the past month I have been going to the Temple every morning as I have taken a pledge to do so for the well being of my loved one. Every morning I get a red thread tied on my wrist by a so called priest sitting outside the sanctum sanctorum. Like all Hindu mores, this too has a series of rites prescribed for the last day when you cut all the threads. One of them is of course giving alms to the priest. Imagine my shock this morning when the said priest asked me for a mobile phone as his 'fee'. I was surprised and outrage. Even religion had its share of hyenas and vultures. I almost swore to myself that I would stop visiting temples once for all.
But someone had other plans. As I walked back the long alley that leads to the temple I saw a mother combing the hair of her elder daughter while her two younger daughters stood by. What was striking was that all three were in their school uniforms. I could not resists asking if they went to school and the mother proudly said that they did. A simple glance at the two large plastic bags stuffed with things confirmed that I had suspected. They were beggars
who lived in the Temple and slept on the long covered interspersed with a few fans. That is in fact the 5* sleeping place for beggars. The woman and her husband begged during the day but sent their three daughters to school. I asked the little girl if she went to tuition as without tuition there is scant learning in our schools. The mother proudly said that her elder one did and she paid 600 rs a month! I told them about project why and will ensure that the girls get admission as soon as possible. Just for this one could not give up on India!
But India - as represented by its rulers and administrators as well as by the likes of us - has given up on these children who have the same rights as any other child. Who will be their voice? Makes one hang our heads in shame.