Republic of shame

Anyone who has a modicum of decency, a grain of compassion and a tiny bit of heart should hang her/his head in shame on the eve of our 65th celebration of our Constitution. A magazine that has hit the stands today and is not yet fully on line though you can read parts of it at this link, chose to place some very disturbing figures on its cover along the title: India's lost children. 38% of our children are forced into sex trade, 23% are forced into domestic servitude, 4% routed to work at hotels and hospitals, 3% shackled at sweetmeat and garment units. Please buy a copy of The Week and read on if you have the guts to do so. An article on how child traders chose their victims made me physically sick. Here is a screenshot of the beginning of the article so that you understand

But it does not end there. The statistics and stories are terrifying. The sex market has redefined its needs: younger girls (10 to 14), young boys who are not only domestic workers but sex slaves for their masters too prudish to come out of the closet, beggar mafias, child labour where two years old carry bricks. Children who are the gift of God and who should be pampered and cared for as indeed they are on the other side of the invisible line, are treated in the most horrific ways as laws after laws are made and remain on paper. How many childhood have we hijacked in the past 65 years of our so called Independence.

You just need to step out of your house with your heart glasses on and you will see these children: begging at red lights, working in a dhaba, working on construction sites, and even working in homes of the likes of us. I wish that all the drama that happened last week to get 2 cops suspended for not raiding a house of alleged ill repute, had been enacted to save the children of India. I would have supported it whole heartedly as nothing short of a revolution will save our beautiful children. But they have no voice and no vote! How I wish someone took up their cause and simply ensured that all the zillions of laws enacted to supposedly protect them did not remain on paper. 

Let me tell you a true story that happened to one of our own girls.  Let us call her M. M is 16. A beautiful and spirited girl. One morning she was slapped and abused by her mother and in a fit of rage she left home. A police case was filed and all the police did was harass our staff and particularly one of our male teachers. This went on for weeks. The girl was not found. Three months went by then one day we heard the girl had been found in another town. This is what happened. M in her fit of rage went to the railway station and sat in a train. She had no ticket and was soon apprehended by the TC. A middle age man offered to pay her ticket and did so. M who had seen scant affection poured out her heart to this nice uncle. He promised to take her back to her home but asked her to first come with him to his house as he had some work to finish. You can guest the rest. She was 'sold' for a few pieces of silver and forced into prostitution. One day she managed to lay her hand on a mobile phone and called her family. Today her family refuses to send her back to school in spite of her best efforts. I guess she will be married to some old man and live a life of legalised abuse. 

How can we celebrate freedom or democracy till we ensure that all our children are safe. And how long will remain mute and frozen and go about our petty little lives with our eyes shut.

Let this republic day be the one when we finally garner the courage to open our eyes and look with our heart and move out of our catatonic state and pledge to give every child in India back her lost smile.