Disturbing musings

I will never look at a bangle with indifference again. Each time I see a glass studied bangle my thoughts will go to the tiny hands that have painstakingly and painfully glued those bits of glass or stones in a dark room from dawn to dusk without a murmur. Hands that are often bruised or even burnt by the chemicals used. Hands that are never stroked with love. Little hands that toil day and night to bring some succour to their families back home  thousands miles away. Last week some children were rescued from a bangle factory. Sadly their story will not end with a happily ever after. In many cases, they will back at work in a few months.

Some of these children were interviewed.What they said made my blood run cold. One tiny little tot has forgotten his mom's name though he remembers that he landed in this hell against his will. Another, a little older, worries about his mother: the money he sent helped his family survive. Yes the paltry 1500 rupees earned after hundreds of hours of toiling, a sum we spend without batting an eyelid. He will probably land back in this or some other hell; it is a matter of life and death. Child labour is alive and kicking and is once again a good business proposition as starving families need money seductively offered by wily predators. Rescuing them from their workplace does not mean the war is won. One father explained how he decided to send his child away. His village has no school, no proper medical facility and no place to learn any skills. In his mind he was sending his child to learn a skill that he could use later in life and had the trafficker not promised good food, clothes and medical care over and above the monthly money.

The reason why I am so deeply disturbed today is because of the indecent and almost obscene disconnect between what we are experiencing in India's capital city and the reality in villages from where these children are trafficked. I am appalled at elected politician who exhort one community to have 4 children and then state with alacrity and impunity that they are so powerful that they can topple the government. The same sentiment is again repeated by another of the breed. That they are both religious zealots makes it more dangerous as religion is indeed the opium of the masses. That they belong to the ruling dispensation whose leaders remain mute makes it frightening. Could these so called religious leaders look at the plight of the little hands toiling.

It is election frenzy in Delhi and again I am terribly saddened by the discourse I hear around me as every party is resorting to mud slinging of the worst kind, every one taking a holier than though garb. promises that will never get kept are being made to lure the voters and the contestant really believe that their drama will have any effect. The voters are wiser than you think.

After seven decades of Independence it is shameful that tiny hands need to be sold so that the rest of a family can survive. Do none of the people who are seeking our vote remember this.

I helplessly look at the millions of rupees that are being spent to woo the voter. Could some of it find its way when it is needed most.